2.1 Gender Roles in Peanut Sector and Household Food Security
The technical papers and country papers presented in the consultation examined the aspects as relevant to: a) the importance of peanut crop in the household food security and b) gender roles in the peanut sector. From the view point of household food security, peanuts have a high protein content. Hence they can be an important item in the food chain to improve the nutritional status of children, women and the aged. In terms of access, peanuts are cheaper than animal product as a protein base. As a cash crop, peanuts provide opportunity to earn an income thus increasing the family's ability to purchase a better quality food resulting in improved nutrition. Since peanut production is labour intensive, it generated local labour demand and thus employment. These economic interactions generate income for the hired labor and thus in such agriculture labour households, the access to food could improve. From the cultivation perspective, the peanut crop as a nitrogen fixating crop improves the soil fertility and land of improved soil fertility can be put to use for cultivating other crops. A diversified cropping system adds to the income potential that could mean more food for the farm household. Peanuts are a good source of livelihood to augment family income with a potential to improve access to food. Additionally, peanuts are an acceptable nutritious food to maintain and improve the nutritional status of the family.
Peanuts are a women's crop in a small farmer production system. In peanut production, women are involved at all stages of crop production, processing and food preparation. In the peanut production system, men do heavier jobs but claim fewer numbers of jobs. Women do the lighter jobs but serve in greater number of activities. Within peanut sector, in food preparation, at the industrial level, men hold the managerial jobs and women are the workers. At the household level, women do most of the work.
Review of the documents and small group deliberations brought out a classification of activities for men and women in the peanut sector. Table 1 provides the information on the gender roles in peanut sector as analysed by the participants. The table indicates that men and women are equally involved in every aspect of production, though the frequency and levels of involvement varies by the task. At the production end both women and men's work in all aspects of production except those related to pest control through application of chemicals and maintaining machinery and equipment. But women play a key role in seed selection in peanut crop cultivation. Hence they have the primary responsibility for quality and quantity of crop produced. Women are more involved in hand shelling of peanuts but machine shelling is mostly male task domain. Women hare heavily involved in peanut processing phase. Women are more often responsible for selling peanut as snacks. In the consumption end, women have the primary responsibility for cooking and thus hold the key to the quality of the food consumed and the food security of the household members.
|Table 1. Gender Roles in Peanut Sector in Selected Asian Countries|
|Crop production||Land Preparation||X||XX|
|Pest Control: Chemical Application||-||XX|
|Hauling the produce/Transportation||X||XX|
|Processing : family operation||X||-|
|Processing : Commercial||X||X|
|Marketing||Selling by products: Family||X||X|
|Selling by products: Commercial||-||X|
|Selling : peanuts as food: Snacks as family enterprise/Vending||XX||X|
|Selling : commercial enterprise||X||X|
|Household Production||Fuel Collection||X||X|
|Note: X and XX show relative share of tasks involvement. X meaning less frequent involvement while XX more frequent involvement.|
2.2 Current Understanding of Gender Concerns by Research and Extension Services
The common research practice does not give any specific attention to gender issues. But in a case like dehulling, especially since females are involved, the simplification of the process through simple modifications may be suggested.
In Thailand research linkages between Department of Agriculture Extension and Kesetsart University resulted in developing new Peanut Technologies. The technology is disseminated through Development of Agriculture Extension, to rural clientele. Among the clientele, 70% are women who implement the technology and the beneficiaries are 50% each of men and women.
It should be noted that:
2.3 Methods to Develop Linkages between Researchers and Extensionists to Improve Women's Access to Peanut-sector Technology
First and foremost extension agents should not make any sort of discrimination in transferring technology. However, as women are physically less strong, special attention should be given regarding transfer of appropriate technology to them.
Second, the peanut sector technology should also be inclusive of by-product utilization.
Third, it is important that policy makers should be educated and made aware about the production, utilization and nutrition value of peanuts.
Fourth, awareness creation about the utilization of byproducts as an integrated approach in order to generate income may play an instrumental part to expand women's role in the peanut sector.
Fifth, it is critical to identify the linkages among the various institutions and agencies involved in research, extension and agriculture production policies.
2.4 Proposed Models of Linkages to Enhance Support to Women in Peanut Sector
The consultation proposed the following Models of Linkages among the actors involved in peanut sector development and promotion. Both the models place the women at the centre to support women's role in the peanut sector. Model A and B present somewhat similar linkages, while the first is process oriented and the second takes presents stakeholders' linkages. Additionally model A takes into consideration the segments in peanut sector to which women contribute.
Suggested Model for Linkages: A
Suggested Model for Linkages: B
The proposed models assume that women farmers will go to extension agents for better technology in the peanut sector. In order to assist women better, researchers will develop technologies and pass them to the extension personnel for dissemination at farmers' level. Further, policy makers will support both researchers and education for extension staff that may facilitate improved transfer of technologies.
2.5 Steps to Support Women's Role in Agriculture Including Peanut as a Cash Crop
At the production level the following actions require attention to assist women as farmers:
At the consumption level, the following areas deserve attention to assist women as farmers and consumers: