Participants presented a summary of each country statement. The presentations focussed on importance of peanut in household food security both as a food crop and as a crop with cash income potential. Furthermore these participants examined the respective roles of men and women in peanut production and processing in their countries and gender specific concerns to improve women's potential for income generation in the peanut sector.
Sustainable agriculture and effective rural development cannot be pursued without explicit recognition of the substantial contribution of rural women. Among oilcrops grown in Bangladesh peanuts rank third position both in area and production volume. Their potential is great as a cash crop contribute much to improve family income in rural areas. Women in Bangladesh can play a vital role in production, application of transferable technology, generating new technology and providing production inputs to increase the productivity of peanuts. In peanut production and processing, women share equal responsibilities with men in the case of marginal farmers, from land preparation to seed storage. Besides, at home scale women prepare many food items from peanuts for family needs and for sale for cash income. So women farmers can play a leading role in maintaining peanut production for food, fuel and health. Awareness of women's role in production, crop management, improvement and protection are vital issues for a developing country such as like Bangladesh. Women can participate more fully in decision-making rather than men alone when it comes to technology acceptance as well as in family guidance. Therefore, women should be trained well in technical, managerial and organizational aspects of improved peanut production and processing.
The contribution of peanuts to the economy of Cambodia is very important. The GDP share of all crops including peanuts but apart from rice was 10% in 1990, 11.5% in 1992 and 10.1% in 1994. Peanut production is most directly contributing to household food security by providing direct access to food. A peanut crop can be harvested and prepared as food and fed to the family members, often on a daily basis. In the case of Cambodia, peanut production contributes to food security in two fundamental ways. First, through the provision of a greater diversity of food items those improve the quality and the nutrients available to farm families. Second, a large proportion of peanut producers sell surplus produce. Hence, peanut production is an important supplementary cash-generating activity for many poor households in Cambodia.
Women play a very important role in peanut cultivation as they are the primary farmers due to loss of men in civil-war. Throughout the history of Cambodia, women always produced 60 – 80% of all food. Rural women in Cambodia still play a significant role in household food security, such as agricultural production, providing economic access to food for household and ensuring nutritional standards for household members. The participation of women in post-harvest phase such as preparing boiled, roasted, and fried peanut is also necessary. Women sell processed peanut products in local markets or near schools as a snack for children. Women have traditionally increased their income by selling the surplus generated by their work in the peanut cultivation. Men normally do not participate in peanut processing and marketing activities.
4.3 China PR
In China, peanuts are one of the four traditional oil crops since from among a total of 31 provinces, 27 have land under peanut production. The importance of peanuts for household food security is shown by its role as a subsistence crop. More over due to the high quality, people's demand for peanut oil has risen year after year with increase of living levels among the people of China. At present, peanut oil accounts for about 40 percent of the total national consumption of edible vegetable oil consumption.
In peanut production, women provide the main labor. After the adjustment of China's agricultural structure, many rural male laborers went to non-agricultural work. The number of women in crop farming, livestock management and horticulture is growing. They do irrigation, harvesting, drying, cleaning and sorting out damaged peanuts. On the other hand, men's role in peanut production is decreasing in recent years in China. Marketing is usually done by women, as they sell peanut in free markets after men transport peanuts there. In peanut processing, the men's role is relatively more important than that of women. Although many rural women work in township enterprises, engaged in peanut processing, they just do the simple work, and the managers are usually men. In family peanut processing, men are also the main labour force compared to women. Women help men only to produce peanut products. In peanut research, many achievements are attributed to men rather than women as due to historic reasons, Chinese women's overall educational level is low as compared to that of men, so their preparation for research are lower than those of men. But this situation has improved in recent years due to training courses held by the Chinese government for the purpose of improving the education level of women. From such courses, an average of courses about 3 million women have benefited every year.
4.4 Lao PDR
The peanut crop is a complementary source of protein for rural people. At the same time it is contributing to the restoration of soil fertility by fixing nitrogen resulting in productivity gains. Lao women play an important role in peanut production as they work equally with men. Women contribute a major proportion of the labour force in peanut sector, accounting for 60 percent of all labour engaged.
Peanut falls in the category of oilseed crops as well as that of petty cash crops. The total area in groundnut cultivation covers 7,000 ha. Mostly grown in pocket plots, especially near rivers, and in sandy basins.
In Nepal, both women and men are active in both cash and subsistence agriculture. However, women are responsible for much of producing food for the household and community consumption, which is important for food security. Yet, this workload is not counted in statistics. Women in Nepal play a major role in agriculture production by sowing, weeding, application of fertilizers and pesticides, harvesting, threshing, drying, sorting, grading and bagging of the products. In some parts of the country, women also take care of transportation and marketing of peanut to local market. In post harvest activities, the pulling of the plant from the soil is carried out by both men and women whereas processing such as separation of pods from plants, seed drying, sorting, dehulling, etc. are tasks mainly assigned to women. For marketing purposes, heavy jobs like roasting of whole peanut pods in traditional devices are carried out mostly by men.
Though peanuts have not been considered as an important crop for ensuring food security, they are often incorporated into the diet of children. Whole roasted pods are often eaten as a leisure-time snack. Besides being a source of oil products other uses are in the form of confectioneries-biscuits, cakes, chocolate, ice cream, and sweets, peanut butter, chutney and as an ingredient for curries and other household preparations.
The peanut crop plays a significant role in achieving food security. In the Philippines, peanuts are used as an alternate crop wherein some quantity is sold to augment income and some is intended to home consumption. Peanuts provide nutrient for the body because of their high protein content as well as of fats and carbohydrates. Peanuts as a cash crop mean additional income for the farmer. Money earned from the crop is then used to purchase other food items and to finance other family needs.
The role of men and women in the peanut sector indicates that men have a dominant role in land preparation, fertilization, and application of insecticide and pesticide. Men and women share work in the planting and harvesting. Women only do the task of weeding. In the post-harvest phase, women and men are involved in drying and manual shelling. But handling and mechanical shelling are men's tasks.
In peanut processing, small-scale processing is done by women for petty cash income. Large-scale processing plants hire male production managers but most processing personnel are female. Men are mostly responsible for operation of heavy processing equipment while women undertake quality control and packaging.
4.7 Sri Lanka
The subsistence food crop sector in Sri Lanka consists of paddy and other field crops such as pulses and horticultural crops. Seventy eight percent of the total population resides in rural areas and their livelihood depends directly on small-scale agriculture or indirectly on agriculture-based employment. A notable feature in agriculture-based production activities is the engagement of a comparatively high proportion of women workers. The data on household members in self-employment as unpaid workers supports this fact. In seasonal agriculture women represent 89.4 percent and men 41.6 percent; in other agriculture women make up for 68.5 percent and men for 26.3 percent and in non-agriculture, women represent 41.9 percent and men 20.9 percent. Unlike the plantation sector, labour enrollment figures are not available in the food crops. Women's engagement in agricultural production can be ascertained only by field enumeration. Data on the division of female and male labor in agriculture and fishing indicate that women are represented to the largest percentages in rubber and tea estates (67.8 percent), followed by paddy (17.1 percent) and other cultivation (10.1 percent). In Hambantota District family labor participation in peanut cultivation is relatively higher (76.75 percent) as compared to hired labor (31.57 percent). The peanut crop production is labour intensive and not highly mechanized.
Peanuts are leguminous crop, planted as a cash crop after harvesting other crops. The important peanut production areas are the North and the Northeast. Peanuts are important for local consumption. In Thailand people usually eat boiled and roasted peanut and other forms of snack food as sources of protein and energy. Women play an important role both in peanut production, sharing about 50% of production and working at 100% in preservation and processing for household use and selling to the market. Presently, the Department of Agricultural Extension in cooperation with Kasetsart University encourages a Farm Women Group in Udorn Thanee, to produce peanut products free from aflatoxin. The activity had been started in 1994 and now the group earns about 6,000 Baht @ $167) a year per family. An other impact of the project is that the members have learnt how to manage their resources.
4.9 Viet Nam
In Viet Nam, the rate of women labour in agriculture is 78% in villages and communes. Women labour account for 54–60% of the total. Women take part in peanut cultivation from the stages of tillage onward to application of fertilizers and pesticide spraying, grading, storage, and selling. Women play an important role in agriculture in general and the peanut sector in particular. In Viet Nam peanut processing is divided into two levels namely household and industrial one. The household level processing mainly uses simple home-based extraction methods, utilizing basic traditional equipment, and free labour in family, especially women and children. At the industrial level Viet Nam operates several oil-processing factories. Presently, there are two foreign joint ventures. In these factories, men hold managerial jobs and women are workers. In rural areas, men do heavy jobs such as land preparation, construction of house, and managing. Peanuts are a food crop as well as an important source of oil with market potential. The peanut seed contains 22–26% protein and 45–50% oil. This is a food with high nutrition value for humans especially for those suffering from malnutrition in rural areas. Peanuts are cheaper than other crops. Besides, peanuts also help improve farm household income, since they contribute to increase in soil fertility.