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Unequal Gender Practices Cost African Families 20% of Crop Production

Gender gaps in agricultural productivity arise not because female farmers are less efficient but because they lack access to agricultural resources such as male family laborers, high-yield crops, pesticides, and fertilizer. United Nations research in sub-Saharan Africa provides perspective on the region’s agricultural gender productivity gap.

Unequal Gender Practices Cost African Families 20% of Crop Production   ©The Earth & I
  • UN research in five sub-Saharan countries—Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania—shows that closing the agricultural gender gap could raise crop production nearly 20% and lift many thousands out of poverty.

  • Gender gaps in agricultural productivity in the five countries range from nearly 11% in Ethiopia to 28% in Malawi, based on data from the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA).

  • Similar studies find gender gaps in agricultural productivity that range from 8% in Kenya to over 30% in Nigeria.

  • In Malawi, the gender gap in the use of farm equipment accounts for 18% of the productivity gap.

  • The gender gap also accounts for a 28% difference in the planting of high-value crops in Malawi, 13% in Uganda, and 3% in Tanzania.

  • In Tanzania, a lack of male farmers accounts for nearly the entire gap in agricultural productivity, whereas in Ethiopia and Malawi it accounts for nearly 45% of the agricultural productivity gap.

– Source: UN Women


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