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Role of women in agriculture

Role of women in agriculture

ILO estimates that in the mid-1980s women comprised 54% of those economically active in agriculture. Approximately 98% of rural women classified as economically active are engaged in agriculture. Women farmers also contribute substantially to both commercial and subsistence agriculture, including livestock and fishing, as casual labourers and unpaid family workers.

Division of Labour by Gender. Women carry the major responsibility for both subsistence agriculture, especially food crop production, and domestic work. Time use studies consistently show that women spend more hours per day than men in both productive and reproductive activities. Traditionally, women are responsible for almost all livestock activities of dairy husbandry (feeding, milking, milk processing, marketing, etc.). in addition, a 1992 labour force survey in Zanzibar showed that women comprise 74% of the labour force in agro-enterprises. In Zanzibar, women also predominate in on-shore fisheries, while men perform almost all the work in off-shore fisheries except for some cleaning and processing.

Division of Farming Activities by Gender in a Mogabiri Extension Project

Source: Analysis of Benefits Accrued by Women and Factors Influencing Participation in a Mogabiri Extension Project, Mary Ahungo.

In crop production, both men and women participate fairly equally in site clearance, land preparation, sowing and planting, while women carry out most of the weeding, harvesting, transportation, threshing, processing and storage activities. Women are also responsible for food preparation, fetching water and gathering firewood.

Gender Relations in Decision-making in Farming Activities. Decision-making at the household level continues to be male-dominated in all farming-related activities, even in those where women contribute the majority of the labour. However, joint decision-making is commonplace.

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