II. Review of literature
Women's productive role in agriculture and their access to agricultural extension services in different regions of the developing world have been evident from various reports of international organizations and agencies, literature and research studies. An attempt is made in this section to critically discuss the reviews in order to highlight the research gaps. Hence, they are categorized into four groups in order to obtain a geographic overview of women farmers in farm activities.
Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA, 1993) reported that women in Africa make up more than one-third of the work force. They account for 70% of agricultural workers, 80% of food producers, 100% of those who process basic foodstuffs and they undertake from 60% to 90% of the marketing.
Further, they come up against all sorts of difficulties in their attempts to be seen as agents for development in their own right. First and foremost, they have no land ownership rights. In some communities, they have only annual rights of use of individual fields given to them by the head of the household. Studies have shown that the majority of rural women obtained their farm land from their husbands or his family. Often this land is "given" to the women for a short period, perhaps just one growing season (Ishola, 1987; Aidoo, 1988; Eghugara, 1989; Olawoye 1989 and Modupe, 1990). In general, they cannot make any long-term improvements to the land, such as planting perennial fruit crops, arranging irrigation facilities, etc. In 84% of water and land conservation schemes through which land has been reclaimed, only six per cent of women have been able to acquire official ownership.
It was also stated that women do not usually attract the attention of credit brokers since the loans they request are often small and are costly to administer. Often credit systems use existing village cooperatives of which usually only the male heads of households are members, even though there is no formal bar to female membership. The final obstacle to obtaining credit for women is that illiterate women cannot complete the necessary bank loan forms. Although these days African primary schools have as many female pupils as male, the rate of illiteracy among women is still above 90% in 28 African countries, according to UNESCO figures (CTA, 1993).
All the project training tends to be oriented towards crops traditionally grown by men. Timetables take no account of women's chores such as looking after children, cooking, cutting wood and fetching water. In many countries cultural or religious factors play an important part in preventing women from receiving training. Trainers and agricultural extension agents are usually male and thus may not speak to, or get close to women. This is especially true in Muslim countries (CTA, 1993).
The international Labour organization (ILO) estimates that 78% of women in SSA and only 64% of men are economically active in agriculture (Buvinic and Lycette, 1988). Food production there has long been recognised as primarily a woman's activity, but women also participate increasingly in other agricultural activities such as processing, cash cropping, animal husbandry and marketing.
Women in West Africa play a pivotal role in agriculture, providing most farm labour and making the key decisions for many agricultural activities which can be documented from different studies conducted in various states of Nigeria (Gbolagade, 1987 and Folasade, 1991). Ohuegbe (1989) observed that women farmers contribute more to food production and family labour than men. It was estimated that over 95% of rural women are small-scale farmers who produce most of the food and bear the burden of day-to-day family subsistence. According to diagnostic surveys of the agricultural extension zones, women perform almost all the cultural operations in food production. Such operations as bush clearing and burning, ridge/mount making, planting, fertilization, weeding, harvesting, storage, processing and marketing are carried out by women. Women also have sole responsibility for cultivating compound farms (or gardens) where continuous cropping is done with household refuse.
Adekanye (1984) reported, from the time use study of men and women in rural areas, that women spent 30% of their time performing prescribed "prime" activities, such as child care and other housekeeping chores. Moreover, these women managed to spend almost an equal amount of time (about 8 hours compared to the men's 8.1 hours) on income-generating activities of farming, food processing and trading. Women's leisure time was an estimated 1.4 hours, or much less than half of the 3.4 hours which men devoted to leisure.
A time allocation study in one Gambian village reported that women performed 53% of the agricultural and 73% of domestic work, compared with 33% and 6% respectively for men (Baston 1987). Available data in Kenya indicate that women spend one-third of their working hours on food preparation and child care, which stretches their working day to 13-14 hours. Most of them are reported to spend 3 hours a day fetching water (World Bank, 1989a). Ishola (1987), Adewara (1988) ( I % in Bauci State) and Folasade (1991) identified a much lower percentage of women farmers than Oyo (24%), Kwara (23%) and Ondo (15.7%) as having membership in cooperative organizations.
Ishola (1987) further reported that knowledge about improved technologies was the main constraint in agricultural production, while lack of separate land and inadequate contact with extension agents were the main problems reported by Folasade, 1991.
Olawoye (1993) reported that lack of mobility, shortage of qualified female extension staff, lack of coordination between the Unified Extension System and Parallel Extension Services, inappropriate extension packages, lack of flexibility in extension strategies were the main constraints in extension services to women farmers.
Akinbode (1991) indicated that tasks that women performed on the family farm were different in some states from those they did on their personal farm. For instance, in Ogun, Gongola and Cross River states women performed production and marketing related roles both on family as well as on personal farms. On the other hand, the women in Kano and Niger States did not work on the family farm except for processing. More than 70% of the women farmers in Ogun Niger and Cross River State and 60% in Gongola State engaged actively in planting, weeding, harvesting, cleaning, application of fertilizers and transportation. He also reported that in Kano State very few Muslim purdah women (20%) engaged in production related roles. The study also revealed that the majority of women farmers of Ogun and Cross River States made their own decisions. In Gongola, Kano and Niger States, women farmers depended on their husbands. And a similar finding was also reported by Adeniji (1991) in Oyo state. Furthermore, Akinbode (1991) indicated that the male agents reached more women farmers than their female counterparts. The proportion of contact of extension services with individual farmers was 61.5% in Ogun State, 45% in Gongola State, 23% in Cross River State, 79% in Kano State and Niger State. Attendance at training sessions and meetings was limited, except in Ogun State. It was also revealed that the extension agents required intensive and comprehensive training in fisheries, agro-forestry, and gender specific nonagricultural technologies.
Staudt (1978) revealed that female-managed farms are significantly less well served by extension services than are jointly-managed farms. Further he indicated that women's participation in farmer training was low due to lack of awareness of the availability of training and lack of transportation facilities to the training centre.
Chale (1991) identified some problems of women farmers in Nigeria in participating in agricultural development programmes. These were as follows: lack of demonstration equipment and teaching aids; insufficient and ineffective extension services to farm women; lack of training on gender specific tasks such as processing, preservation and storage; lack of basic infrastructure; inadequate training of extension agents; lack of appropriate technological and development information; inadequate use of existing women farmers' groups; inadequate coordination between national and international agencies; urban-directed flow of information; lack of access to credit; inadequate agricultural inputs; inadequate interaction between extensionists and technology generating centres; mobility problems and few women extensionists. Further, she revealed from her survey conducted in five pilot states of Nigeria that decision-making in agricultural activities in Niger state was fairly shared among the family members while in Kano, Cross River and Gongola it was between husbands and wives. In Ogun state a large number of women farmers expressed their dominance in decision-making in most household and farm activities.
In Asia, women provide much of the labour for the staple crop, rice. An in-depth study from Nepal (Acharya and Bennett, 1983) gives an unusually detailed picture of the labour contribution by sex for rice and other staples. It reports that women perform 66% of the labour involved in planting, 75% in weeding, and all of the cleaning and storage of rice. In the production of wheat, they contribute 66% of the work; for maize, 94%; for oil seeds, 85%; for millet, 94%. In addition, they make 42% of the agricultural production decisions and are most influential about seed selection and fertilizer use.
In Thailand, the number of women engaged in agriculture was 6.65 million. They are the major source of labour in subsistence agriculture (100%) and are engaged in various aspects of agricultural production, animal husbandry (50%), inland fisheries (90%) and food processing (100%) and 70% are in farm management (Anonymous, 1987). The majority of women are engaged in agricultural work on the family farm. Seven out of ten are unpaid family workers and less than 10% are employed in private enterprises (Anonymous, 1985). Women generally make decisions on household expenditure and savings and some make decisions regarding big investments, such as buying land. However, men not women decide on the purchase of agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides (Sirisambhand and Gordon, 1987).
The fact that women play a crucial role in agricultural production and trade has been widely ignored by development planners. Women have been excluded from training programmes on modern methods of crop cultivation, food production, labour-saving technologies, livestock and poultry management, small-scale industries, marketing and services. Credit for technological improvements in agriculture is seldom made available to women. Membership in cooperatives through which agricultural loans are generally channelled is restricted to "heads of households" who are traditionally defined as male (Dulyapach, 1985).
It was noted that in Thailand "most technology transfer activities in agriculture (such as animal husbandry practices, seed selection, utilization of fertilizers and pesticides), do not differentiate between men and women in their target groups. However, it is interesting to note that few women participate in the training programmes. The government officers claim that women are not interested in new technology while according to non-governmental agencies, the number of women candidates always exceeds the capacity of their training budget". This was corroborated by women farmers at a workshop on: "Directions for strengthening the role of women farmers" (Anonymous, 1989). There, most of the women participants expressed an interest in receiving training in new technology that would improve their agricultural productivity and lessen the burden of carrying out their tasks. It should be noted also that there are cases where government officers go out of their way to encourage women farmers to participate in agricultural activities. For example, in the dairy project in Surin Province, the majority of the group members are women. The provincial Animal Husbandry Development board recognised the pivotal role women could play in raising dairy cows, and supported them in this activity. Income from dairy cows has become the main source of family income. With the support of the Department of Cooperatives, a Dairy Cows Cooperative was set up to strengthen the members' knowledge of marketing strategies (Deelau, 1989).
Provision of credit to women farmers is still limited in Thailand. In general, because poor women do not have assets which they can put up as collateral for loans, they are denied access to credit (Anonymous, 1989). Television has superseded all other information channels in importance regarding agricultural information for Thai farmers across the country.
Thai women and men work side-by-side in nearly all agricultural activities, with the exception of some laborious work such as land preparation. The actual hours women put into crop activities are about 64% of those contributed by men. Furthermore, it was seen that meetings with agricultural extension officers for women are uncommon, as only 20% of women attend such meetings at an average rate of two to three times per year, as compared to 60% of men attending these meetings at the rate of about five times per year. Another interesting point is that formal sources of information are more accessible to men than to women, while women rely more on informal sources such as neighbors or their spouse. It was found that men took a more active part in farming decisions than women. With respect to household and social expenditure, women reported that they had more control than men (Shinawatra and Pitackwong, 1987). It was also reported by the Farming Research Institute (Anonymous, 1991) that farming decisions were mainly dominated by men, while women had a more decisive role in domestic tasks.
Throughout South-East Asia and China, women are also heavily involved in agriculture. Within the Indonesian nuclear family, women tend to play an important role in decision-making, but outside the household they are generally subordinate to men. They are responsible for providing family food, collecting water and fuel, generating household income (including unpaid labour on the family farm), providing labour in exchange for a share of the crop and generating an independent income from wage labour, handicrafts, agro-processing and marketing. Philippine women are noted for their many entrepreneurial activities, often in the informal sector and independent of their husbands (Saito and Spurting, 1992).
Studies in South Asia showed that women from large landholding families who supervise farm labour share their agricultural information with the women laborers, with beneficial results for both the landowners and the laborers. In these areas, landed women would make good contact farmers (Saito, 1992).
Data from commercial banks in Andhra Pradesh, India, showed that only 6% to 12% of the loans were given to women and, moreover, none of these were agricultural loans. A survey of households in Bangladesh found that women made up only 2.8% of the recipients of formal credit (Saito, 1992).
Estimates from Peru and Chile, showed rural women's contribution to the work in agriculture as 21 % and 10.4% respectively (Baeza, 1982 and Deere, 1982).
Rogers (1980) suggested that the primary impact of the Western influence on gender roles in a society is to transfer much or all of the non-farm subsistence work to women, followed later by a transfer of subsistence farming. Case studies indicated that in many cultures, men clear the land and do the initial ploughing, whereas women plant, weed and help with the harvest. An interesting version of this division of labour is seen in Jamaica where, on steep hillsides, men prepare the soil with a plough for both subsistence and commercial crops (Chancy and Lewis 1980). The tasks that women do also vary according to farm size (Deere, 1982), or when implements are involved. On larger farms where many modern inputs are used, female participation is limited, but on the smaller farms there is a higher level of sharing of tasks and decision-making between the sexes.
In general, as shown by field surveys in Trinidad and Tobago (Harry, 1980), women farmers perform the less strenuous tasks such as planting, cutting, weeding, fertilizing, moulding of soil around young plants and harvesting. Some of these tasks are gender-neutral or interchangeable, especially harvesting and fertilizing. Pest control is less likely to be undertaken by women because it is thought that the use of chemical sprays is dangerous to women, especially if they are pregnant or lactating. Of the 96 farmers in the Trinidad survey who used insecticides, weedkillers and fungicides, men performed the task on 77 farms, whereas it was jointly carried out on 10 farms. Only five females, all of whom owned their own farms, sprayed their own crops. On other female-operated farms, pest control was delegated to hired or family labour.
Decision-making on cultivation, selling and marketing of minor crops was the responsibility of both husband and wife in Trinidad and Tobago (Harry, 1980).
Chase (1988) reported that Jamaican women play an important role in food production as small producers and as agricultural labourers. In an agro-socio-economic survey conducted in six parishes in Jamaica, 45 % of agricultural producers were women. The Agricultural Census of Jamaica (1978) showed that, of the total of 182,169 farms island-wide having single holders, 19% were operated by women.
In general terms, female farming, especially in the smaller islands, is most common on subsistence holdings of less than five acres of land. The Agricultural Census for Saint Lucia (1987), for instance, reported that of a total of 11,504 farmers in the entire country, only 0.9% had holdings of more than five acres; 84% of the female farmers operated less than five acres of land; a further 11.4% were reported as being landless. In Jamaica, according to the Agricultural Census (1978-79) the land owned by women represented only 12% of the total cultivated land.
Chase (1988) further identified women as being involved in multiple roles: agriculture, child care, home maintenance within the farm household, etc., and because of stereotypic notions of these roles, they confront specific problems in becoming more efficient food producers.
Knudson and Yates (1981) in their survey on Saint Lucia found that women worked five to six hours a day on the farm, three to four hours on housework and two to five hours on child care. Occasionally, time was also spent on marketing farm produce. It is not surprising that 22% of the women in this survey felt that they had no leisure time at all.
Chase (1988) also discovered that limited capital (100%), inadequate markets (94%), unavailability of inputs (91 %), insufficient land (90%), unavailability of credit (83%) and lack of agricultural extension (82%) were the major constraints faced by the women of Saint Lucia in farming activities.
Lewis (1990) in his study on female participation rates in agricultural extension programmes revealed that 25% of women farmers attended extension meetings.
Rajak (1990) reported that nearly 15% of the women farmers of Trinidad received agricultural information from their spouse and only 0.4% from the extension workers. Furthermore, 67% of them made the farm decisions themselves.
Rural women in Syria do a great deal of agricultural work. They are more involved in lighter work that does not require great physical effort, but needs care and patience: planting, transplanting, weeding, thinning, threshing, harvesting and pulling out the roots. Such activities usually continue throughout the year and are often of a more tedious nature. Most of the work is done manually or with the use of hand tools. Poultry raising, care of livestock, milking and milk processing at the family level are also the responsibility of rural women. It was also noted that illiteracy among females engaged in agricultural work was more than 90% and they were mainly considered unskilled cheap labour. Available information has shown that the redistribution of land under the agrarian reform programme did not significantly increase the number or proportion of women landowners in the country. Membership in agricultural cooperatives is open to male and female farmers; nevertheless, social cultural barriers still limit rural women's participation in cooperatives. It was reported that female membership is increasing, but at a very slow rate, i.e. 0.5% (FAO, 1983b).
In Syria, it was reported that lack of proper training of the extension worker in extension methodology and technical agriculture subjects, an insufficient number of female field extension agents, lack of incentives, lack of transportation and lack of inputs for extension work are the major reasons for the ineffectiveness of the extension programme to women farmers (Hassan, 1987).
In most of western Turkey, women are much involved in agriculture, particularly for the production of fruits and vegetables and the rearing of livestock. There are fewer taboos against men and women interacting than in parts of eastern Turkey, where women's roles reflect traditional Islamic norms. In eastern Turkey, women are still active in farming, but more in the seclusion of their homesteads (Saito and Spurling, 1992).
In Yemen, male emigration is particularly heavy, where an eighth of the population works in paid employment elsewhere. The women let's behind have had to assume the agricultural duties of the absent husbands and, as direct recipients of remittances, have greater decision- making power than would be expected in an Islamic country. About 80% of women live in rural areas and work all the year round. In contrast, men mostly work seasonally on heavy work, technical (pesticide spraying) work, marketing and delivery, and cash crops (Saito and Spurling, 1992).