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TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF RESEARCH ON WOMEN FARMERS IN AFRICA: LESSONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS; WITH AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

By Cheryl R. Doss

Abstract

Based on an extensive review of the literature on women farmers in Africa, this paper explores the potential reasons why women farmers have not adopted improved maize technologies and discusses the implications for agricultural research. Women farmers are often constrained by their lack of access to labor, land, and inputs. In addition, women may prefer different outputs than men. Finally, the dynamics of household decision-making affects technology adoption; roles and responsibilities within the household are often renegotiated when new technologies are adopted, and women may be reluctant to provide labor if they do not receive some of the benefits. Each section of this paper includes a number of questions that may provide insights into the gender roles and dynamics in a particular community. Three general conclusions can be drawn from the available literature. First, there is enormous complexity and heterogeneity among African households. Second, there is no simple way to summarize gender roles within African households and communities. Third, gender roles and responsibilities are dynamic; in particular, they change with new economic circumstances. An extensive annotated bibliography on gender issues and the adoption of maize technologies in Africa follows the review of studies.Farm Management, Labor and Human Capital,

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