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Part II

Part II

Introduction to gender issues, definitions and concepts

Annemieke Schoemaker

Agricultural Engineering Service FAO


These days, there is a lot of discussion about gender. Women in Development (WID). Gender and Development (GAD). Gender analysis, and so forth. What do all these terms mean, how can we use them and make them workable? This paper provides some definitions of the key concepts regarding gender, terms, some of which will probably be used through this workshop This will be followed by a brief review of the history of the gender issues. Also, we will try to place gender in a wider context, and will realize that gender is only one of the aspects that determine a woman or man's life. Last, but not least, the issue of gender and engineering technology is addressed which will be the focus of this workshop. Why do we consider gender issues ? Agricultural development efforts have for decades turned a blind eye to women farmers because they think of farmers as men As a result, rural women have lagged visibly behind men by most social and economic criteria. Farm women only have access to low-tech activities, while men clamber aboard tractors and combine harvesters By adopting a gender focus, we aim to look at both sexes, their roles responsibilities, problems and priorities. Gender is about women and men, although the main reason we have to look at gender, is the disparity between men and women in terms of access and control over resources welfare and development. It is therefore inevitable that a gender debate talks a lot about women.


Gender # Women

Gender # Sex

There are differences between women and men that are biological and social. Sex refers to the biological differences that are universal and unchanging. Gender refers to the social differences hat are learned, changeable over time, and have wide variations within and between cultures. Gender is a socio-economic variable to analyze roles, responsibilities constraints and opportunities of the people involved: it considers both women and men.

What may have seemed impossible a hundred years ago, or even last year, is happening now. Women drive cars, tractors, are astronauts, use animals to cultivate their fields, are executive directors, or work as labourers in the metal-working industry. Even though: there may be a lot of resistance in the first place, slowly, these roles change. Modern men take care at their babies, cook, serve tea, iron clothes or are nurses by profession. And we are still all changing! In Kenya, respondents of a research pointed out that roles were no longer gender-based since changing circumstances had led to the disintegration of the indigenous social structure. A common assertion was that Anybody can perform any role In practice, however, gender-based sentiments, and even practices, continue to be subtly expressed. For example, man' women are engaged in both their traditional roles and emerging ones. Their traditional roles include: food preparation, care of children, planting, gardening, and women's group work, Emerging roles include: milking, gazing, weeding and harvesting of cash crops' coffee spraying, and guarding crops (Oniang, 1995).

A study performed by a Tanzanian social scientist showed that on 30 per cent of the surveyed farms, men participate in the production of women's crops, eve though this is traditional!, considered as demeaning for a Haya man. There were two main reasons: food shortage, or the need to raise their cash incomes, and these had caused the traditional gender roles to change. Appropriate improved farming technologies would serve as an incentive for men to farm on the communal land, and thereby to change gender roles in a more progressive direction and to improve the supply of labour (Tibaijuka, 1954).

Gender roles

Gender roles are learned behaviours in a given society. conditioning which activities. tasks and responsibilities are considered feminine and masculine A typical example of this is shown on the cover page. Gender roles are affected by age, class religion, ethnicity, regional origin and history. They can change because of several reasons. of which economic crisis is an important reason* They can also change because of fertility decline. increasing educational levels. introduction of new technology or development efforts The gender roles of men and women are closely interrelated and may be similar. different. complementary or conflicting

Gender analysis

Gender analysis is the systematic effort to document and understand the roles of women and men within a given context Emphasis is made that women are not singled out as a separate group Key issues of gender analysis include:

Division of labour

Discussions during the workshop will provide examples of methods to analyse and record these issues

Gender planning

Planning recognizes that women and men have different roles and resources, needs and preferences and sometimes need to be approached in different we, Gender planning means that during the planning process, these differences are taken into account, and if necessary, different activities or methodologies are planned

Different Roles of Women and Men

Reproductive role

Ail tasks carried out to reproduce and care for the household, child bearing and rearing, and domestic activities These activities are often viewed as noneconomic, and are usually excluded from the national income statistics This role is mainly women's role

Productive role

All those tasks that provide the household and community economically, e.g. crop and livestock production, handicrafts, marketing, wage employment and many others In Africa this is both a female and a male role, although the male productive role is officially more recognized

Community managing role

Unpaid activities to obtain and manage community resources and social services Work done primarily by women, as an extension of their reproductive role. Examples are caring for the elderly, assisting with school activities, cleaning the water collection area, etc.

Community politics role

Activities in formal politics that are paid or rewarded with social status Work done primarily by men In reality, it is somewhat artificial to separate those roles, because they are strongly related and dependent on each other

Overview of Different Women in Development Approaches

WID: Women In Development

WID strategies for equity were formulated from the 70s onwards, and held on the belief that gender relations will be changed by themselves when women become full economic partners in development WID however, perceived women as participating insufficiently in the development process, which is not the reality, but women participation in the economy tends lo be more invisible than that of men As the WID approach focuses only on women, both al the policy and implementation level, it isolates women's concerns from the mainstream of development activities WID has become a separate project for women, which has also resulted in strong opposition from men, who fell left out or threatened. However, by focusing on women WID efforts have greatly increased our understanding of the importance of women's work and contributions

Gender approach

The gender approach focuses on the contributions of both women and men, and on how their roles overlap, and how they are distinct The gender approach looks at the totality of social organization, and of economic and political life in order to understand the shaping of particular aspects of society therefore, gender relations may be an important aspect but not the only nor the principle determinant of a woman's situation. The central concern of Gender approach, however, is the same as of WID, with the oppression of women or the inequality of women, and that gender relations between the two sexes are structured by dominance, This approach tries to integrate gender into mainstream development

Policy approaches to women and gender issues have shifted over the past decade. A number of different policy approaches can be identified each categorized in terms of the gender roles on which they focus and the gender needs they met. We will not go in detail and look at all the different movements, but we will look at one important distinction, which is Do WID/gender policies address practical gender needs, or strategic gender needs, or both? First definitions of these two are given:

Practical gender needs

Concrete needs experienced by women and men Examples are: adequate nutrition, water supply and sanitation, health care. Addressing these needs does not necessarily challenge existing social and political structures

Strategic gender needs

Needs created by unjust social structures that place women or men at a disadvantage in their homes or communities. Examples are: legal rights, violence, access to equal wages. Addressing these needs is likely to challenge existing social institutions and inequalities

Simply resumed the earlier WID approaches, especially those of the years before 1975, concentrated more on practical gender needs, such as women's and the family's welfare, to increase women's productivity and contribution to the economy, and to combat poverty The later approaches focused more on a combination of practical needs and strategic needs, realizing that women's problems arc caused by their inferior position towards men and male dominance. It was realized that the problem insufficient participation in the economic process did not really exist, because women participate fully, but are just less visible, and less recorded in national statistics By answering to their strategic needs, women are in a better position to obtain participation in politics, achieve economic autonomy, control their fertility, and achieve legal rights One of the Handouts summarizes the different WID approaches of the last decades.

Importance of Gender in a Socio-Economic Context

It is necessary to go beyond gender as category ,social role, or identify in order to understand how gender differentiation and disadvantages are produced Also, it is necessary to consider other differences between groups of persons The figure below shows you examples of factors that determine the situation of an individual in a community. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1. Examples of socio-economic parametres

One can imagine that in some cases, or at specific limes of one life, the fact of being a woman or a man, is the most important factor, and therefore determining a person's life. However, there are other social constructs that can be least as important as gender in determining the roles end statue of individuals. For example, marital status and seniority are important aspects in African rural societies. Also, one can imagine that a rich and a poor woman in a certain community have very little in common but a poor woman and a poor man of the same community may share the same thoughts, problems and wishes.

A research in Ghana on the Dagoma people tells us the following: It is customary for pregnant women to return to their natal compound on maternity leave. It is the custom that, having successfully given birth to one, or sometimes two, children (who survive infancy married woman will then return to her husband's compound to take up status as a full cooking wife. Cooking wives differ profoundly from married and unmarried, junior (and childless) women in a number of important aspects. For example, cooking wives wilt usually have the right to days off from cooking. In contrast, the other women will be expected to cook or assist with cooking on all days of the week; Cooking wives are much more likely than these junior women to find the time to engage in various farm and non-farm production activities, separate from the compound. Cooking wives will usually also face stamp incentives to earn income in order to meet various obligations associated with their role as senior women in the compound. They are also more likely able to mobilize cash and other resources with which to purchase inputs and, if necessary, pay for hired labour required in these various activities. Of particular importance in this respect is the Dagomba custom whereby only cooking wives are entrusted with the sale of the compound's produce in the market; a service for which the, expect to receive a substantial: commission (Warner et al, 1996).

Gender and Agricultural Technologies

No agricultural technology is gender neutral. Whether a hand tool. a machine. a storage bin. Or biotechnology. all carry different implications for men and women Technology is developed by men and women for use by women and men. or specifically for one sex or the other. Most are developed with a female or male user in mind. Nevertheless, there is a strong bias against women and technology. Technical skills of women are often overlooked because the technologies they carry out are generally less focused on large machinery and equipment. In addition, tines are mainly performed in and around the house, thus classified as housekeeping and not productive Other examples of stereotypes that hamper women in their development are:

But reality proves different. In Botswana, at the Denman Rural training centre, already in 1 9X6. 12 % of the trainees for tractor owners were women, and women made up 33 % of the participants in the ALDEP scheme, a hiring and purchase scheme for agricultural implements such as ox-drawn and tractor-drawn implements.

Gender and technology is not about women using technology only. It also Involves looking al the changes of technological changes on society. Mechanization can displace people's labour, which in many cases means women's labour. This can be positive, in the case where people are relieved of burdensome tasks, or it can be negative if certain people have lost income or control over an activity, without finding an alternative. Both scenarios need to be considered while identifying and planning activities, to ensure that benefits outweigh the negative effects.


Boonsue. K.. Women's Development models and gender analysis, a review, Gender studies. Occasional paper 2, Asian Institute of Technology. Bangkok. 1992

Carr. M.. Women and Food Security, The experience of the SADCC countries. IT publications. 1991

Heifer Project International. Basic concepts. Proceedings of the East African Women in Livestock Development Workshop. Kenya, 1994

Moser. C . Gender Planning in the Third World; Meeting practical and strategic gander needs

In: World development. Vol. 17. No. 11, p 1729-1825, 1989

Muylwijk, I., Gender ideology and differences in access to animal draught power for women farmers in Malawi and Zimbabwe, paper for the Congress Agrarian Questions, the Netherlands, 1995

Oniango. R. The impact of out-migration on household livelihoods and the management of natural resources: a Kenyan case study, IDS bulletin. Vol 26. No 1. 1995

Tibaijuka. A. The cost of differential gender roles in African agriculture: a case study of small holder banana-coffee farms in the Kagera Region, Tanzania, in Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 69-81. 1994

Stephens. A., Gender issues in agricultural and Rural development policy in Asia and the Pacific, FAO, 1993

Warner. M . R. Al-Hassan, J Kydd, Beyond gender roles? Conceptualizing the social and economic lives of rural peoples in sub-Saharan Africa. Some evidence from Northern Ghana. Draft, accepted by Development and Change

Gender and post-harvest technologies: the use of farming systems development and participatory approaches

Marianne Flach




Development assistance has focused much on the development of suitable technologies for small scale farmers. Many technologies are now known, have been described in scientific magazines, am being disseminated between Institutions.

And vet, adoption rates remain low in certain areas, especially among small farmers. One of the reasons for a low adoption rate is that the environment in which small farmers operate is not always conducive, efforts need to he made to understand the reasons for this.

In Cameroon, in the North West Province, women started growing improved varieties, and consequently had increased quantities to dry and store The traditional method was to place the maize cobs on the ceiling above the kitchen, and keep the kitchen fire burning for a number of weeks, during day and night. As a result of the increased quantities, this method we' not adequate anymore' the layer of maize cobs became too thick. The project staff designed an improved dryer for use in the kitchen, and maize could thus be dried in four days. However, at the tune that maize needed to he dried, women were busy with planting their vegetables, and thus the women simply did not have the time collect large quantities of firewood, and m addition they did not have time for supervising the drying process. The drying technique was not adopted because it did not fit into the labour pattern of the women.

The aim of this paper is to give some tools for better understanding the environment in which small farmers operate. The Farming Systems Development (FSD) approach focuses on such understanding, and therefore some background information about FSD is being given. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methodologies are implements widely used in the FSD approach, and some of those methodologies will be described in this paper.

While the FSD approach looks at the farming family as the basic unit, it is being recognised that within the family each member can have different activities and interests. For instance, when a decision has to be made concerning the use of money, husband and wife may each have their own goals in mind. The focus of this paper is on post-harvest technologies. The reason for this is that in most African countries women are responsible for the major part of post-harvest activities. This applies to drying and storage, as well as to on-farm processing. The latter are usually being regarded as part of the household activities, and thus the domain of women.

Farming Systems Development

Three basic characteristics of FSD arc as follows (FAO. 1994):

- The farmer plays a central role in FSD

FSD recognises that small-scale farmers are rational in the methods they use, and they are natural experimenters, while at the same time avoiding risks. Their farming systems have evolved over time, and are complex and diversified. The farmers themselves have the best knowledge of this farming environment and thus the most fundamental principle of FSD is that farmers can, and should be involved in the research and development process.

- FSD employs an interdisciplinary approach

Because of the complex nature of many of the farming systems, changes in one area can area a positive or negative effect on another area in the farming system. For example, increased crop productivity has often resulted in higher labour demands in the post-harvest sector: more needs to be harvested transported dried and stored.

- FSD facilitates linkages between the "actors" in the agricultural development process

In recent years. FSD has increasingly been perceived as a means of facilitating interactive links not only between farmers and station-based researchers, but also between all the "actors" who play significant roles in the agricultural development process A small scale farmer operates in a 'multi-disciplinary' environment, and therefore will need advice from different sources Their extension messages need to complement each other, and communication between the different extensionists is necessary

The FSD methodology is still evolving, and universally accepted standard texts on how to do it are still emerging. For instance, time- and cost-efficient methods for undertaking FSD still need further development In this respect, a major breakthrough that has occurred is through supplementing the rapid rural appraisal (RRA) techniques, which have been available for some time, with the participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques, which developed rapidly in recent years FSD has chosen PRA as one of its main techniques

RRA and PRA - A Brief Explanation

The philosophy, approaches, and methods of RRA began to develop into a coherent and identifiable form in the late 1970s It is often considered as extractive in the sense that professionals go to rural areas, obtain information (often through semi-structured interviews), and then take it away to process and analyse Most RRA surveys are undertaken with individual respondents, although occasionally a number of respondents might be interviewed at the same time.

Most of the PRA techniques were developed more recently PRA is more participatory than RRA in the sense that its role is more to facilitate the collection presentation, and analysis by the farmers themselves. Some techniques are: mapping, seasonal diagramming, matrix ranking, scoring etc. These are usually done with groups of respondents

RRA and PRA differ in approach but much of the methodology is shared For the purpose of this paper the focus is on PRA rather than RRA because of the participatory characteristic

Appropriate Technology and the Farming System

The farmer is the final decision maker on what his/her technology needs are and what type of technology will suit his/her operational circumstances best. In this respect the term technological capability" is being used meaning (Bhalla, 1989: Appleton. 1994: Wilson, 1995):

Understanding the Farmer's Environment

Introducing technology into the farmer's specific circumstances means we need to know (among other things) about:

Organisational aspects

The following questions need to be answered (Stilwell. 1995)

Let us have a look at drying technologies, once this has been identified as a constraint Many post-harvest projects have attempted to improve drying in combination with improved storage facilities. At the individual farmer level drying floors, using solar energy, or simple dryers using firewood (in the case harvest takes place during the rainy season) could be introduced. A drying floor made of mud and cow dung is the cheapest option The drying floor made of concrete is more expensive, and usually small farmers cannot afford this at individual level An alternative solution then would be to construct drying floors for groups of farmers. But how large should such a group be?

A post-harvest technologist proposed to farmers to construct a concrete drying floor, to be used by a group. He made a calculation for them the size of the floor should be big enough to dry the average farmer's- harvest in one sunny day to a level of 13% mc, the farmers should store their grain under good conditions and would then get a comparatively higher price in the market. The price difference would pay for the cost of the drying floor. His advise was that 14 families should join together for constructing and using a drying floor, and in one year the cost of the floor would be covered. He discussed the proposal with the men, and they agreed. They selected a site, and the floor was constructed. However, the floor was never-used" The main reason was that the women, who were responsible for the drying of the paddy, could not agree on who would dry their paddy first, and who last. The last person would have to wait 13 days (or more in case if would rain some days).

The post-harvest technologist in the above example had not considered the type of organisation (such a drying floor cannot be used by more that four women, if each wants to dry her grain soon after harvest), and the time of the availability of the dryer for each individual farmer (too long waiting time). I better solution would have been a reinforced mud type drying floor for maximum four families. If the women had been consulted in time, they themselves might have proposed this solution

Group storage is another thing to be considered. There have been good experiences in some countries with group storage in such a way that each woman can still store her product in her own crate or bag.

Farming calendar

Being informed about the fanning activities of a family/families helps to understand where and which technologies are appropriate. What is being done in which month of the year, in terms of crop production, animal care, fishing, and post-harvest activities. This picture needs to be as complete as possible, it should be kept in mind that planting and harvesting activities can take place at the same time. When the farming calendar is known, the question can be asked: which are your most busiest months and why? It becomes then very clear how different the activities of men and women can be. There can be months where women, as they say. ''are always tired", and men are experiencing their most relaxing period of the year. It could also be a period where men and women both have very busy activities.

In Cameroon, women have successfully stored their potatoes as a group. Each individual had one or more crates, with her name written on it. The group decided on which days to clean the store, and when to put the potatoes into storage. The president kept the key. A committee of 4 women would negotiate with traders, and if prices were attractive, a meeting would be called with all group members. Members were not allowed to sell individually, since higher prices were offered by tracers if they could buy all potatoes at once. All women however still had: a quantity of potatoes stored in the traditional way at home, so that they could sell small quantities whenever there was a sudden need for cash money, Group storage in similar ways by men did nut succeed, since the men wanted to have individual control over the decision when to sell.

Knowing the fanning calendar and peak labour periods helps understanding how improved technologies can fit into a farmer's environment. The Cameroon example (Box 1) on drying of maize shows that previous knowledge of the farming calendar might have resulted in a different drying technology for those women.

Village map

Finally it will help if we can make a mapping of the village and the presence of post-harvest facilities. The distance to the fields should be included in the map. We can then decide for instance together with the farmers whether it would be better to have threshing and drying facilities close to the field (in case the distance is long), or whether they could be located near the house (in case there is space). Such a map would also increase understanding about who has which facilities, and it could be used as a tool to discuss with farmers where improvements would be necessary.

Involving Men and Women from the Beginning until the End

Using PRA tools does not mean automatically that we do involve both men and women at all stages. PRA is sometimes used by researchers and project staff to justify a research problem that they themselves had in mind already. The above mentioned tools are useful at the beginning of a project, and can help you in deciding what type of technologies you could introduce. During the subsequent project activities one needs to be constantly aware of the fact that both men and women have to be involved in the activities and decision making.

A project is constructing individual granaries for a number of families. Type of store, material and capacity was discussed with both men and women, and agreed upon. The men participated in the construction work, and contributed local material. All stores have been completed, and a monitoring programme about the use of the stores has been designed. This programme has been discussed with the men during: the construction period, and simple forms were distributed to them. After a few months the project staff finds out that none of the men has filled in those forms.

The project staff did not think of the fact that the men were not the actual users of the store. The women were the ones that cleaned the store. put the produce into it and decided on removal of product either for sale or consumption. Instructions about monitoring should have been given directly to the women, and explained to them. This example shows that at each stage of a project. the question should be asked: who is the person responsible for this activity. who should be my target person?

Some PRA Methodologies that could be used

The PRA approach offers a basket of choices of different techniques. Any PRA exercise will make use of a particular combination of these techniques. depending on the available resources. the desired output and the local situation. I will describe here some methods that I find useful when I want to analyse a situation with regards to post-harvest technology constraints within the local environment. My time to use such methodologies is usually limited, as 1 spent only a few weeks when [ travel to countries. Therefore I give in addition some other methodologies that could be applied when one has a bit more time. Most of the background information I have extracted from "A Manager's Guide to the Use of Rapid Rural Appraisal" by Grandstaff and Messerschmidt (1995), and "Gender Assessment Study" by Lingen ( 1994). The first document provides good background information, the second one is specific on those methodologies which can be used for gender sensitive studies.

Looking first-hand at the conditions, post-harvest practices and facilities, relationships, the participation of women and men in community discussions, etc, and noting down the main findings. You may like to use an observation checklist. Observations are analysed afterwards for patterns and trends.

This is interviewing in an informal and conversational way, structured by using a checklist of topics. The order of questions and topics are not fixed. This method is often used with individual men and women. The place where the interview will take place is important, the person to be interviewed should feel comfortable.

If specific information is needed, one can decide on interviews with key persons. After semi-structured interviews have been done, one can decide on interviewing some key persons, in order to get more in depth information.

Group interviews have the advantage that discussion can take place between the villagers, and this can yield useful information. The groups can consist of only men or women, or mixed. In case the group is mixed, it should be ensured that women will feel free to answer for themselves. Sometimes they also need to be encouraged to answer.

These are systematic walks though an area of community to study technologies and practices that are already being used. In the case of studying post-harvest facilities one can note down the types of granaries in use, the types of in-door stores, rat-proofness and quality of stores/granaries, the drying facilities, implements used for processing (including village mill).

Villagers can be asked to make a map of the village lay-out, indicating the location of their fields, where threshing and drying take place, Iocation of village mills end other facilities. Such a map can yield useful information about the organisation of certain types of activities (such as the location of a drying floor for a group of farmers). It can be useful to ask men and women to make their own maps.

Villagers are asked to present fanning activities for each months. One can start with the most important planting season: when does land preparation take place, which crop is being sown first and why, which crops thereafter, when does the first harvesting of which crop take place, when drying and how long, when putting into store etc. Care should be taken to let farmers indicate all the farming activities during a certain month (harvesting of one crop and planting of another). Men and women should be asked to make their own seasonal calendar. Changes and importance of certain activities can also be indicated. Ceremonies (such as Ramadhan) can help explain the level of activities during certain periods. The calendars can be drawn on the ground, and stones, twigs, leaves and seeds can represent activities. Villagers should be asked to indicate the period that they are most busy.

Concluding Remarks

Different initiatives to speed up the rural development process were supported by the donor community over the last 30 years. Development movements such as the Green Revolution. Integrated Rural development. Appropriate technology, Structural Adjustment Programmes, and Sustainable Agriculture, have met with varying degrees of success. In particular at the level of small scale farmers there has been a lack of success in speeding up the rural development process.

Farmer participatory techniques such as PRA are widely used in the FSD approach and can contribute to rural development at small scale farmers level in the sense that they allow us to better understand the environment in which small farmers operate, and at the same time allow farmers to participate fully in the development process. However, PRA methodologies are to be considered as tools (not the only ones) to improve and facilitate rural development processes, and need to be used in the proper way.


Appleton, H.E. (1994). Technical Innovation by Women - Implications for Small Enterprises'. Small Enterprise Development Vol. 5. No. 1. March

Bhalla A.S. (1989), 'Innovation and Small Producers in Developing Counties'. Economic and Political Weekly. February

FAO (1994). 'Farming Systems Development: A Participatory Approach to Helping Small-Scale Farmers'. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Grandstaff. T.B. and Messerschmidt. D.A. (1995). 'A Manager's Guide to the Use of Rapid Rural Appraisal'. Nakhon Ralchasima: Rural Systems Analysis program. Suranee University of Technology and FAO

Lingen A. (1994). 'Gender Assessment Study: A Guide for Policy Staff'. The Hague: Special Programme Women and Development. Directorate General for International Co-operation

Stilwell. T. (1995). 'Linking Technology and Institutional Elements: A Systems Perspective on Draft Power for Smallholder Farmers'. Paper prepared for the Small Tractors Workshop. June 1995. Silverton, Pretoria: Division of Agricultural Engineering

Wilson, G. (1995), Technological Capability. NGO's and Small-Scale Development Projects' Development in Practice Vol 5. No. 2, May

Gender and draft animal power (DAP)

Juliana Rwelamira

University of Stellenbosch

South Africa


Gender is an important aspect of the farm technology problem (non-adoption, slow adoption, low utilisation). Technology transfer is often hindered when intra-household dynamics are not taken into account. In many cases women will have to provide the additional labour required.

In Southern and Eastern Africa, and indeed in the whole of Sub-Saharan, Africa, the majority (up to 80 per cent) of farmers are women who still work in 'hand and hoe ' thus limiting productivity and production. Technologies that enhance production, such as draft animal power (DAP) and the plough, have remained inaccessible to 'the invisible farmer ' -the woman. They are either physically inconvenient for female farmers to handle, or they apply only to male tasks or they are too costly for female farmers to afford them.

Unless and until gender inequalities are addressed, and women are given wider control over factors of production and technologies such as DAR food insecurity and malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa will continue and increase

This paper analyses gender roles, gender problems and sets out tools that can he used to overcome the constraints and difficulties of disseminating DAP widely among both male and female. Appropriateness of DAP and equipment that are gender sensitive are also addressed.

Historical Background

From time immemorial men and women have coexisted sharing socio-economic responsibilities and activities However, over time, while the male workload has gradually become lighter that of the women has became heavier At the household level the division of tasks performed by men and women has not changed much Women in Sub-Saharan Africa still carry out almost all (95 per cent) of the household chores including wood collecting, water fetching, food processing! reproduction, child and family care and health and homemaking. At the same time women contribute significantly to production, mainly in agriculture as they did in the United States until farming was mechanised (World Resources 1994-1995).

During the last century a lot of changes have taken place in Eastern and Southern Africa as in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa Politically, sovereign states acquired independence from colonialism fascism and protectionism, economies have been liberalised, subsistence agriculture has made room for cash crop production and technological progress has been achieved in all spheres of life Despite all this most women, especially in the rural areas, still perform almost all tasks in a traditional way, inter alia, hand and hoe cultivation and weeding, transportation of water, wood and crops on their heads and food processing manually by pounding.

According to Sylwander and Mpande (1995), draft animal power was introduced in the Eastern and Southern African region during the last 100 years, and is still being introduced in many areas Animal traction is a sustainable, improved and appropriate technology that could benefit all farmers Use of DAP is a means of intensifying and increasing production due to the timeliness of and the size of the land that can be cultivated, thus increasing yields The use of DAP also alleviates hard manual labour from farmers

Why Gender and Draft Animal Power?

The organisation of farm and household labour and production responsibilities vanes widely but historically, they tend to be highly gender specific In some regions men and women farm fields jointly, usually in a gender-sequential mode, but sometimes side by side In other areas, a substantial portion of agricultural activities is gender-segregated: women growing their own crops on separate plots, but they are also required to work on the plots and crops owned and managed by their husbands In much of Southern and Eastern Africa, men and women farm separate fields and grow different crops

Whether labour is allocated by crop, by task or both, women tend to perform the labour intensive, backbreaking tasks of hoeing, hand planting, thinning, weeding, harvesting, transportation of crops from the fields on their heads, storage and processing of crops and food (see also Appendix 1).

Box 1 What is Gender

Gender has been defined as socially constructed and culturally variable rote that women and men play in their daily lives. It refers to a structural relationship of inequality between men and women as manifested: in labour markets and political structures as: well as in: households. It is reinforced by custom, law and specific development policies

(Meena, 1992)

The introduction of commercial crops (which may be food crops intended for the market or export crops) or the commercialisation of traditional crops has led to changes in gender specificity of farming activities and responsibilities. Men tend to take on the market oriented production leaving women to cope with providing for the family's subsistence needs. However men also engage in substantial food production where food crops have good markets or where custom places the responsibility for producing the main

Introduction of cash crops (cotton, coffee, sugar, cane, tobacco, tea etc.) was coupled with introduction of new agricultural methods, techniques, implements, inputs and facilities for transport and marketing. It is in that context that DAP was introduced to farmers as a means of intensifying agriculture and increasing production.

The introduction of DAP and indeed other improved technologies has not benefit all the farmers equally. Most Southern and Eastern African women in the rural areas, growing food crops mainly for home consumption still cultivate the land by 'hoe and hand'. Even where agriculture is commercialised, the demand for female labour is still to be found in the non-mechanised operations such as weeding, tea and coffee picking etc, with low pay. The implication here is that animal traction technologies are not gender neutral. Men, who are generally involved in cash crop production often have more access, control and ownership of improved technologies such as animal traction, than women, though women do most of the domestic and agricultural work.

At the same time, due to the market economy a lot of men have left their homes in search of the wage earning jobs which occupy a greater pan of their lives, and a growing number of children now spend a great part of the day in school while some are at boarding schools.

Figure 1: Gender Labour Division in Africa, early 1980s

Box 2:

The Division of

Farm Labour

Farming systems research in Kilosa, Tanzania, showed :women contributing about hall the labour on major crops and more than that OR minor crops and on all other household tasks. Women were particularly active in planting (56 percent), weeding and thinning (52 percent), and harvesting (58 percent); they also contributed significantly to activities widely assumed to he male domains, such as land preparation (46 percent). Women's labour input was particularly high in rice (67 percent) and beans percent), followed by maize (48 percent), sorghum (40 percent), sunflower (39 percent), and cotton (39 percent). Men dominated the marketing of all crops, except of rice where women's contribution was 50 percent (Due 1988).

In Zambia's Laupila Province, the labour division in farming varies with the fanning system. In semi-permanent fields, men prepare mounds for cassava and ridges for maize, while women plant, weed, and harvest, In Chitemene fields, men (usually sons-in-law) lop, branches, while women pile and hum them, seed, and harvest Men dominate decision making for caste crops, women are responsible for food crops

(Sutherland 1988).

As a direct consequence of the above women's workload and time constraints have increased due to changes in the division of labour in the household Tasks that had previously been performed by other members of the household (men and children) are now done by women alone

Since the majority of farmers (50-X0 per cent) are women. who produce about 80 per cent of the food in the Sub-Saharan region. but have no access to production enhancing technologies. their productivity and production are low. thus making the overall production to be low In a region where the growing population is constantly threatened by famine a solution has to be found that will address both division of labour and ownership and control of factors of production including animals and implements for DAP A number of researchers in the area of gender issues stress the fact that unless and until women are given wider control over access to economic and political power, food insecurity and malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to increase (Jazairy. Almgir and Pamiccio, 1992).

Underlying Causes of Gender Problems

Socio-cultural environment

In order to address the unequal access, utilisation and ownership of DAP between men and women we have to look at the sexual division of labour and the environment (cultural, social, political and economical) in which innovations take place. Household often have clearly defined roles and tasks Gender relations and roles are defined by society and can change over time For example it has been noticed in almost all DAP projects that when drain animal power is introduced in an area, men start to get more involved by taking over the new technology The Mbeya Oxenisation Project had initially failed to recruit women into the project because their male counterparts were in full control of everything (Marshall and Sizva. 1994) There were misconceptions that animal traction is a male oriented activity: that women are too weak and afraid to handle oxen, that women would destroy the equipment because they are not capable of understanding it, that women had no interest in learning to use animal traction technologies and that there was no need for women to use oxen Husbands and other decision makers from regional government to village level were not aware, or were not willing to acknowledge that women have any meaningful role to play in an animal traction project The women in Mbeya proved all of them wrong.

In some countries for example Lesotho, women are hindered by customary law from handling animals (except donkeys) Thus a Mosotho woman farmer may risk crop failure while she waits for help from a male to plough her fields (Rwelamira, JK 1993a)

With a few exception in some areas like in Kenya. Tanzania. Zambia and Zimbabwe, where there have been successful DAP projects, the regional pattern in Southern and Eastern Af rice is that women do not use animal traction technologies because of strong socio-cultural objections by the society and especially from men.

Access to sources

The successful use of draft animal power presupposes access to several other resources required for production. Most important of these are land, cash and credit, implements and extension and training programmes.

Traditionally, in most of Southern and Eastern Africa land is allocated to men either by the state or by the 'King' through local chiefs. Under normal circumstances women can farm their fathers', brothers', husbands' or other male relatives' plot with their permission. However, men tend to utilise the best plots for growing cash crops. Often, women farm fragmented plots on non-arable or infertile land in the fringes of the farms. This, among other things, limits their ability to take advantage of economies of scale brought about by improved technologies such as DAP and also limits yield. In a few communities women can own and inherit cattle, for example, among the Zulus, in South Africa a women keeps the cows given to her at the time of marriage or through dowry for her daughters. However, under normal circumstances livestock is the domain of males. Women with some cash income can acquire animals of their choice from the open market. This is especially true for women who have male migrant workers (husbands and/or sons) who send money home. However it is difficult for households without cash income, especially female headed households, who ten to be quite poor, to own any livestock. Since women rarely have collateral in their own name they cannot obtain credit from financial institution, to enable them to purchase animals and implements for DAP as well as the other essentials inputs. The problem of credit for women has been report by a number of DAP projects including those in Kaoma District in Zambia (Muma AK 1992).

A similar problem was reported in Ethiopia by Oumer Taka (1994) and by Sylwander L. Mpande R (1995) for Southern and Eastern Africa. Further more Rwelamira (1993), in a research study to assess financial and technical constraints to Basotho women farmers, documented obstacles that are encountered by women farmers in obtaining credit. The findings were as shown in Appendix 2.

Inadequate planning and programming leading to unequal development impact

The past experience with development planning and programming worldwide has raised concern regarding its adequacy in achieving development goals. Animal traction project designed, implemented and managed under the overall plan have been equally inadequate.

Much of the disappointment with planning and programming arises from the material outlook of traditional theories of development on which it is based, resulting in an over emphasis on economic concerns as opposed to the human resource and well-being in the development process. National development planning, within which animal traction programmes are implemented has also often been ineffective due to lack of consciousness of the interdependence between the social and economic aspects of development. The situation has been compounded by gender inequalities manifested in all aspects of life.

Women along with men are subjects of development, but development so far has had a different impact on women relative to men. The traditional division of labour has been one of the basic factors causing the unequal share of women in the development process, because it restricts women to the domestic sphere and to tasks that are traditionally female.

The issue here is not of simple incorporation of specific gender components into development planning or into animal traction projects for that matter. Sen and Grown (1987) question traditional efforts to integrate women issues into the existing development programmes. They say, the integrationist approach has had limited success so far, partly because of the difficult of overcoming cultural attitudes and prejudices. Development strategies striving for overall economic growth and increased agricultural and industrial productivity are inimical to women and their changes of achieving equity.

There is need to be aware that women and men in performing their work operate within the wider socio-cultural and economic processes. In practice these processes have potential to constrain women from adequate performance as producers and even as mothers.

Thus at the domestic level a poor women who is faced with an overload of work, poor economy and hungry children, cannot be expected to participate effectively in a project that does not address poverty, her economic situation, her priorities and constraints. Her daily life is dominated by the need to acquire basic necessities first. This means that for women to benefit and participate fully in an animal traction project, such constraining factors have to be taken into consideration and be pan of the overall planning considerations. National development planning, within which animal traction programmes implemented, has also often been ineffective due to lack of consciousness of the interdependence between the social and economic aspects of development.

Gender biases in planning and project design

From the foregoing it is reasonable to state that for animal traction projects with specific gender components to have long term impact, women and men have to be perceived both as active agents of change as well as beneficiaries in the development process. Such impact should be measured both in terms of the division by gender, of labour and resources within households as well as by division of returns to labour.

Methodologies for surveying and data analysis for purposes of planning and project design tend to be gender biased and not gender disaggregated. For example. Jazairy et al (1992), point out the general assumption made by development planners that household heads are male, regardless of who is supporting the family. As a result government and development agencies, which administer primarily to men, have failed to make substantial investments that would increase female productivity. For example, concentration of animal traction use on cash and export crops, which are dominated by men, limits the participation of women as users. Instead if animal traction was introduced to be used for traditional food crops grown by women, mainly for home consumption, female participation would surely increase in animal traction related projects.

Box 3 Gender Planning

A planning approach that recognises that because women and men play different roles in society they often have different needs, priorities and constraints.

One strategy for reaching out to women to ensure full participation in animal traction projects specifically and in development generally as proposed by Makwanda (1992). is to involve women as a group independent from men. The same strategy is advocated by Marshall and Sizya (1992). Through organising women into groups the women in Mbeya were able to access and control draft animal technology.

On one hand we have to recognise that 'women only' projects in one sense demonstrate the under-privileged status of women in society. It is because women nave been neglected in development that they have to be given special attention in order to address the imbalance.

On the other hand care should be taken not to define women's advancement simply as women's concern, but as one which particularly requires the cooperation and attitudinal change on the part of both men and women. Specially in contexts where the socio-cultural environment is strongly gender divided it is crucial to involve men as well as women.

Women's Participation in Animal Traction Projects

It is necessary to place women's participation in animal traction programmes within the context of the family and social economy so that development projects can be accurately designed to respond to the needs of the entire target population.

Typical animal traction projects arc introduced as a means of improving small farmers productivity and improvement on agricultural output and income. It has however become increasingly clear that targeting project benefits to the rural population generally and hoping that women, within the communities in question, will get their share simply does not word. Moreover, the design of such project does not take into consideration the nature of tasks to be performed by gender of labour within households. Time and labour requirements of such projects do not take into account the already over-burdened schedules of women.

In a number of cases, animal traction projects have tended to allow men to expand the amount of land under cultivation for cash crops and reducing their workload in land preparation, while increasing women's workloads in transplanting, weeding, harvesting and transportation of produce from the field. This point cannot be overemphasized as it has been elaborated upon by a number of researchers (Rwelamira 1993a Marshall and Sizya 1994; Thrupp et al. 1994: Sylwander, 1994 and Doran, 1994).

This, and similar negative effects of animal traction technology on women necessitate a reorientation of animal traction programmes to serve women better. Affirmative action type strategies aimed at simply providing oxen and animal traction implements will not suffice. A holistic approach which calls for the re-examination of the past and current socio-economical and political institutions within which women operate is essential.

A Policy Issue

Women are central to Africa's agricultural performance and food security. All the case studies presenting data on the subject of women's role in agriculture report that women are a key resource in food farming and provide a substantial part of agricultural labour in crops grown primarily for sale. Moreover, there are indications that with increasing male migration in search of wage work outside the food and agriculture sector, women's responsibilities in food end agriculture are expanding. However, despite the documented key role of women in food and agriculture, there is still a gap in policy and technical support necessary for improving the value of women's labour in this sector.

The gender gap in agricultural policy and technical support derives in pan from the historic policy bias in countries which have favoured the development of commercial agriculture aimed for the export sector (initially coffee, tea and later hybrid maize) and the neglect of the small farm sector which accounts for food for up to 80 percent of the population.

Within the above scenario, animal traction projects or project components alone addressing gender issues will make lime headway in changing the status quo, if the national policies and institutional environment is not conducive. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) project experiences suggest inter alia, a comprehensive approach in addressing issues related to gender and food production and security. Macro-economic and agricultural policies and programmes that will help rural women to make the best use of resources available to them should be in built into all rural development projects (Jazairy et al. 1992). It is in view of the above that the agricultural engineers have to be pan of development team rather than a team by themselves.

Ownership, Control and Utilisation of Draft Animal Power

The proportion of rural households which have cattle and other animals that can be used for traction vary from country to country and even from region to region within the same country. Throughout Southern and Eastern Africa cattle are the most important livestock and they are almost exclusively owned, managed and controlled by men. Donkeys are, in most cases, the only alternative to cattle as a source of animal farm power, which a lot of poor farmers, including women, can afford.

In a UNIFEM survey (Gaidzanwa 1990) the majority of livestock owning households were male-headed. Among the livestock-owning households run by women, a much higher proportion of female-managed than female headed households owned livestock since the farmer receive some form of income from wage earning male members of the household.

The main issue regarding ownership of draft animals and implements is lack of finance to purchase them. For women the situation is made worse by the inability to organise credit, as discussed earlier, and in many communities in Southern an Eastern Africa there are strong socio-cultural objections to women using draft animals (Sylwander and Mpande 1995). Cattle are still looked upon as a sign of wealth for men and used for paying bride price or settling other debts. So men in the region are still reluctant to let the women use draft animals. A number of examples are given below to illustrate this point. Cleaver and Schreiber ( 1994) studied a case in Kenya. In the Mwea settlement scheme in Kenya, young families were settled to cultivate rice. Rice fields were leased for life to male tenants, mechanised equipment as well as ox-drawn implements, fertilisers and extension support were all part of the package for the male tenants. At the same time small plots to grow traditional, self-provisioning foods were lent to each household for the wives as long as they stayed with the husbands.

Box 4: Female Headed Households

The incidence of household" headed by women and the growth in their number teas emerged as an important indicator of poverty. It is estimated that 31 percent of rural households in Africa are female headed.

The capacity of such households to own and use animal traction and other resources effectively has significantly decreased over the years. Male migration has resulted in diminished output from the land, teas created labour shortage, especially for land preparation, and has reduced productivity. Also, the absence of male labour has increased women's reliance on child labor which has ted to withdrawing children from school in some instances.

In South Africa an IFAD specials programming mission reported that the use of oxen for plowing had been reduced because of male migration.

Females who become de factor household heads a result of male migration are affected in several specific ways. First they are often limited in their access to agricultural technical support and services because of the assumption in extension practice that men are the farmers. Second, men continue to hold allocative authority. Third, since male migration is higher in the low or poor potential agricultural zones, female household heads tend, by the same token to be poor (Rwelamira 1993b).

Female beaded households seen, to require special programme emphasis because this phenomenon is an outcome of emerging economic circumstance which tend to work to the disadvantage of women.

This led to serious within the families and for the project. In addition to working their food plots. women shared in all rice cultivation tasks and did all the weeding - while the men had little to do on the rice fields between planting and harvesting and often left the settlement for several months. Many women. unhappy with their heavier workload and the lack of control over the returns from their additional labour on husbands' fields. exercised passive resistance to work on the rice fields and did only minimal weeding, especially when this competed with work on their own plots. They wanted to work their own plots as carefully as possible since they had full disposal rights over the produce from these plots. They also needed rice as well as cash to purchase additional food and other household necessities. The remuneration they received from their husbands, usually in the form of paddy, was insufficient; it was used to meet family food needs or sold to purchase preferred foods, leaving not enough cash to buy firewood a critical necessity since there were no forests nearby from which fuelwood could be collected. A women was considered fortunate if her husband bought six months' supply of wood.

In a survey of 90 villages in Tanzania 90 per cent of the women were found still using the hoe while ox-drawn and conventional ploughs were used by men of the same families for cash crop production. Weeding is still considered a critical constraint to maize production in the southern highlands of Tanzania where a number of DAP technology projects have been established The weeding task is mainly done by women.

In areas such as Rukwa and Singida in Tanzania up to 75 per cent DAP usage has been recorded, but the actual situation is that DAP is mainly used for primary tillage and to a lesser extent for transportation and other tasks (Njiku. 1992).

From the foregoing it is fair to conclude that there is low level of utilisation of draft animal power generally, but acutely so among women.

DAP technology projects should thus diversify their activities to include tasks that are performed by women and for crops grown by women. Technologies that will alleviate drudgery and improve the family living conditions and income generation should be explored by agricultural engineers.

Agricultural Extension and Training

Traditionally, national extension and training institutions and curricula in developing countries have not been particularly sensitive to gender issues. They are mainly based on western models and are staffed almost exclusively by men and offer services to men.

Projects also suffer when information and training are given only to male heads of house-holds. Advice on production, inputs and use of specific technologies like animal traction are incorrectly transmitted from husbands to wives.

Sensitivity in animal traction training programmes is also essential for women with young children, who tend to be least flexible. For women between 18 and 45 years of age child care and household demands limit the potential for learning new skills and new activities. In order to cater for this most productive age group of the women labour force training programmes have to be locally based and of short duration at a time. Hockin. ( 1994) reported success stories of the mobile ox plowing courses for women in the Western Province of Zambia. This is a strategy that could be applied elsewhere to increase women participation in animal traction courses, as well as in participate technology research and development.

Health Care for Draft Animals

In order to get the best output out of the draft animals diseases that weaken and even kill such animals have to be brought under control. A number of areas in Southern and Eastern Africa are tsetse fly infested. In such areas, trypanosomiasis is rampant. Other common diseases in the region include tick-borne diseases, foot and mouth disease and rinderpest.

Farmers on their own cannot manage the whole animal disease control programme. An integrated effort at regional, country, district and area levels teas to be made with the help of governments veterinary/animal health extension network

At the same time farmers should be encouraged and helped to practice traditional veterinary medicines (IVM). In some areas TVM may he the most (or even the only) cost effective method of obtaining effective remedies and adequate health coverage, because there is serious shortage of veterinary doctors. Many of the herbal remedies and traditional practices have been proven through research, to be just as effective as the conventional ones (Bah, 1990).

Figure 3: Households Headed by Women

Figure 4 Burden of work in developing countries

Good feeding of draft animals will enable them to resist diseases better and will allow them to perform at high capacity

Gender Analysis and Gender Planning

To overcome the constraints and difficulties lated to involving both men and women in animal traction projects, a gender sensitive planning approach has to be adopted. The first step in sensitive project planning is a gender analysis Various tools have been developed by the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) to assist planners project and DAP implement designers to do this The tools are based on the Gender Issues in Animal Traction Handbook by Sylwander and Mpande (eds) (1995).

Gender analysis includes the following key issues

The first tool in gender analysis is to develop an activity profile or gender roles identification This assists in identifying the roles and tasks that men and women have in a society or community

Some key questions for animal traction projects

The second tool to be used is an access and control profile The analysis of the flow of the resources and benefits is essential in understanding how a project will affect women and men The necessary differentiation between access and control of resources can be directly related to the control and access of benefits derived from project activities

Some key questions for animal traction projects:

The third tool takes into consideration other factors that can influence the potential impact of a project, and present opportunities and constraints to project goals and activities

The following factors have been suggested:

By using these tools, project planners and agricultural engineers may be able to develop a picture of gender roles and relations in a society

The fourth and final tool is to identify the specific gender needs that men and women have. Gender needs have been identified as practical and strategic gender needs. Practical gender needs refer to the immediate and practical daily need such as food, water, housing, tools, health care, etc. Practical needs can often be met in a project context with specific inputs

Strategic gender needs or interests, on the other hand, refer to the long term issues which are common to women and men. They relate to the disadvantaged position of women, lack of power, education, resources, decision making, etc.

For animal traction projects it is crucial to identify both practical and strategic needs that can be met by the project and by the use of animal draft power.

A Success Story

One of the draft animal power project with a gender and development approach is the Mbeya Oxenisation Project (Marshall and Sizya. 1994). The strategies evolved, which could be used by other animal traction projects in their efforts to integrate gender concerns involved:

In Mbeya Region traditional attitudes and values are changing in many fronts including the use of DAP by women.

Other Key issues to be considered in Gender and DAP


Animal traction projects and programmes have to be reoriented to address issues of equity, human development, women's roles in society and sustainability of development. A holistic and integrated approach is needed to address gender issues in animal traction. This may not always be possible within a project context. Thus women need to be thoroughly integrated in all phases of development right from the planning stage, as well as in their social and political surroundings. Animal traction technologies that can effectively reduce labour and time requirement for weeding, food processing, water and fuel fetching would go a long way towards alleviating women's drudgery.

Gender awareness have to be emphasised at all levels and all activities of a project or programme. Women and men have to be part of all aspects of project design, implementation and evaluation. A strong recommendation is to ensure that the entire staff has been gender trained and gender sensitised.

In order to solve the inherent problems of the diverse and complex gender issues encountered in the introduction and promotion of animal traction programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa, animal traction research systems must be given a new direction if they are to address gender problems and needs. The emphasis should be on establishing a system which approaches research as a problem-solving process directly related to gender issues and evolving with changes in people's conditions of life, their resources, education, skills, family composition and the prevailing environment.

Most importantly animal traction technology must be based on the active participation of the community for whom it is intended; from the definition of problems to the selection, application and evaluation of possible solutions. Too often animal traction technology introduced to women is inappropriate because women themselves have not been consulted during design and planning. Equally important is the fact that the development and diffusion of animal traction appropriate for women major tasks require increased research funds to be allocated to food crops food processing and transportation projects Also, use of locally available raw materials for DAP implements should be looked into in order to reduce costs but without prejudicing quality


Due J. M. 1988 Intra-household Gender issues In farming systems in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. In Pats: Schmink and Spring 1988, pp 331-344

Doran J. 1994 Transportation by women and their access to animal drawn carts in Zimbabwe, pp 272-275 in Starkey P. Mwenya E and Stares J (eds.). Improving animal traction technology Proceedings of the first workshop of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January 1992. Lusaka Zambia Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation. Ede-Wageningen, The Netherlands. 180 p

Hockin C. 1994. The impact of mobile ox plowing courses for women in the Western Province of Zambia, pp 2X8-291 in Starkey P. Mwenya E and Stares I (eds). Improving animal traction technology! Proceedings of the first workshop of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January 1992. Lusaka. Zambia Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation. Ede-Wageningen, The Netherlands. 480 p

Jazairy I, Alamgir M and Panuccio T. 1992 The state of world poverty. An inquiry into its causes and consequences. Publication for the International Fund for Agricultural Development by Intermediate Technology Publications Southampton Row, London UK. 481 p

Makwanda AC. 1994 Women and animal traction technology: experiences of the Tanga draft animal project, Tanzania, pp 276-279 in Starkey P. Mwenya E and Stares J (eds.). Improving animal traction technology. Proceedings of the first workshop of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January 1992. Lusaka, Zambia Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation. Ede-Wageningen. The Netherlands, 480 p

Marshall K and Sizva M 1994 If omen and Animal traction in Mbeya Region of Tanzania: a gender and development approach, pp 266271 in Starkey P. Mwenya E and Stares J. Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January 1992, Lusaka. Zambia Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation. Ede-Wageningen, The Netherlands. 480 p

Meena R (ed.). 1992 Gender in Southern Africa Conceptual and theoretical issues. SAPES Books. Harare, Zimbabwe

Njiku. ET. 1995 Draft animal power technologies their scope and relevance to women farmers in Tanzania, pp 47-51 in Sylwander Land Mpande R 1995 Gender issues in animal traction a handbook ATNESA Stockholm. Sweden. 60 p

Rwelamira JK. 1993a The social and economic aspects of animal traction in agricultural production among female-headed households of Lesotho and Swaziland, pp 227-229 in Lawrence PR Lawrence K, Dijkman IT and Starkey PH (eds.) Research for development of animal traction in West Africa Proceedings of the fourth workshop of the West Africa Animal Traction Network held in Kano Nigeria. 9-13 July 1990 Published on behalf of the West African Animal Traction Network by the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 306 p

Rwelamira JK. 1993b Technical and financial constraints that affect women's role in household food security and agricultural development in Lesotho. Faculty of Agriculture. University of Swaziland Luyengo. Swaziland. Final report presented to African Development Foundation (ADF), Washington. D C

Sen G and Grown C. 1987 Development crisis and alternative vision, pp 15- 16 in Monthly Rev few Press. 1987 New York

Sutherland AJ. 1988 The gender factor and technology options for Zambia's subsistence farming systems. In Poats Schmink and Spring 1988, pp 389-406

Sylwander L. 1994 Women and animal traction technology, pp 260-265 in Starkey P. Mwenya E and Stares I (eds). Improving animal traction technology. Proceedings of the first workshop of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January 1992. Lusaka. Zambia Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation. Ede-Wageningen, The Netherlands. 480 p








Land clearing









Hoes and weeds






Transport crops from fields









Marketing and transport to markets



Fetch water and fuel



Care for domestic animals



Feeds and care for family



Source: UNECA (Women of Africa 1975) Human Development Report 1992





Percentage of Respondents




N= 404

Lack of collateral




Legal guarantor requirement




Application procedure complicated




Lack of Information




Other obstacles




Source Rwelamira JK (1993). Financial and, Technical constraints affecting women's role in food production and agricultural development

All the above mentioned obstacles. individually or collectively pose as a hindrance for small farmers. the majority of whom are women. to take full advantage of access to inputs. technology and markets.

For women to participate fully in animal traction projects they need credit to purchase equipment as well as hire or buy animals. Special loan schemes are necessary to circumvent the obstacles.

Responsive agricultural engineering

David Poston


United Kingdom

Agricultural engineering is a construct of formal education which promotes northern models of enterprise and acts in support of northern expectations. Women and poor people are excluded from this through lock of recognition! formal education qualifications and economic power To be sustainable, change has to involve the subsistence farming majority and must therefore start from their reality, through participation. The development of appropriate technologies requires a dialogue between equals. Local manufacture and product development provides a resource for this which has been overlooked by modernist agricultural engineers. The role of specialist agricultural engineers should be as catalysts and sources of information.

If the contribution of agricultural engineering to development is to be meaningful, it must affect a significant proportion of the population. Since the majority of the population of southern and eastern Africa still depend upon subsistence farming, responding to their needs is the priority. Assumptions which give rise to actions intended to promote change which will affect only those at a higher level, leaving the poorest behind compound the problems of the rural poor.

The prevalent education systems in southern and eastern Africa have been imported from the northern hemisphere' bringing their baggage of assumptions regarding conventions, models and expectations. Since all external agents active in Development are trained in institutions of the northern model, this Northern Orientation is inherent in all Government and GO perceptions and initiatives. The gender bias of northern systems has been included in the package, and combines very well with existing imbalances within the cultures which have received it. It is arguable that traditional gender imbalances in Africa have been reinforced by northern ones.

The definition and formalisation of technology and science have creased a preserve, a mystical area of expertise which can be penetrated only by formal education, which has largely excluded women and entirely excludes the poor. Thus 'engineering'' is principally owned by northern-oriented males who promote change according to the northern model.

A project intended to develop the activities of rural blacksmiths in Malawi was considered to have failed because the part-time blacksmiths who were trained did not then relinquish farming to become full-time metalworkers. The concept of a successful business is of a full-time cash-based enterprise which can exploit and payoff loans, as in the north or in urban Africa. But the 'smiths were right. The limited cash resources of their customers and the seasonality of the market for their products precludes full-time activity, and thus credit-based expansion unless they move to serve an urban market, as one man did An appropriate and sustainable business must correspond to the context, which generates the market for its products.

If under-development is not one huge problem, but the occurrence of a number of small problems millions of times, then change requires small solutions which can be replicated as many times as the problem exists. This is far beyond the resources available for direct paternalistic intervention, for, if the route to sustainable economic growth is to develop agricultural practices at their lowest level and then work up, the scale on which change must occur is gigantic.

Change will not occur on this scale if it depends upon isolated technological introductions by individual projects, however appropriate they are in themselves. Technology transfer can only occur on the necessary scale through autonomous propagation, independent growth. The dominant means of this occurring is through commercial markets, where benefits to the purchaser are perceived to be sufficient to justify the investment, from their perspective, and where profit to the producer or vendor stimulates the introduction. The form in which information transfer is initiated has a considerable effect on the extent to which it will continue to occur without funkier artificial stimulation.

In development terms, the supply of appropriate tools and implements is the core of agricultural engineering. These tools are used to cultivate crops which have a subsistence or cash value. The priority given to the investment in a tool should correspond precisely to the benefit which its ownership and use will generate in terms of food or cash crop, and thus to the market for tools.

Which tools are appropriate? Who should decide this'? In the formal world, expertise is defined by educational qualifications, consequently educated people can be experts, uneducated ones cannot be One highly educated project manager insisted that the locals were lazy, because they only used small hoes. He therefore proposed to distribute a huge number of heavily subsidised industrially-made hoes of a much larger size, convinced that this would increase agricultural production at a stroke. The simple question is, what did he know about hoeing by hand? Who is the expert at choosing which kind of tool is best suited to the conditions? Are small-scale farmers incapable of innovation? An economist managing a major agricultural engineering project in one African country is currently importing expert engineers to design new and "more efficient'' hand tools for the farmers

The power of formal qualifications, of scientific knowledge, generates an arrogance which precludes the recognition of less authorised knowledge Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) is at last being recognised as considerably more than a series of quaint cultural accidents, but there is a very long way to go before a respectful equality between knowledge systems can be established ITK's influence on change will remain limited as long as the systems and institutions continue to be modelled according to the implanted Northern "scientific" model

Indigenous Technical Knowledge, based upon an intimate knowledge of the local conditions of production represents the accumulated experience of the group If ITK is recognised as an authoritative knowledge system, then its owners should be the ones to measure the appropriateness of technologies within their context Unlike the narrow specialisms of northern scientific knowledge, ITK reflects the integration of knowledge, so an understanding of soil structures and the needs of a crop relates to the shape of the tools used to cultivate it and the means by which it is made. Thus, limited as they may appear to formally-educated experts, traditional manufacturing technologies relate to the product which IT dictates In Bandundu. Zaire, two blacksmithing tribes work only 100 km apart but use distinct models of hammer The hammer of the Bangongo produces a shallow two-dimensionally curved hoe blade, while that of the Bayanzi makes a more three-dimensional spoon-like hoe, each having its practical significance. Corresponding variations in hoe pattern and hammer design can also be seen throughout Nigeria

But the capability and knowledge of blacksmiths goes largely unrecognized, as has that of women, by a northern-oriented educated elite The delivery of a paper, on the development of tool production by blacksmiths, to a workshop on science and technology in sub-Saharan Africa prompted cries of outrage from senior academics affronted by the recognition of such backward systems of production. Similarly, when two hammers were shown to an influential Tanzanian audience visiting a training course for blacksmithing instructors, they all comfortably assumed that the badly worn one was handmade, the undamaged one from a factory, whereas the reverse was true. This perception, that northern, imported, industrially-made goods are better than anything local has now even influenced tool users Hammers are given welded metal handles, horrible to use and quick to break, metal can wheels must be better than wooden ones, replaceable wooden carpentry tools must be inferior to imported metal ones Coca-Cola must be better for you than coconut milk, bottle feeding better than breast milk.

As part of this imported baggage, measurement is principally in terms of the cash economy Just as the economic contribution of much of the work women do goes unrecognised, so small-scale economic activity which takes place outside, or on the margins of, the cash economy is undervalued

Inputs which are imported from outside the community require cash. In order to justify this investment, the input must generate cash from outside the community with which to pay for itself. In an agricultural context this rapidly increases the pressure to grow cash crops

Poor people are risk-minimisers, so initial changes must be very small, growing incrementally as their economic strength increases. Subsistence farmers living on the margins of the cash economy operate a mixture of loaner and cash, cash being at a premium because it has to come from outside. Blacksmiths in rural areas of Zimbabwe discount the price of an axe, their principal remaining product, in order to be paid in cash with which they can pay for kerosene and school fees.

If risk is a threat and cash is hard to obtain, the amount required to make an investment becomes crucial to people's willingness to do so and thus to the potential for change. Every piece of inappropriate expert advice increases "aid pollution", as Ebbie Dengu of Intermediate Technology puts it, and consequently poor people's reluctance to invest in new technologies. Paternalistic minimising of the risk by subsidy or gift may help the individual in the short-term but it encourages dependency, fails to establish sustainable mechanisms and cannot occur on a meaningful scale

While trading in cash offers many benefits, and is inevitable, should we assume that the conventional consequences are the most beneficial to poor farming communities and to the women within them, particularly since cash-generating crops and opportunities tend to be male-dominated''

Do the sources and scale of agricultural engineering inputs make a difference to women?

What do we mean by "agricultural engineering'"? That word. "engineering", conveys intimidating messages of qualification, arcane knowledge, mathematics and calculators, bringing with them assumptions of modem technology. Of mechanisation and high investment. What should it mean, in the context of rural Africa? Who should have ownership of agricultural engineering, and how can they get it?

If the tool user is the real expert on her conditions of production, then the relationship between user and agricultural engineer/manufacturer should be guided by this expertise. To do this, the disparity in power should be minimised.

A remote manufacturer makes generic products, suitable for the average use. (In Zimbabwe, one of the principal jobs rural blacksmiths do for farmers is to re-shape and reduce industrially-made hoes in accordance with ITK.)

Conventional wisdom indicates that blacksmithing has been marginalised by large-scale manufacturing industry particularly in Zimbabwe, and by imports, particularly from China and Brazil. Therefore the assumption is that small-scale local production cannot compete, though this has hardly been tested. Colonies were sources of raw material and markets for finished goods. In Tanganyika it was illegal to be a blacksmith, under both German and British rule (3). Northern orientation has taken over where imperial trade advantage left off.

Contrary to popular belief, traditional blacksmiths are still very active in many parts of southern and eastern Africa. In the Lindi and Mtwara regions of Tanzania a rural population of about 1.5 million is supplied with agricultural tools by more than 630 blacksmiths. In Luapula province in Zambia, if you ask someone on the road where they got the tool they are carrying you will not have to go more than a kilometre to find the maker. Even in Zimbabwe, in some rural areas you are unlikely to have to go more than two kilometres.

A local manufacturer has direct contact with the users of his products and shares their experience. Traditional blacksmiths are normally farmers themselves, so ITK is the basis of the designs they make. In many parts of Africa blacksmiths will pay one finished hoe to a client in rectum for scrap material from which two hoes can be made, so a farmer without cash can still get a tool. The design of locally-made tools relates to the resources available to make them, which in turn means that they can be repaired locally. Industrially-made tools and implements can only be repaired crudely, if at all, in a village. (Urban small-scale metalworkers tend to make crude products but have a cost advantage because of easier access to scrap steel and the use of arc-welding. When scrap steel sheet is welded or riveted to a tang the resulting hoe is unnecessarily heavy, whereas forging creates variations in blade thickness according to the need for strength in different parts, allowing the tool to be lighter.)

The rural blacksmith is the local agricultural engineer, but at the moment he is not a very good one. As well as reflecting ITK he is accessible to the users of tools and should be in a position to adapt to his customers' changing needs, providing an opportunity for his clients to participate in the design process, as the ILO/TOOL Farm Implements and Tools (FIT) programme is exploring.

If traditional blacksmiths can provide this service, why have they not done so before? The lack of recognition means that their potential contribution to the development process has been ignored. University-trained engineers are familiar with modem production techniques, which are primarily welding and fabrication. Generally not metalworkers themselves, they are not familiar with the scope and variety of work which can be accomplished in a simple forge. Thus most inputs concerned with agricultural engineering and production have concerned urban production by enterprises on the industrialised country model. Blacksmiths have received few inputs, and most of these have been concerned with imitating northern-style equipment and working patterns, rather than recognising existing resources and practices and maximising their potential.

As a result of this neglect, traditional 'smiths do not know how to harden or temper high-carbon steel and lack techniques which would enhance the quality of their products and their productivity. They also lack access to scrap steel which is often made less accessible by government policies, whether it is by a refusal to release government-held vehicle scrap or through the export of scrap for re-cycling by another country (4). Well-intended fiscal policies can also have a negative effect on a local agricultural engineering industry. In Zambia in 1986 an industrially-made plough imported from Zimbabwe cost less than the materials with which to manufacture one locally, because of the difference between the import duties charged on agricultural equipment and steel.

To provide practicing blacksmiths with the means to improve their skills is not difficult. In four years the RIPS project in Tanzania has trained over 350 blacksmiths, for a month each in their own forges, at a local cost of about US$66 per man. Since a hand-forged mild steel hoe lasts three years? a smith making just 35 hoes per year will supply one hundred families. If five people depend upon each hoe then training each 'smith will benefit 500 people, in teens of improved access to tools of a better quality, at a cost of approximately US$ 0,13 cents each. A similar training programme, though on a more restricted scale, has also been carried out in Zimbabwe by various NGOs with assistance from Intermediate Technology.

In Africa forging is an almost exclusively male preserve. There is one Makonde woman, identified by the RIPS team in Tanzania who assists her husband, but this is most unusual.

Blacksmithing has strong links with the old religions and consequently a number of superstitions are associated with it, including ones which exclude women. The Bangongo blacksmiths, for example, will not allow any women to be present when a traditional hammer is made. There is no physical reason why women should not work as blacksmiths (as they increasingly do in Europe and America) and make agricultural tools and implements, though whether there would be any great advantage in their learning to do so is arguable. Blacksmithing knowledge is heavily protected by each practitioner. A group of young blacksmiths in Lindi region, with whom Saidi Kitambi worked as part of the RIPS project, were extremely reluctant to make an important brushcutting tool because they did not know the magic associated with it. Women would have to be taught the trade from scratch by outsiders, which would have the advantage of discarding all the restrictions of the old beliefs, but would also fail to exploit the existing resource which the male practicing blacksmiths represent.

If sustainable agricultural engineering means local small-scale agricultural engineers, is there a role for the "real" engineer, the one with the calculator and specialised knowledge? Instead of being the source of solutions, their role becomes that of a catalyst and source of information with which the tool-users and manufacturers adapt or develop equipment appropriate to their conditions of production, both physical and economic. Team-work arises from a mutual respect and a recognition of what each member brings to the feast.

There is now an increasing recognition that participation is the means by which sustainable change can occur, and that this means ownership" of the change by those whom it most affects. Since this is a sociological concept. "ownership" is largely perceived as applying to the decision-making process within a community. .

In the context of agricultural engineering, ownership" and "control" means being in a position to choose technologies and to influence the development of alternatives. The development of design capacity within rural communities themselves will help to return control of the agricultural development process to the people whom it most affects and who are in the best position to judge what is appropriate. The indicator of success is that people buy what they have helped to develop, demonstrating their conviction that the investment is cost-effective The FIT approach of encouraging dialogue between users and makers is very promising, but the quality and nature of the manufacturing resource will prove to be a crucial factor in making this approach work. My other concern is that experiment requires "industrial leisure", time which you can afford to use in a way which may not be directly productive. The economic and domestic situation of women precludes industrial leisure, so participation in the process of innovation must be on a continuing, informal basis. Only the better-off and the idle can participate in un-subsidised concentrated experiments

It is all very well to speak of hoes, but does this approach contribute anything to raising the level of agricultural technology? If draught animal power (DAP) implements, for example, are designed by northern-oriented engineers to be built using electric arc-welders in an urban centre, then it is difficult for blacksmiths to contribute and their marginalisation will be accelerated If, on the other hand the comparative advantages of forged fittings over welded ones are recognised and the implements are designed to incorporate forged components wherever possible, then blacksmiths are integrated into the production process and the subsequent repair of the implements and the supply of spare pans is simplified In the mid-1980s Project Nkata, an Oxfam-funded DAP project in Masuika. Zaire, assembled carts in a rural workshop using forged parts supplied by traditional blacksmiths in their own workshops, after they had received some training

How does gender come into this? Attractive, modern and therefore prestigious technologies are frequently taken over by men This kind of technology is normally comparatively expensive in cash terms, but has correspondingly large cash generation possibilities, as Juliana Rwelamira explains in her paper Thus men's better access to credit reinforces their position, as does their dominant ownership of cash-generation resources They can buy in to more expensive technologies more easily

The incremental development of tools and implements within the community, with encouragement and information from external sources, will improve the access of the poorest people to the means to improve their situation. Their participation in the technological process will increase their influence over it, and therefore the benefit which they gain from it

This evolution requires cultural changes. The educated agricultural engineer must recognise that this involves providing support, rather than directing or imposing, and through recognition, the tool-users, particularly women, and the blacksmiths have to develop the self-respect and assertiveness to recognise and implement their own expertise.

One woman in Zambia stated it very simply "If I had a lighter hoe. I could plough more land"


1 Chambers Robert. "Rural Development: Putting the last first", Longman Scientific and Technical, 1983

2 Cromwell & Harnes "Production, Repair and Use of Metal Goods in Zimbabwe", Intermediate Technology. 1989

Harries and Heer Basic Blacksmithing: an introduction to tool-making" Intermediate Technology Publications. 1993

Harries. David "The Blacksmithing Instructors Guide" Intermediate Technology Publications. 1993

3 Mothander Kjaerby & Havnevik "Farm Implements for Small-scale farmers in Tanzania'. Scandinavian Institute of African Studies' Uppsala. 1989

4 Muller, lens "Liquidation or Consolidation of Indigenous Technology", Aalborg University Press. 1980 Poston. David "The Blacksmith and the Farmer: rural manufacturing in sub- Saharan Africa, Intermediate Technology Publications. 1994

Poston, David "Under the Mango Tree training for small-scale production of tools and implements in Africa". Agricultural Engineering Service. Food and Agriculture Organisation. 1996

Involving women in the market-driven promotion of agricultural technology

Saskia Everts

TOOL Consult

The Netherlands

This paper explores ways Jo catalyse market-driven dynamics of technology development, and explores possibilities of making women central actors in such dynamics.

Market Forces as Ally

Development efforts still appear to have more success with developing new technical variations of agricultural and food processing tools, than in securing a widespread use of such tools. There is a gap between the innovative capacity of development organisations, and their capacity to disseminate the innovations. Overall, the potential advantages of improved technologies are reaching women "too little, too late''.

The point is not so much that there should be more successful dissemination projects, but that there lacks an emergence of a dynamic of dissemination that takes over the effort of development organisations. When such self-propelling dynamics do not develop, intensive inputs from development organisations, donors and/ or governments remain necessary for indefinite periods of time. This is problematic because the inputs of some of these actors are unstable and therefore the sustainability of the technology development and dissemination process will be low. Also, development organisations are not always in the best position to achieve technology development and dissemination. Even when they are, experience has shown that effective projects are extremely demanding of the scarce resources of development organisations such as time, skills and funds. Therefore, the scale on which effects can be generated through development organisations whether international organisations and bilateral donors, national governments or NGOs - necessarily remains limited

The ILO-TOOL program 'FIT' which promotes farming and food processing technologies ( FIT' stands for Farm Implements and Tools'), is experimenting with approaches that make use of and promote such independent dynamics, in particular the dynamics of the 'market'. The challenge is to make market forces take over, in a sustainable manner, some of the work which is now being done by small groups of trained development workers, as market forces can be a most useful ally complementary to more conventional strategies for technology development. The ally may not have the exact same program, but it may be going the same way, and if we can hop on that train, slightly redirect some of the actors, and jump off in time, we may be able to get much faster where we want to get. The point is that development organisations can seldomly be so broadly effective and cheap as such decentralised mechanisms that enrol the capacities of hundreds of individual entrepreneurs and customers.

Looking at Gender

But while this way of promoting agricultural tools is being further developed and gaining in popularity, we should consider from the beginning how such an approach will work out for women. How do gender relations play into market forces and how might gender relations be influenced by programs that intend to catalyse and use market forces? And, importantly, how can market driven approaches be used to strengthen women and make gender relations more egalitarian?

In fact, development workers are asked to take gender into account while pursuing this approach. As a digression' I present a box which gives four possible answers to the question why one should include gender issues.

This paper will now discuss two examples of market-on-form activities and their possibilities to help women, in particular food processors. The first is: approaching women as customers rather than beneficiaries and bringing them in direct contact with commercial providers. The second is: making use of the resources of larger industries. Even though these are relatively newly developed initiatives - or rather: because they are new and still in the process of being developed - this is the moment to start thinking of the gender issues involved

Reasons for taking gender into account when planning an intervention

Not everyone subscribes to the same reasons or objectives for taking gender into account in development work, I distinguish four possible objectives. They are listed in the order of an increasing commitment to improving gender relations.

    1. The first reason is purely instrumental: planners can take gender into account just like any other relevant 'background v variable', because if they do, an intervention will almost always be more successful.

    2. The second reason for taking gender into account is to make sure that no intervention will make the situation of women worse compared to the situation before the intervention. Some donors have as a prerequisite for funding that such negative side effects are avoided.

    3. The third possible objective of taking gender into account is to assure that no intervention makes the situation of women worse relative to the situation of men. That means that when men benefit from any intervention, women should benefit equally, so that they will not fall (further) behind.

    4. The fourth objective can be to assure that an' project tries to improve the situation of women, in other words to make gender relations more egalitarian.

Even if one only subscribes to the first two objectives (and few people will deny the reasonableness of those objectives), much work on integrating gender still remains to be done. My supposition is that in this workshop, many participants are also committed to the third objective, and many also to the fourth.

Seeing Beneficiaries as Customers: "User-Led Innovation Meetings"

In 1994, FlT arranged a meeting in Embu, Kenya, between a group of 10 metal workers who specialise in the production of farming tools, and a group of farmers. Five of the 16 farmers were women In a lively discussion, the two groups discussed the advantages and disadvantages of new types of agricultural equipment that the farmers had tried out Improvements in the designs were suggested. The metal workers afterwards described the day as an 'eye-opener' which enabled them to learn much about what the farmers would like to buy from them; they observed that they had not taken the problems of farmers seriously before. After receiving some help in acquiring the raw materials for prototypes, the metal workers started to sketch out some designs which they felt had potential. Ten new or adapted pieces of equipment were developed. One month later, an Open Day was organised in which the metal workers showed and demonstrated the new models to farmers. A panel of 8 farmers, four men and four women, judged the tools. Taking their task very seriously, they carefully awarded scores to each prototype, clearly defining the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, the winning tool was the Mutomo Mkll plough, a plough with wooden beam based on the Mutomo Mkl, but with a moldboard blade instead of a ridger. The judgments of the panel were: 'Light to use, can be used by women and older people. Penetration is very good. Looks easy to repair. ('an be used for wet and dry ploughing and for weeding. Moldboard attachment should be altered, to make it inter-changeable with manufactured ones. 'On the other hand, the Rocky Plough' also based on the Mutomo Mk I and with a moldboard, but made from heavy metal and with a big Iron tube was judged as follows: 'Too heavy; needs a strong animal to work it Animals need to be trained to use this plough'. The metal workers continued to work on the tools and some sales were made in the months following the meetings.

Adapted from Tanburn and Van Bussel. FIT Programme. 1995

Customers buy products and by that token have a certain amount of power vis-à-vis those who want to sell their product. The rejection of a product by the customer means lack of sales and income for the provider. Therefore, enterprises that are dependent on the market have a strong incentive to provide well for the needs of and wishes of technology users. In a way (and paradoxically), their incentive to cater to such needs is actually more urgent than it is for an aid' organisation This is one important reason to make use of market-driven tool-makers, such as the informal sector metal workers.

In practice however there is often little communication between local tool providers and their customers about the needs and wishes of those customers. To promote this contact and the "user-led innovation" (ULI) that can arise from it, FIT has been organising meetings between small entrepreneurs in the agro-metal sector and farmers in Kenya, also called "Participatory Development" (PTD) meetings.

From a gender perspective however there are some extra questions we need to ask. The market forces approach is not gender-neutral. In other words: it is certainly not obvious that women can benefit as much from this approach as men can. Women users of food-processing devices and farming equipment are in a different position than men are, and therefore the workings of the market will be somewhat different for them. This should pose a matter of concern to development workers. If women benefit less than men, this new approach will prolong the uneven distribution of the benefits of development between men and women. While, for example, male farmers will see their tools improve, women farmers may not, which leads to a (relative) deterioration of the position of women. Development workers are at least responsible for trying to avoid such an effect. Possible, they may also feel responsible for strengthening the position of women. In either case, an approach like this one must from the onset consider gender aspects.

This paper will look at two factors that are influenced by gender and that may limit the positive effects of user-led innovation for women. The first is the question of the access of women to user-led innovation meetings such as the meeting described in the example above. The second point to be discussed is women's 'consumer power '.

Access of women to meetings for user-led innovation

In 1995, FIT arranged a meeting in Kisumu, Kenya, between a group of metal workers with a particular interest in the development of farm-implements and tools, and a group of 22 farmers. Although many women farmers were invited specifically, in many case the husbands came instead. Only five of the farmers who arrived were women. The men wanted to be involved in this officially arranged and possibly lucrative activity. Following this meeting, the metal-workers again were keen to design and build equipment which corresponds to the needs expressed by the farmers. Two were so inspired by what they had hear from the farmers that they started to build prototypes without any external financial assistance. Thus, as intended the metal workers were preparing to cater to the needs of the farmers. However, it is questionable whether the needs of women farmers were adequately represented

Adapted from Tanburn. FIT Programme. 1995

User-led innovation meetings should be carefully designed so as to involve women users of equipment. It is clear from the case described above, that simply explicitly inviting women may often not be enough. I will give a few options that could be tried and are being tried now. More experiments and experiences are needed to actually find the best methods for a particular contexts. In the mean time. I hope and expect that the participants of this workshop can already judge the value of the different suggestions for their own contexts, and suggest improvements as well as additional approaches.

First of all, the design of a user-led innovation meeting should take into account all the general provisions that are necessary to enable women to participate in any meeting. 'Gender-sensitive' thinking should go into the choice of time, place and occasion of the meeting, as well as into all other characteristics of the meeting such as costs involved for the participants, its attractiveness for children, and the way of announcing the meeting.

Gender sensitive thinking

The ‘gender-sensitive thinking' referred to here is no different from the gender sensitiveness or gender focus that we are talking about all along during this workshop: it means that the social differences between men and women, their roles, needs and possibilities are taken into account when planning an intervention.

Gender sensitive thinking alerts us to the gender specific roles of both men and women: while men are expected to do male tasks. have male rights and duties. women have quite another set of (often more heavy) duties and (almost always less) rights. Given that women have both 'productive' and 'reproductive' duties, meetings that are to be attended by women should not be too long, not too far from the home. and not at hours that women have other duties such as cooking meals or working the fields. Because women in many countries are not free to travel at all hours, or not to all places, this should also be taken into account. For example, in most situations women must be able to get back before dark. Women's access to money for bus or taxi fares may also be more limited than that of men.

In some countries, a good occasion for a meeting that intends to attract women farmers is near the market at the end of a market day (to reach women farmers who sell their own produce) or after the start of the market (to reach women farmers who have sold produce at whole-sale to retailers).

If the meetings are made into a women's affair from the beginning, women are more likely to participate. It will therefore be usefull to centralise the meetings around equipment which is known to be a concern of women. The invitations could be done by women, come from a women's organisation or use female channels such as traditional women's savings or social groups. Also, at the meetings, any demonstrations of tools should preferably be done by women. This again reinforces the idea that women are the experts and that it is their concern.

Nonetheless, in situations where men are the ones who normally buy the tools that women use, or where men prefer to be in control of their wives dealings' it may be better to explicitly invite women and their husbands. This way the men will know what the meeting is about and not worry too much if the wives go alone the next time. In most cases, there should be a second women-only meeting. This is because women may tend to keep silent when the men are present, and the information they do give may be less complete. That means that at least two meetings must be planned.

Women's 'consumer power'

Women's 'consumer power' is related to gender patterns. Women themselves are, on the whole, poorer than men; therefore their 'buying power' is usually less. When the income of women is low, it may at first sight seem economically less interesting for producers to cater to the needs of this group. In order that market-driven technology improvements also benefit women, intermediary organisations should be very aware of Linking women to credit facilities. Fortunately, women have proven to be credit-worthy, also in banking systems that do not demand collateral.

More importantly even, women's consumer power will be influenced by their control over and access to income within the household. This degree of controls differs, depending on the prevailing gender patterns. In some ethnical or socio-economic groups for example men will buy the tools that women will use; whether women will in that case be the ones to make the final purchasing decision is questionable. On the other hand even if the husband controls the money, the wife may still exercise a substantial influence on the decision. In other cases, the resources of the men and the women of one household are strictly separated and the women will make the purchasing decisions that relate to her own tasks, using her own income for the investment. All these various scenario's mean great differences for the way user-led innovation works out for women. Thus, a basic knowledge of intra-household dynamics is indispensable when trying to promote user-led innovation in agricultural tools in a gender-sensitive way. In many cases some research would have to be done. This kind of research benefits more from a few in-depth interviews than from a great number of superficial questionnaires. The interviews should be held by women and they should talk to the women farmers separately from the men, with no family members or neighbours within hearing distance. The research should look at who controls, decides and pays what' and try to find out about the actual situation on these points as well as about the gender ideology. Ideology and practice together make up the picture of intra-household dynamics. The purpose of such research is to find the niches of financial autonomy women possess For example, through traditional credit and saving circles, as well as through new credit schemes specifically for women (groups), many women can establish a financial source which they can control and which remains separate from the resources that are considered family property. Such niches should form the entrance points for mobilising women's 'consumer power'.

While sustainability is a necessity for all development programs, activities that depend on market dynamics are automatically forced in that direction In the case of (female) users with very little buying power, user-led innovations will only work for equipment that leads to financial gains. These can be tools that support commercial production, such as (micro) enterprises in food-processing. They can also be tools for noncommercial household activities, as long as the tools are either cost saving, or labour saving while opportunities exist to use the labour in financially gainful activities. A customers with almost no leeway in ha finances must herself be able to translate the supposed advantages of a tool into financial terms: she must have a general idea of the payback time of the investment, and how this relates to the volume of her marketable production.

Thus, next to income level and control over finances, information determines the degree of consumers' power. If the quality of the products is to be improved the buyer must be critical, must know what to be critical about and must know how to judge the essential features of a tool Women generally have less access to written information, but word-of-mouth can be good medium. Therefore, and not only for efficiency reasons should the user-led innovation meetings bring together groups of customers with producers. It may even be worthwhile to first bring these female buyer groups together without (male) producers being present, so that the women can compare their experiences and strengthen their views. This shows the fourth factor in consumer power: the attitude.

Being a critical consumer

In a four day training programme for intermediate enterprises in Ghana on technology transfer for women's enterprises, one half day was spend on the issue of women as critical technology-buyers. The participants - mostly women - were asked to take one tool that they liked and one that they disliked, and to list for themselves all the reasons for their like or dislike. They then did a role play, in which a 'seller ' was trying to convince a 'buyer ' of the advantages of the tool, while the buyer was asking critical questions. The buyers were very critical indeed and did not let themselves be convinced into buying something they felt they did not need!

However: It was then discussed with the participants (who were all NGO and GO development workers involved in introducing technology to women's groups) what they would think if 'their' rural women would react in the same way to them when they came to promote their improved technologies! Would it not be the greatest development achievement if these women would say: 'well thank you for your suggestion, project officer, but I don't need this tool, as I have calculated the pay-back time of investment, taking into account the need for repairs as well as the limited possibilities to increase my sales and production, and concluded that the investment is just not justified "...

Would you as a development worker have a success story on your hands, or would you have a failed project? Understandably, this caused a lot of discussion.

Making Use of the Resources of Larger Industries

Food processors in Kenya, that is some 50.000 female entrepreneurs in tiny food processing businesses' are at present not easy to reach through NGOs or government programmes One reason for this is that, while the Government of Kenya has programs supporting the informal sector, food processing has been more or less excluded, apparently among others because of a notion that food processing is not actually a productive activity. FIT has explored the opportunity of using a completely different channel, namely larger industries, and help food processors.

Coca-Cola Kenya presently provides a training program for its outlets, which include both stores and (very small) restaurants. The latter program, which reaches women food processors, is up to now based in Nairobi only. It consists of two hours of shoeing a film, made by Coca-Cola US, on marketing and customer service ('how to get the customer into my restaurant, how to make the customer buy the product on which I have the most added value, and making the restaurant an experience for the customer'). Coca-Cola wants to take this training activity out of Nairobi, and possibly into the rural area's. Probably, both form and content of the training activity need to be adjusted for application in rural areas. Coca-Cola does not yet have much experience with this, also not in other African counties. This is where a development program, such as FIT, could come in.

Coca-Cola could imagine working together with an NGO on determining content and form of the training. This would give the NGO the opportunity to include wider development goals in the training such as: hygiene, business expansion, marketing, and options in food processing, including information on improved food processing tools. The NGO could also help evaluate and record this activity, to make it more replicable. Coca-Cola in return, could provide part of the finances and infrastructure.

Adapted from S. Everts.

FIT Programme. 1995

Why would one consider this non-traditional channel?

Larger companies may provide a good channel through which to reach large groups of women for at least the following reasons. For one, many companies are already reaching down to a many people in a number of ways, with means and resources that are usually quite substantial compared to those of governments and NGO's.

East African Industries has an intensive program of marketing activities with which it reaches large numbers of women. EAI approach all women's groups that am registered by the government in order to demonstrate their products. They also give demonstrations at the markets at the end of the market day. Four demonstrators in Kenya talk to three groups a day on four days a week. Since a group may consist of 50 to 200 women, the number reached should he no less than 600 a week! Next to information about their product (which include food products such as margarine and soup flavouring cubes), they will give information on nutrition, showing the five types of food needed, etc. They also give out samples and presents.

Adapted from S. Everts. FIT Programme. 1995

Furthermore, if an intervention could be grafted on to the interests of industry, in a way that also benefits the industrial partner, then it is more likely to be sustainable than an activity that is dependent on funding from charity funds or governments.

Another interesting point is the healthy mixture of cultures that could arise from a cooperation with industry. The businesslike, cost-conscious and efficient culture that many industries have been forced to develop in order to survive in the every-day reality of economic life, might be a very good addition to the more welfare and funding oriented cultures of some NGO's And at the same time, if the more social and responsible orientation of development NGO's could find a route and embedment into this industrial culture, a more balanced mix might arise there as well.

Why would larger industries be interested in such cooperation?

The main reasons that the interviewed industries gave for their interests in cooperation on development initiatives (in this case initiatives to support food processors) include the following:

The challenge in ''tapping the industry channel'' then is to find where the interests of on the one hand development organisations and on the other hand industry (or other large companies) overlap. Development workers must seek constructions which link on to some interest of industry, and that do not require excessive extra investments. The first experiences in Kenya suggest that this may be quite possible. Of the eight multinational, large or medium scale enterprises that were contacted on this consultancy, all were interested in cooperation, only one was doubtful about possibilities, and most were quite positive.

Risks in working with larger companies

Any intervention can have unintended unfavourable effects. Development interventions that link up with industry, and therefore per definition promote the interests of the industry as well as the interests of the development target group, must assess the possible unfavourable effects of promoting the industry. The clearest case is when an industrial product is in direct competition with the business of the target group that the development organisation wants to support.

For example, UNGA is a large maize miller and in that role it is in direct competition with thousands of local 'posho' mills. Using (and thereby promoting) UNGA's maize-related channels for development is therefore not a good option. On the other hand, grain cannot economically be milled on MSE level in Kenya (Kristjanson, appendix 1, p.6), this product does therefore not pose a direct threat to the Poorer Kenyan population.

Another example is TOTAL's attempt to replace charcoal cooking by gas cooking. In Kenya, some 34.000 women are involved in charcoal trade, and any increase in TOTAL's market share will most likely be a loss in their market. In this case however, the ecological aspects should also be considered, and the best options might be to look into the possibilities of alternative income generating activities for this group of women charcoal traders.

The first rule of thumb for working with industry would therefore be to check into the direct competition that such an industry poses to MSEs.

Strengthening women as central actors through contacts between large and small enterprises

Is it possible for women to be not only passive recipients of the messages of larger industries such as is still very much the case in the example of EAI - but to be strengthened as economic actors? This depends much on the kind of information transferred. Possibly also, a more two-way pattern of communication could be achieved or a form of cooperation or partnership. There are many ideas for, and also experiences with, forms of cooperation that go beyond a one-way message administered by large industries, and actually have the potential to strengthen the small entrepreneurs or farmers reached. Most experience up to now is gained in Asia, but indications are that it could certainly be transplanted to Africa.

Nestle in Sri Lanka has organised the supply of milk from some 12.000 registers farmer in three districts. They have organised themselves into cooperatives which are responsible for the operation of collecting points donated by Nestle. Nestle further provides extensive technical and financial assistance to the farmers to ensure the regular supply of quality milk. In exchange for this assistance there is a gentlemen's agreement that the farmers will sell their milk to Nestle through the collection points.

In Botswana, Barclays Bank initiated a programme to assist SSE's and thereby in the long term gain additional customers. Local branch managers were induced to overcome their traditional reluctance to make loans to SSE's by the provision of a partial guarantee of such loans from Barclays Development fund. The managers were able to use their local knowledge to assess the viability of new projects put forwards by local entrepreneurs but were also able to be more relaxed in their stringent requirement for collateral with the partial guarantee available from the Development Fund.

Cited from Voeten, J. (ed) 1993, p.6,7

In Kenya, flour producer UNGA told FIT that it would like to undertake a campaign which includes an element of SSE support. This could be a competition, consisting of a few questions on an entry form: the winner would win a set of machines and materials with which to start their own business. Meanwhile the campaign might be so set up that it would have some benefit for all entrepreneurs joining in the competition. For example by adding on to the entry form for on the packaging material of the flour packs) some message that is interesting for those who run micro enterprises: it can be a business tip, information on existing small credit programs, a recipe for fruit-filled mandazi, tips on registration and information on taxation, or it could even be a discount on the popular book 'how to start your own business '. A series of tips, if attractively presented, could be cut out of packages and collected. UNGA was open to such suggestions: it welcomed the idea to do something back to the Kenyan people, and felt this would also strengthen UNGA's corporate image.

Adapted from S. Everts.

FIT Programme. 1995

It should never be taken for granted that an effective plan will be as effective for women as it is for men. There are many gender-related factors in the success of a plan, leading to differential distribution of positive outcomes. For a specific intervention, these differential outcomes may be predicted TOOL Consult has developed a short and efficient instrument, called the EGA (Effective Gender Analysis) with which the gender-implications of projects and programmes can be judged both beforehand and during implementation. Other gender analysis instruments are available as well (Overholt. Moser. Lingen). A gender analysis of the target group can give an explanation of why an intervention reaches significantly fewer women. It will also give ideas on how a programme could be readjusted to increase the chances of benefiting women.

The first steps to take

Although more experience needs to be gained, we can already suggest the first few steps that someone should take when seeking to 'tap the industry channel' for reaching and helping a specific target group, such as women food processors.

Summary and Conclusion

This paper intends to illustrate that market mechanisms can be employed as an ally for development workers, with the aim of achieving a greater sustainability and broader reach than development workers could probably achieve on their own. Although this approach is now gaining wider acceptance, so far almost no attention has vet been paid to the gender aspects of it. Yet it is particularly at this time, while the market-led approach is being further developed and tested, that it is essential to look into the gender issues of this approach.

Two forms of using market-driven mechanisms were discussed in this paper. The first is to approach technology users as customers rather than as beneficiaries; a concrete way of doing this is organising meetings between users and producers of tools in order to stimulate a user-led development and dissemination of improved technologies. The gender aspects of such meetings were addressed. The more fundamental question of women's consumer power' leads to the need for insight into intra-household dynamics, in order to discover the niches of women's autonomy. These niches form the entrance points for mobilising women's consumer power .

The second form of using market-driven mechanisms was addressed in a more general way: the paper discussed the possibility of using the resources of larger companies in achieving development objectives. While some risks are involved, the opportunities seem worthwhile enough and should be added to the list of other ways to help men and women in farming and in food processing However, again it is not evident that such interventions will reach women as much as men. This can and should be monitored. Gender analysis instruments are available that can suggest the reasons and possible remedies for an uneven distribution of positive and negative effects


Everts. Saskia (1995) Tapping the Industry Channel, Opportunities for FIT for assisting women food processors in Kenya, TOOL Consult, Amsterdam

Gemini (1994) Micro- and Small-scale Enterprises in Kenya: Results of the /993 Baseline Survey, Bethesda. Maryland USA

Kristjanson. P.. C. Wangia &: J. Kashangaki (1995) Agribusiness Subsector Study Final report, USAID/ Kenya Private sector Office/ Mwaniki Associates

Tanburn. Jim (1995) Report on FIT Implementation Mission #6 to Kenya, 26 March to 8. April 1995, FIT. ILO. Geneva

Tanburn. Jim & Peter van Bussel (1995) The potential for Development of Improved Agricultural Equipment by Jua Kali Metal Workers: a case study in Embu, Kenya, FIT. ILO. Geneva

Voeten. Jaap (ed.) (1993) Report of Symposium 'Beyond Sub-Contracting, Assessing Linkages between Large and Small Enterprises as Small Scale Enterprise Development Mechanisms, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Amsterdam

Gender and ergonomics in agricultural engineering

Irvine Chatizwa

Institute of Agricultural Engineering

Department of Aqritex


Human power is one of the major power sources in the Southern and Eastern Africa for agricultural operations, vet very little has been done to improve the working methods and hand tool designs. These aspects are related to productivity and the health of the worker Limited availability of funds by farmers (mostly women) to procure new and appropriately designed hand tools has since aggravated the situation. Ergonomics interventions can assist by evaluating the available tools ergonomically modify them to suit the users. This as a result will increase productivity, health and well being of the users.

Ergonomics in Agricultural Engineering as applied in the Southern and Eastern Africa is relatively a new area of study. In developed countries, ergonomics focuses mainly on large equipment user comfort where as in this region the focus is on use of simple hand tools.

The paper gives an overview of considerations that need to be taken into account before an ergonomic evaluation is carried out. Some results on use of different weeders at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Harare are highlighted. Fundamental scientific facts together with some basic principle are outlined to enable undertaking of elementary but valid appraisals of simple equipment. Once ergonomics approach has been adopted within the design process and testing philosophies, the expected user groups will be able to use the resulting equipment more productively and safely.


Ergonomics is the Science of work (FAO, 1994). E. Grandjean (1990) describes ergonomics as

Fitting the task to man. In some cases it has been described as merely 'common sense', but this is an individual's opinion based on personal experiences. It involves the application of anatomical, physiological and psychological knowledge and methodologies that can enable evaluation and optimisation of work performance human health, safety and comfort.

Ergonomics involves the application of objective data obtained from the user group using a certain piece of equipment. This will assist in improving or modifying the design of the equipment for the benefit of the user group. The ergonomics approach encourages evaluation of designs with reference to their compatibility with user groups. This avoids pitfalls of common sense solutions being seen as the only solutions with their suitability remaining untested.

The multi-disciplinary approach which involves physiological, engineering design and information technology encourages full consideration of people and their needs for living and working. It is equally placed to integrate concepts from the social sciences with technological development to humanise technology and this improve the quality of life. Ergonomics takes account of capabilities of people at work and in home thereby optimising performance. With its wide scope covering areas of design and use of simple tools, through protection of user friendly technology, the application of ergonomics is highly relevant to the Agricultural sector.

Variations in human beings

While human beings operate as power sources and controllers of equipment, they vary in size, shape, strength and senses (e.g. vision, hearing etc.). All these characteristics change during life time and may depart significantly from the norms of a given age as a result of disease or malnutrition. It is worth noting that a user population is not necessarily the same as the associated general population (e.g. women might not drive tractors).

Body size and shape

The human body requires many dimensions to describe it approximately This science of dimensioning the human body is called anthropometry. Key dimensions are shown in Figure 1.1 and Table 1.1 provide associate measurements for German adult males and females with also key hand dimensions It is of prime importance that a detailed anthropometric data of the user groups has been made before the appraisal. In order that such decisions are optimised, the following information is required:

i) The anthropometric characteristics of user population,

ii) The ways in which these characteristics are likely to impose constraints upon the user,

iii) The criteria which define an effective mach between product and the user.

It is common knowledge that we do not expect adults and children to use same sized writing desks in schools and offices, although at home they seem to cope with same dining table. Typist use adjustable chairs and desks with fixed heights. The problem however arises in choosing the best compromise dimension for equipment to be employed by a range of users. Adjustibility is essential.

Figure 1.1: Indicotion of measurements (in cm' listed in Table 1.1 (after Kroemer, 1984 cited by Grandjean. 1990)

Figure 1.2: Indication of measurements listed in Table 1.2 (after Jurgens, 1973 cited by Grondjean, 1980)

Table 1.1: Measurements indicated in Figure 1.1

Measurement No.

Body Part

Man Mean

Woman Mean


standing height




eye level standing




eye level, above seat




elbow height, standing




forward reach




elbow to fingertip




sole of foot to knee




back to hollow of knee



Table 1.2: Measurements indicated in Figure 1 2

Measurement No.

Hand Part

Man Mean

Woman Mean


circumference of hand




breadth of hand




circumference (wrist)




maximum grasp (circum)



Body strength

This is the potential of the body to perform mechanical task. This is done by movement of

limbs due to muscle tensioning. In addition to use of posture. body weight can be used to overcome external forces.

The strength that can be developed by an individual is dependent on:

Human strength information can also be selectively collected by information on subjects data obtained from the user group. This however does not appear to be scientifically objective.

Women's Role in Agricultural Development

Every country's development is focused mainly on the uplifting of the rural small-holder farming sector Most people in this group are women who labour day and night to sustain the family's food supply and provide extra income to the households. An estimate of 66.2 million women in 114 developing countries are heads of households and are primary and often sole supporters for 333 million other family members (Rahman. 1993). Rahman also noted that the poorer the household is, the more likely it is that women engage in agricultural task.

Ergonomics can be applied to various tasks in order to benefit women who endure extremely difficult working conditions, strenuous work and long working hours. Some of the benefits include:

Ergonomic solutions to problems can ensure sustainable development because they are:

The majority of women in developing countries fall within the small scale subsistence sector fanning and produce more than 80 per cent of the food for the Sub-Saharan Africa. 50-60 per cent of Asia's food. 46 per cent of the Caribbean food. 31 percent of N. America and Middle East - Dankel and Davidson. 1988 (cited by Rogan. 1992) Female farmers are the busiest people in the world (FAO, 1993), in addition they find time to grow half of the world's food requirements.

The multi-disciplinary ergonomics approach looks at constraints and risks within which the resource poor farmers operate. It then attempts to reduce undesirable effects of inappropriately designed, imported equipment separately.

There are traditional assumptions which have been made that agricultural development projects aimed at men will somehow automatically benefit women (Rahman, 1993) This assumption has very little ground to be considered correct, as women exhibit different physical characteristics, and are subject to socio-cultural pressures. The different needs and abilities of female and male agricultural workers should be considered.

Ergonomic Considerations in Developing Countries

Most of the ergonomic research in developing countries is carried out in the industrial sector focusing on problems of lifting and carrying of heavy loads, working postures, work places and hazardous working environments.

Very little work has been done in the agricultural sector where the majority of the workers are women. This sector has the potential to improve and to sustain the quality of life by increasing productivity and as well as health and well being.

In general the female and male farmers look for things that:

The above can only be achieved through appropriate technology transfer from the developed countries. Ergonomics must be applied to evaluate the appropriateness of these technologies in terms of physiological, psychological and social characteristics of the use group. The 'people' factor considerations must be given all the time.

Tools must be designed with a focus on the reduction of manual work load reduced energy expenditure, improved working postures, more efficient material, tool handling and safety.

In the developing countries, the demand for food is increasing with the increase in population. Therefore farms and farming systems have to be adapted to meet these changes and demand for food. Ergonomic improvement in the working systems can be shown to be the economically cost effective both in terms of performance, improvements and indirectly in terms of decreased operating costs.

Women in developing countries are the main head transporters of commodities such as water, firewood, agricultural produce and babies on their backs for long distances According to Jaffray. J. (1994) cited by Rainbird et all (1993) over 20 hours a week can be spent on trips for collecting water, firewood, laundry, livestock tending and marketing. This can have serious consequences on women's relative efficiency and physique For example, backache, chest pains and miscarriages The analysis of women transport strategies can be carried out and simple solutions sought.

Results on Energy Demand for Four Different Types of Hand Weeders tested at IAE at Domboshava Farm

During the trials both objective and subjective data were collected The objective data related to the project physiological response throughout the trials It is recorded by a heart logger. The subjective data relates to the subjects feelings and perception of the work throughout the work period. This is obtained by asking questions associated with the overall Body Discomfort (OBD) at the start of each trial and Body Part Discomfort (BPD) (Figure 4.1) every 20 minutes during the trial.

From the results it is clear that further development on the weeders should focus on the Garden how as it is relatively light to use. The other implements were heavy to use compared to the badza which was used as control in this case. Workrates may also be considered so that the most appropriate implement is selected.

The subjective application of Ovako Working and Posture Analysis Evaluation (OWAS) Figure 4.3 showed that the use of badza and side grip would be associated with back problems appeared to be true.

Figure 4.1: Body map for evaluating BPD used at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Harare

In terms of heart response

1) Light work

up to 90 beats/min

2) Moderate work

90-110 beats/min

3) Heavy work

110-130 beats/min

1) Very heavy work

130-150 beats/min

5) Extremely heavy work

150-170 beats/min

In terms of oxygen uptake

1) Light work

up to 0.51/min.

2) Moderate work


3) Heavy work


4) Very heavy work


5) Extremely heavy work

over 2.0/min.

The four types of weeders were the Badza, T-bar, Garden hoe and the Side-grip. (See illustrations). Using Grandjean's table of prolonged physical work. classified as to severity of work load and cardio-vascular response below the results obtained where as shown on Figure 4.2.

Figure 4.2: Weeding Effort

Measures to reduce Biomechanical and Postural Problems in Agricultural Engineering Equipment

Most agricultural tasks are seasonal workers are therefore required to perform the same operations for extended period of time, since operations are heavily dependent on human energy. In most eases, problems associated with posture and activities that can be considered undesirable, have been attributed to use of traditional tools.

In general the workers posture is determined by the tool in use. Heavy loads should be distributed on all muscles where necessary and their movement to be rhythmical if the task is to be less tiring. (ILO. 1974)

Tool design should look into factors associated with postures. With so many constraints, the design of tools can be manipulated to achieve optimal working posture in terms of health, comfort and productivity. Hand hoes and other weeding tools are known for high prevalence of back ache among users.

Extended periods of hard work in awkward postures have been associated with musculo-skeletal disorders The diagnosis on specific disorders is difficult, but the identification of the problem area should be simple The major causes for concern could be the excessive spinal loading and repetitive motion disorders involving the upper limbs,

Limitations of Evidence in the Available Literature

Despite the indications of potential problems there is little evidence of investigations into the relationship between agricultural tasks and biomechanical disorders. Researchers in general seem to have either ignored the issue or accepted as a fact that agricultural workers cannot avoid suffering from such problems and have not attempted to analyse them. (Rainbird et al. 1993)

Nwuba and Kaul 1986 (cited by Rainbird. 1993) examined Nigerian farmers using short handled hoes in a bending posture. They reported that the farmers can be seen to be suffering as they often rise and stretch their backs. They also reported that the strains developed in the lower back are injurious to health, but no evidence to support the claim was available.

Nag et al. 1988 analysing the effect of sickle design for manual harvesting, claims that the workers adopt awkward postures which lead to clinical complications ranging from the back to the joints of limbs Again no evidence to support the claim was available.

Several papers written by Abeysekera (1979) and Choudhry (1989) associated with bock pains and repetitive motion disorders gave no references to substantiate their statements.

It is important that a large scale study is undertaken to investigate biomechanical disorders in agriculture workers, establish causative factors and come up with solutions to minimise their cause. For instance, water carrying either on the head hip, back or shoulder has posture and biomechanical disorders associated with it Solutions must be sort to alleviate these problems These may require new methods of transporting water.

Concluding Remarks

Women play an vital role in Agriculture, it is quite clear that though they are often referred to as the busiest people in rural small-holder agricultural sector, their role is very marginalised end so is the research to:

Ergonomics aim at more than just preventive approach, it focuses at creating optimum work situations and conditions. The constructive dimensions of any machine in general, should be closely related to the physical dimensions of the worker, particularly the operating side.


Chatizwa 1. Rainbird G. (1994) Ergonomic Evaluation of Manual Weeders. Silsoe Research Institute and Institute of Agricultural Engineering (1994) unpublished report IAE/116/4

O'Neill D. Rainbird G. (1994) Work-Related Diseases in Tropical Agriculture. Silsoe Research Institute Report

Figure 4.3: OWAS Evaluation Chart


Abeysekera JDA. 'Some ergonomics problems among (coconut) toddy tappers in Sri Lanka' In ergonomics in Tropical Agriculture and Forestry Proceedings of the Fifth Joint Ergonomic Symposium organised by the Ergonomic Commission of IAAMRH. CIGR and IUFRO. Waageningen, the Netherlands. (May. 1979)

Choudlhry AW. 1989 'Ocupational Health in Agriculture'. Eastern African Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety No 3 pp. 16-19

FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) 'Agricultural Extension and Farm Women in the 1980'. FAO. Rome. 1993

FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) 'Testing and Evaluation of Agricultural Machinery - Principles and Practices' (Vol. 110) FAO Rome 1994

Grandjean. E.. 'Fitting the task to man - An Ergonomic Approach' (1980). Francis and Tylor Ltd.. London

ILO (International Labour Organisation) 'Guide to Health and Hygiene in Agricultural Work'. Printed by Egyeteini Nyomda. Budapest (1979)

Karhu O; Kansi. P and Kuorinka I. 'Correcting Working postures in Industry - a Practical method for Analysis'. Applied Ergonomics Vol. 8.4. page 199-201 (1977)

Nag P.K., Goswami, A., Ashtekar, S.P and Pradhan, C.K.. . 1988, 'Ergonomics in sickle operation'. Applied Ergonomics. Vol. 19. No. 3, pp. 233-239

Nwuba EIU and Kaul RN.. 1986. 'The effect of working posture on the Nigerian Hoe Farmer'. Agricultural Engineering Research Vol.33, pp. 179-1X5

Rahman. F.H.. 'Not a burden but a force'. International Agricultural Development (Jan/Fete. 1993, pp 11-12)

Rodhal. K.. The Physiology of Work'. (1998). Taylor and Francis Ltd. London UK

Rogan. A. Ergonomic Constraints on Crop Production in the Tropics', Robens Institute of Health and Safety and Silsoe Research Institute (1992). SRI Overseas Division Report OD/92/4

Making gender an institutional responsibility: the work of the intermediate technology development group

Megan Lloyd-Laney

Intermediate Technology Zimbabwe


The Intermediate Technology Development Group (IT) is an international non-governmental organisation with offices in Bangladesh. Sri Lanka. Peru. Sudan. Kenya. Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom Its mission is to enable resource-poor people in developing countries to develop and use technologies and methods which give them more control over their lives, and which contribute to the long-term development of their communities.

IT's Zimbabwe office has a number of programmes which it carries out in collaboration with producer groups, entrepreneurs, rural communities, and training institutions, to encourage the innovation, modification and uptake of technologies which increase productivity, and improve the quality of people's lives The office has been in existence since 1 9X9 The programmes are as follows:

IT recognises that women's access to, and control over technologies are particularly limited To redress this imbalance, the organisation seeks to:

For the organisation gender is an institutional issue It has developed a Gender Policy and Strategy, which all projects undertaken in its seven countries of operation, must comply with In addition, all projects must address the question of how they impact upon the separate needs of men and women, as one criteria for approval without which the project cannot secure external funding

But despite these rigorous conditions which we have introduced to control the impact of our interventions on both men and women, we cannot be absolutely sure that all projects are not only not further marginalising women, for example, but aren't doing all they could to improve the conditions of women within a community

So how, as an organisation do we enshrine gender awareness in projects, and in the people who carry out these projects?

There are three projects currently being carried out, either internationally across more than one office, or from the Zimbabwe office Each one of them addresses the aspect of gender in different ways, and illustrates the ways in which the organisation seeks to tackle this issue

Do It Herself

The 'Do It Herself' research project was conceived in 1991, to try to understand something of the factors that influence and shape the process of technical change, and the role of women as both users and innovators of technology. The project followed on from an earlier study entitled 'Tinker. Tiller, Technical Change' which studied community-based technical innovation, and which concluded that the perspectives, contributions and skills of women in this process are little understood

During the course of the project. 22 case studies of technical innovation were gathered from 17 different countries. They spanned subjects as diverse as coir processing in Sri Lanka; land reclamation in Bangladesh; shea butter production in Ghana; women potters in Guatemala and health technologies in the Dominican Republic

Research was carried out by researchers drawn from NGOs universities and women's networks who had strong links with women technology-users The research was conducted participatively in each region, with technology-users being involved in the identification of innovation and adaptation for presentation at the regional workshops.

The project drew a number of conclusions which threw light on the role of women in technology use and adaptation The main findings were as follows:

The Agriculture Programme

The Agriculture Programme has been working with the community of Chivi's Ward 21, with the following objectives:

As a result of the facilitation of ITZ, along with other government, and non-government agents working in the district, farmers have adopted adapted and tried a number of water harvesting techniques, which include clay pipes for gar- dens: tied ridges; infiltration pits; soil conser- vation techniques; pest management techniques. Additional indicators of success include women boasting of gaining more confidence as both leaders and participants of the project; increased yields through farmer experimentation of different seed varieties shared through anneal Seed

Fairs; and extension agents and researchers' work becoming more relevant to needs of farmers because it is driven by farmers

Specific achievements include the following:

The key approaches of the project include:

The Appropriate Communications Project

Nearly one billion people in developing countries, more than one third of the adult population, are illiterate. Rural communities are often remote and difficult to reach: they lack the infrastructure and communication systems - such as newspapers, radios, televisions and telephones, as well as meeting rooms, offices and schools - that help townsfolk keep abreast of developments and function effectively as informed participants.

For IT to realise its mission - to provide technology options which might be taken up and contribute to long-term development - it needs to understand how people access and share knowledge and information about technology options. It then needs to use this understanding to communicate effectively with a range of audiences. The organisation's challenge therefore is to increase the quantity and accessibility of information, to ensure its exchange in appropriate ways, and to elicit more information from the communities themselves in order to guide development planning.

While communication of what we learn through projects is well established IT has less experience of incorporating communications into the projects themselves: what is sometimes called communications for development'. Communications for Development assists development programmes and projects to share knowledge more effectively: to increase people's participation: and to improve training. It brings about better planned, managed and co-ordinated projects because people (the so-called beneficiaries of the project) are involved in a participatory way. Plus, it uses locally-available media and personnel, and puts the choice of these media and the messages conveyed through them, in the hands of local people. This gives the messages more credibility and increases its potential for swift absorption and action by the audience.

The Appropriate Communications project aims to experiment with and incorporate into all projects, those communications techniques which effectively amplify the voices of the communities with whom we work. The project learns from other projects undertaken by IT such as DIH, which concludes that women share technical information with others, and among themselves, in unconventional ways and uses this information to influence the techniques which are used within project work.

Communication activities can help people, even those from different social groups within a community, to share information and exchange ideas in a positive and productive fashion. This dialogue can be enriched by understanding how development issues affect them, discovering what others think in other communities, and seeing what other communities have achieved. These are effective methods to help people to reach a consensus and find common grounds for action, based on their own needs and capabilities. Done properly, it can bring about more sustainable development because the people themselves have more say in the design of the development process.

IT hosted a workshop in Harare in March 1995, which brought together development practitioners and communications specialists in an attempt to explore the potential for incorporating different and unconventional media into grassroots projects Four case studies were presented which investigated the use of radio drama; community publishing: listening techniques and drama The advantages of drama, for example, were presented as follows:

The project has learned the following about the ways in which women specifically learn, and share information:

Gender and technology development - Zhombe field experiences

Sifiso Chikandi and Nokwazi Moyo

University of Zimbabwe


Gender has been defined by many authors to be synonymous with sex, that is men-women, or male-female distinctions. The perception of gender as being equivalent to sex has been demonstrated in the writings of many authors where the word gender has replaced the word sex or specific references to men and women. Thus many newcomers and indeed some veterans in gender desegregated analysis have considered distinguishing and dealing with issues pertaining to men and women separately as being sufficient address of gender issues. While such an approach has exposed the authors to gender-specific roles of men and women, these roles have been portrayed as sex determined roles and it has tended to give these roles a permanence that is false. This false permanency has not enabled those receiving their early lessons from such writings to fully grasp the dynamic, time and situation-specific nature of gender roles. This paper draws on research experiences from Zhombe communal area in the Kwekwe d strict to illustrate the dynamic and situation specific nature of gender roles and point out some of the implications of this dynamic nature for technology development. These experiences emerge from a baseline research project that did not set out specifically to investigate gender or gender roles but rather emanate from the very real significance of gender and gender roles in everyday life. Thus, the paper does not seek to undertake rigorous analysis of gender roles in rural areas. As a working definition for the research, technology has been defined to embody both the hardware and knowledge systems.

The Research Setting

The district in which the research was conducted was selected by the national agricultural extension agency, AGRITEX. In the selected district, the district office of AGRITEX was requested to select a communal area in which the research would be conducted Subsequently, a meeting was held between the AGRITEX district office and field staff, representatives of farmer groups in Zhombe, ward councilors and the researchers. At this meeting the objectives of the research were outlined and criteria for selecting a ward and a village in that ward for the research were set. No references to gender or gender roles were made at any stage as these were not part of the specific objectives of the research. The group agreed on a random selection process and thus, Takawira Village in Tongogara Ward was selected.

The researchers proceeded to make arrangements to camp in the selected village and utilise participatory rural appraisal techniques in conducting the research. Key-informants were also identified and interviewed. A village meeting was held in the village to explain the objectives of the research to the villagers. In the weeks that followed, separate meetings were held with men, women and the youth. After these meetings a village meeting that brought together the various groups was held to discuss the outcomes of the different meetings, key-informant interviews and field observations and set to village priorities. The approach selected ensured wider participation and enabled different groups to engage in free-flowing discussions about their community' its problems and potential solutions as well as assisting the villagers to adopt a holistic view of the problems and the suggested solutions.

General Observations About the Village

AGRITEX provided what was supposed to be a list of households in the village. A striking feature of this list was the number of female headed households. The researchers experiences in many parts of Zimbabwe had been that women are listed as household heads only in those cases where they are widows, or otherwise single. In those cases where a husband is away at work he would still be listed as the head of the household. Hence, it is a common practice among researchers in patrilineal societies to take the number of names of women (where these can be distinguished) provided on village lists as indicative of the number of 'female-headed' households and use this information in a variety of ways. Researchers thus implicitly assign or adopt criteria under which women can be heads of households and this assignment shapes the researchers' treatment of research subjects and outcomes. The problems arising from such a treatment did not emerge until a wealth-ranking exercise was being conducted. It was only at this stage that it emerged that most of the women listed as household heads in this case were wives of men who were away at work in urban areas. It was later learned that the practice of using women's names to identify households had been encouraged by the requirement that the identity card of the person listed has to be produced when receiving inputs and/or grain under the grain loan or drought relief programmes. Using the name of a husband who is away would mean that the particular household would be unable to receive the inputs if the identity card was unavailable at distribution time, and yet, it is also a legal requirement that national registration cards be carried at all times, thus husbands cannot leave their identity cards at their rural homes.

The acceptance of the registration of women for government aid es representatives of households is significant in that it represents a major shift in attitudes. The practice appears to have opened up opportunities for single mothers to register for aid whereas in the past the issue of their eligibility was very much a subjective matter. The practice while evidently positive has however resulted in multiple registrations within families. The multiple registrations arise from the suddenness of the change such that the bureaucrats charged with the distribution of aid cannot link particular women to specific households, thus, in some families (particularly those in which the man is unemployed and resident in the rural home) both husband and wife may be registered since in many instances wives identity cards reflect their maiden names.

Where are the Youth?

Conspicuous by their absence in the area were young men and women. The area appears to be populated mostly by the elderly. Post-secondary education youth and adults constitute a small proportion of the village's population. The non-availability of young people was explained as resulting from urban drift.

The youth who were available for the meetings also voiced their desire to seek either formal or informal employment outside the area. When asked about the wage level they would seek in any form of employment that they engaged in, the female respondents in the youth group mentioned greater sums of money than did the male respondents. However, when the idea of introducing a project in the area was suggested, the majority of the youth indicated that they would be willing to participate in it and remain in the area if they received payments equivalent to Z$150 per month. No differences in the minimum acceptable amount were observed between the young men and women. The absence of young people has implications for the community as a whole. The most obvious immediate implication is that the people who are engaged in agricultural production are mostly aged. While there are activities that have 'traditionally' been performed by men and women, it was found that there was widespread overlap within the community such that very few activities could be labelled as a male preserve. In the activities performed by women, it was possible to identify activities that could be termed female preserves. It appears that the need for income earning in urban areas (predominantly by men) has resulted in women performing "men's" activities while the presence of women in the rural homes has kept the men who live in the rural areas from performing the "female" activities. There, however, exist roles which have been socially defined as strictly female or male roles. Boxes I and 2 below present two cases from the field that serve to illustrate female and male activities. While the female activity's definition (Box 1) is not biased on a biological explanation, that of the male role is defined along biological lines. It is interesting in this case that the biological definition is not based on one sex being more capable than the other in performing the particular task but rather on biological functional differences and the design of the knapsack sprayer.

Whose role? (When?)

The researchers also observed that, while the community could identify male, female and shared activities, there were some households in which the roles were reversed, that is, the men performed 'women's" activities while the women performed "men's" activities. This practice occurred in the households were both spouses were old but the men were much older than the women. It was observed that a considerable proportion of the men who were present in the village were elderly and retired from formal employment in the urban areas. Owing to their advanced age , it was the men who led the oxen while the women held the plough or cultivator or, in those cases where the resources were available, an outsider was hired to assist with the various activities (see Box 3). While this occurrence may be treated by many as peculiar to the project site, it served a useful purpose in that it further exposed to the researchers the situation specificity of gender roles. Thus, while technology development is aimed at the "average' household in the communal area, such observations are important in that they expose the broadness of the user groups and serve to emphasise the dynamic nature of gender roles. While not all "minor" sub-groups may necessarily grow into important groups, it is important to understand the origins of the characteristics circumstances that result in such groups coming into being. Once the circumstances are understood an assessment can then be made on whether these groups are likely to expand and therefore warrant attention in technology development or not. Generally, the researchers in this particular case, were of the opinion that technology development if specific to the area would not only have to take into account the participation of women in almost all activities associated with production, but also the fact that a considerable proportion of the women were not young. In the absence of major changes that would result in more young people and men remaining in the communal areas, it is likely that women will continue to be heavily involved in those activities that men are expected to perform.

Box: 1: The Bold Line Some Gender Roles

One the major functions of the Group Meetings was identification of gender roles. There were those activities that were not: go well defined along gender lines, but there were others that were strongly defined as male or female.

During the Women's Group Meeting there were two rather conspicuous activities identified by the women; drying of vegetables (ukafusha in Ndebele and kafushwa in Shona), and visiting each others' kitchens. And during the Men's Group Meeting resting as an activity raised our eye-brows.

"Are there any men who do vegetable drying?", we asked the women indeed, as we did en all the identified activities. One lady raised: her band: to the surprise of ail other women who preferred that she be ignored "Well my husband does some drying of vegetables", braved the woman as the rest shouted her down She then explained that her husband does his own batch of dried vegetables whilst she does hers. The rest of the women appealed to us to ignore her and proceed to the next activity, "We can't be drawn to discussing her domestic problems here!" one of the women emphatically added. On further investigation we discovered that vegetable drying was strictly a female gender role and any man found doing it was considered abnormal, mow of a wimp actual!`.

During the off-peak season women informed us that they visit each others' kitchens. We were rather confused as to what the exact purpose would he. It all started to become clearer when we asked two of the Younger ladies to assist us with the distribution of lunch during the meeting. The older ladies questioned the two if they had washed their hands. They then instructed the two to go ahead and wash their hands before touching any food. Indeed everybody had to wash their hand, before eating, The level of awareness on issues of hygiene was extremely high, One of our key-informants later explained to us and, in fact, showed us her kitchen. A real show-piece! A built-in stove and shelve", two dining fables; one for adults and the other for children - the whole set punctuated with numerous features of hygiene. It ail explained these kitchen exchange visit amongst be-women -a real worthwile activity.

Men, on the other hand, have a season resting (and beer-drinking). It was brought out earl' during the Men's Group Meeting that after marketing of the agricultural produce from late August to early- October men get together for refreshment" and light-hearted discussions. Later in the discussions the men decided to down-play resting as an activity - they were afraid of us conniving with the women to abolish this apparently valued pass-time. From further investigations it became clear that the resting time coincided with the peak cash-flow period. During this period men can afford to indulge in extravagant entertainment.

Clearly some gender roles have hidden agendas, for better or for worse.

Box 2: Spraying Pesticides

We bumped onto a young family working in cotton field. The man was mixing pesticides getting ready to spray using a knapsack sprayer. Meanwhile the woman wag hand-weeding using a hoe, with a young baby tied on her back. We asked the man what health precautions he takes against the dangerous chemicals he was just about to use. The product had a purple label indicating that it was highly toxic if inhaled or on contact with skin. He cited that he was aware of the dangers but did not have enough money to buy the protective gear.

He knew the symptom of contamination which included vomiting, skin lesions, dizzinnes within a period of 24 hours. If none of these symptom" occurred within to-is period be would proceed and spray some more and, again waif for the symptoms. If they the symptoms did occur. he would drink some fresh milk to neutralise the chemical, and if it locked serious he would go the clinic.

Asked whether his wife or women in general did some spraying as welt be looked puzzled at the question and proceeded;

"But you de know that women have to bear children don't you?" looking rather disgusted at our apparent tack of sensitivity towards the plight of women, We, all the same felt compelled to ask what effect the chemicals had towards the child bearing function of women and whether the same could not be true with men. "No. no, no!" he sighed at our ignorance. "its not the chemicals that are the problem the straps, you see" he said demonstrating how the straps on the knapsack sprayer fit snugly around the shoulders. "The straps should not go over their breasts - really, the knapsack sprayer was designed for men", he added persuasively.

Needless to say, mythical as it may have been, the cotton growing family women were at least saved from this eminent danger. On a more serious note though, we fatted to reconcile the value of money if one wilt knowingly play Russian roulette with their lives in order to save money. Ma`- be the suppliers of the chemicals should he forced to ensure that protective gear for the product the' sell is available to the intended user.

The performance of "male" activities by women has some implications for researchers involved in technology development. First, there are the obvious biologically imposed differences between men and women. Secondly. there has to be recognition of the increased number of activities that women have to undertake. and thirdly, there must be recognition of the additional linkages that are introduced by there being one person who now not only has to engage in food production but the one person now has to balance these with activities around the home. Clearly, arrangement has implications for the person performing the activities and for the level of output of the farm. Such considerations require that technologies that are introduced not only be cost-effective but should also be light, easy/ less strenuous to operate and should lead to greater labour efficiency. The element of efficiency is important given the number of activities competing for attention and the age group that is performing the activities.

The researchers also discovered that in the study area not only was there this shift in roles but the tasks were made all the more difficult by the shortage of draft animals. The shortage of animals had implications in that some tasks which would normally be performed using draft animals had to be done by hand. In performing various tasks without draft it was learned that the labour availability type of statistics that are computed using the sizes of households, tend to be inaccurate in that they do not capture the non-availability of some of the labour as children of school-going age are usually unavailable to assist.

Box 3: Sweet Sixteen - Role Reversal

Where there is a wide gap between the ages of the husband and wife there is generally a role reversal, in terms of responsibilities, particularly those of the head of the household and general control of resources. It is general knowledge that men prefer to marry younger women whom they can easily impress with accumulated resources and who are initially easy to control At a later stage as they age the burden tends to fall on the wife who would be more functional both physically and mentality. The following is an example of role reversal between an aged husband and a middle-aged wife.

The man is presently aged 82 years and wife 46 years. They married at ages of 52 and 16 years, respectively. Back then the man had a good number of cattle and other livestock and was gainfully employed. He wag a trend setter at the time in the area of Zhombe.

When we visited the family recently we initially were not aware that the man of the house was around; The wife teas literally assumed the functions of the head of the household. Even the home is now referred to as Mrs So-and-so's place, some normally unheard of even after the man dies. In this case, however it seems to be naturally acceptable as the Mrs is now very active in the community. The man on the other hand cannot even perform light farming operations except tending to cattle, A lot more than power seems to have come with the added responsibilities of the wife,

During the peak cropping season, she starts weeding at around 5:00 am whilst her husband would still be sleeping (resting). Apparently, in this family they still prefer to divide the control of fields between husband and wife with the former getting the lion's share of the better lands. In fact, priority of resources is given to the husband's fields (affectionately referred to as Zhunde), and that includes the available manpower, Indeed the wife starts by weeding the zhunde, only after she comes home at 9:00 am to prepare breakfast for the husband dots she resort the rest of the morning's toil to her own fields, It is after breakfast that the husband relieves the hired herd-boy in tending to the 15 cattle. The wife and the boy can then undertake animal powered operations such as ploghing and cultivating. Fortunately the draft animals are so well trained that they can operated by one individual (the boy).

The wife has to prepare lunch in time for the school going child who returns around 1:00 pm. After lunch the school going child relieves the old-man from herding, to come hoe for lunch. Man and wife have their lunch at around 2:00 pm. We joined in the after lunch chit-chat and posed a few general questions on their farming operations to both of them, Clearly, the wife was domineering in the responses, Frequently when the man tried to answer she would gesture to him to be quiet. If he insisted, she would remind him that we were there for her not for him.

She had clearly taken over the burdens of the family and he had no choice but to accept. That was the irony of marrying a sweet-sixteen.

Thus. it was observed that labour availability in rural households is a constraint to production as its availability or otherwise at different times will affect the timeliness of different operations. It was observed that many of the households in the village possessed only one animal or less end the majority of households do not own farming implements other than ploughs and hoes. It was found that the farmers used the ploughs for cultivation in place of cultivators. Using a plough for cultivation requires repeated passes for each row. This means that scarce labour and draft are inefficiently used (Inefficiency here is used in relation to the available and commonly used technological hardware for the operation), thus resources may be utilised efficiently while using the plough for cultivation but among the technologies that the farmers are aware of and would use given the opportunity, the plough is the least efficient. More importantly, the inefficient use of labour means that a greater level of labour input is needed to maintain output at that level that would be attained with appropriate equipment. Given the competition from other activities for labour, it is likely that the inefficient use of labour and draft may actually lead to lower harvests. If indeed the harvests are lower for the level of effort then this may in turn have implications for the household in terms of nutrition and health. The subject of nutrition was raised by the women in the women's group meeting. The issue was how ever not raised in a context that was directly related to technology development or women's health but rather to express what the women viewed as a social concern (see Box 4).

Box 4: Of Housewives, Husbands and Meat-roasting

One of the most problems households are confronted with are those of poor variety in their diet, particularly on drought year. During a special meeting with women of Takawira Village: (Tongogara Ward, Zhombe) the women unanimously and strongly condemned the habit of men going meat-roasting at the nearest business centre (Growth Point).

We were, however surprised that some women believed that it was their fault that their husbands skipped home meals preferring to scrounge around and somehow managing to buy bits of meat from the Growth Point butcheries and roasting it whilst sipping some beer (clear beer if a visitor from town is buying, and opaque beer otherwise). These women believed that their husbands were tired of, "Having sadza and vegetables day, after day after day...". "Only if we could sell the vegetables and, once in a while buy meat, or probably get involved in a small livestock project in to be able slaughter a chicken or even a goat for them", they went on.

One woman cited the case of her husband who resorts to visiting his sister who is married nearby around meal times where he his treated like an important visitor and the poor brother-in-law has to make sure that there :is :meat: on the table. Another woman protested at why the women were blaming themselves: "If m`- husband does not buy the meat or even help in the garden so that we can sell the vegetables and perhaps buy meat, how can he expect to have meat on the table?", she said. Yet another woman was quick to point out that, "If you want to keep your husband at home then you have to attract him".

That same evening the research team went to the Growth Point, bought some meat and started: roasting it (just to check the facts en allegation" against men) Some men joined us at the barbecue and helped themselves to our meat, with or without our permission. A bit later when if got dark these two women came with their own meat to the barbecue and asked some space on the grill. I switched on my torch (flash-light) to move the mains of our meat aside. At a closer look, and before I could say anything, one of the ladies went, "Masverasei vakwasha". Shona for "how did you spend the afternoon sons-in-law?" And of-course that confirmed my suspicion that these two women had been amongst the women who attended the Special Women's Meeting that morning

The butcher-added the icing on the cake when informed us that these ladies were regulars and that the previous night they had cheated him. They had come into his butchery and asked him to weigh out a certain amount of meat and grabbed the package and fled without paying They, however paid the following morning,

So, who is having a good time at the Growth Point? - Men, husbands, women or wives?

Despite the shortage of labour, draft and implements, many of the households in the study area opted for extensive cultivation with low purchased-input use. The shortage of cash and the risks associated with purchased input were cited as reasons for this approach. The extensive cultivation that is opted for, clearly has implications for labour demand Perhaps, the effect is felt more by those who engage in the weeding activities (mostly women). The strenuous nature of weeding and the knowledge by the researchers about the existence of herbicides prompted questions about the villagers awareness about herbicides and the household decision making processes. While some villagers were aware of the existence of herbicides, the general consensus was that these could not be used due to lack of cash to purchase them. It emerged from discussions with individuals that herbicides were not highly placed in household expenditure priorities. In most households, decisions were said to be made through consultation between spouses. While at first sight this appears to be a good approach problems arise when the separation of decision making and the control of financial resources is taken into account. This separation becomes more important when a distinction is made between those households where both spouses are present throughout the year (and therefore share experiences and activities) and, those households where the man lives and works away from home. In the latter case there is a distinct separation of responsibilities and activities, thus, a major dose of altruism is needed in decision making, more so, given the need for the spouses to have similar views and understanding of the issues being discussed Altruism is required to balance decisions that involve choosing between a cash expenditure and adding to the workload of a spouse. The problem is compounded by the one spouse relying more on the agricultural output than the other and always being at home with the rest of the family and thereby being the first port of call on any family problems.

It is evident from the discussions above that under changing circumstances rural women have to take on many activities. While we were in Takawira village we sought to arrange for all village meetings to be held on Thursdays (chisi, a traditionally defined day on which no work is undertaken in the fields). While this appeared wise in the early stages it was later realised that this is the day on which the women hoped to be able to perform some home improvement and/ or maintenance activities. It also came to our attention that many organisations undertaking research or education campaigns, farmer groups and the school committees also chose to use this day. Thus, the community was engaged in meetings on nearly every Thursday that we were in the village, often having to move from one meeting to another. True as it may be that the community benefits from such activities, it is evident that they result in much loss of valuable work time. Such losses may render researchers' concept of available labour inaccurate as workload spillovers are certain to occur.

Despite their obviously congested schedule of activities women expressed a greater willingness to engage in conservation and land reclamation activities on commonly utilised land While the women expressed a need for advice and technical support in carrying out activities such as gully reclamation on grazing land, the men on the other hand expressed an unwillingness to engage in unpaid work. Observations at the meetings suggest that the burden of resource reclamation and conservation in those cases where there is no immediate financial remuneration may have to be borne by women.

Rural women, clearly have many complex roles to play in situations that are vastly different from the day to day lives of researchers, analysts, bureaucrats and technology developers. Generally, there is a tendency among these groups to adopt a simplistic view of rural life and assume that we completely understand it and therefore can ascribe solutions. Although the issues raised in this paper have not been treated in depth, it our hoped that the paper illustrates some of the issues that technocrats involved in technology development have to take into account and serves to encourage an open approach to rural communities.

Activities and experiences the field of gender and agricultural engineering in Kenya

Rhoda J. Morogo

Ministry of Agriculture



Kenya is located in Eastern Africa and covers an area of 225.000 miles2 (566.000 km2) with a population of 25 million according to the 1989 census. There are eight provinces and 60 districts.

Although Kenya is a tropical country, the prevailing climate ranges from warm tropical along the Indian Ocean coastline and its hinterland to cool temperate African-alpine in the central highlands (snow covered Mt. Kenya) and western regions. The North Eastern region occupies two thirds of the country and is a barren semi-desert land. Therefore. Kenya Agriculture Development is concentrated in only one third of the country .

Gender in Relation to Agricultural Production

About nine out of ten women in Kenya live in the rural areas. A rural woman in Kenya is likely to be a farmer, She is likely to be the wife of a man who is often absent from the home and a mother of several young children. She spends 13-14 hours a day working at home or in the fields. She is largely responsible for growing, storing and preparing the family's food and she is also helps to grow and market cash crops. The woman is also responsible for finding the family's fuelwood, water and for most household chores. In addition, young women care for young children and see to their health and learning. Kenya's agriculture depends considerably on small holding. Small holdings are the core of Kenya's agriculture and women are the core of small holders. Small holders produce 75 percent of Kenya's agricultural output and women provide three fourths of the labour used in small holding. 95 per cent of the women small holders work on their own/family farms. Women actually manage at least two-fifths of Kenya's small holdings and exercise substantial influence over the rest.

Given the above scenario, the central challenge to improving agricultural growth in Kenya today is to equip farmers, especially women, for higher productivity. However, for historical and practical reasons the Kenyan woman remains at a disadvantage in getting information, resources and technology that she requires to work more productively or to improve her family's welfare. On the whole, women's agricultural output is constrained by their traditional responsibilities for household chores, water, fuelwood and child care.

In the last few years. Kenya adopted economic policies and programmes aimed at overcoming barriers to the realisation of full potential by women. Kenya's efforts to improve opportunities for women have been geared towards improving women's human capital through education, health care and agricultural extension. They have focused on improving women's access to productive resources water, fuel and credit.

Case Study - Nokuru District


These women farmers organised themselves into one large group- 186 members.

The aim was to solve the problems together for the benefit of the community due to their general special needs like water, etc.. They started different projects.

The Zero-Grazing Project

Women started this project on merry-go-round method whereby their aim was to have one zero-grazing unit per one household which costs 40.000 Ksh. This means it will take many long years before each family get the unit which was to assist them generate income.

Project was initiated to the group in which it was cost sharing - whereby the farmer was to cater for 30 per cent input and the rest is given by the project.

Due to the project being labour intensive the use of implements and tools was very necessary.

Women were trained on these tools by the extension staff and engineers were invited to do the training. Motorised swatter, Donkey cart. Biogas unit. Clipper as discussed in the paper.

These implements assisted the families in order to lessen the workload on the women who are working in the farm.

Record keeping was introduced in order to keep good records in the farm to show the profit and loss. In this case men and women and some cases children were involved.

Due to illiteracy of women, they were encouraged to register themselves in adult classes in order for them to learn how to write, so that they could keep good records and read any correspondence involved in the project.

Profit - due to the project generating income to the families the men who were involved in other activities, also participated in these projects and together they also bought other implements to support the project like the tractor, wheelbarrow etc.

Participatory - of all family members used these implements and tools freely,

Decision making was also strengthened in which women could decide on the use of these implements, regardless of whether the men are there or not.

The project is sustaining up to now, even if the donor funds is finished because the farmers were involved at beginning and therefore it is their project, for them to continue to use the unit and maintain it.

Disadvantages Experienced


Other Projects


In this context where women farmers are targeted the messages should be sensitive to their special needs.

Where a project is introduced the farmers in general should be involved or participate from the start of the preparation of the projects.

The family as an institution needs to be looked upon as a unit whereby every role is focused and clearly spelt out. This will lead to everybody appreciating new activities introduced to them and also to see that it is for their benefit.

Women oil pressers - cooperatives and private entrepreneurs

Zena Mpenda

ATI T-Press



As women are traditionally responsible for processing oilseeds for household consumption and often laborious and time consuming task, a key feature of ATI-supported project was to ensure that women had access to the new technology, thereby making their household task easier and providing an income earning opportunity. The project developed and disseminated the ram press technology to Tanzania and outside Tanzania. The project focuses on the approaches used to ensure women's participation, evaluates the relative success of these efforts and derives lessons learned that are replicable and sustainable.

ATI T-Press began with the idea of assisting small scale oilseeds producers, processors and equipment manufacturers in their economic activities, from growing high quality oilseeds to marketing and use of cooking oil and seedcake. The goal being to increase productivity along the value added chain in particular the share of value captured by mall producers.

Women's Participation in the Project

Women are expert at making end meet although they are not always versed in the ways of commercial markets. The majority lack the knowledge needed to plan, adopt and expand their small projects.

The majority of rural women's project are initiated as a form of off-farm income earned to supplement their main source of income and subsistence, which is farming.

Before 1985, sunflower was used as cash crops as there were ready government market organisations Then from 1985 this market boards collapsed hence, sunflower and other oilseeds turned to be household crops, which mainly means women crops.

Then the project formed several integrated components or service areas in reaching its target group, which are practical research technical assistance and training, and networking and communication.

Practical Research

On-site technical assistance and training

Networking and communication

Private/Individual Press Owners

Women own presses either as owners themselves or more commonly as part of a family business. Women who owned their own presses and enterprises generally tended to be better endowed financially, had access to capital or other resources including education and training opportunities, that others did not.

These individually-owned presses also tended to have better production levels, fewer management problems and, in the past, better loan repayment rates.

Family operations were typically those in which the husband had purchased the press for himself of for his wife. In the latter case men tended to be the legal owners of the press and women (wives) were generally responsible for the daily press operations and sale of oil land seedcake. The disposition of the income earned from enterprise as other income is a joint decision between husbands and wives especially if it is for something which is not for daily household consumption.

However, the greatest income benefits have accrued to women who were financially better off to begin with and have at least sufficient capital not only to purchase press but also access to working capital to ensure adequate supplies of pressing seeds to maintain production levels year round and therefore, a steady stream of income.

Such women are also better able to make their businesses grow and develop as they reinvest some of their earnings back into the business. A few women had fairly large enterprises judging from the fact that they owned several presses and employed several people to operate them.

Most women, however run small operations that either just break even or yield a small profit. Lacking access to investment and working capital, land for oilseed production and the technical and business knowledge and experience to enable them to expand and develop their businesses, they are unable to generate significant earnings.


Another strategy which was used by project to promote press ownership among women was to work through groups, either pre-existing ones or those created specifically for an oil press enterprise. The idea was to spread the cost and risks of press purchases among group members and thereby facilitate sales among women who would be reluctant to buy presses individually.

In making efforts to reach women more effectively each project staff has to be well aware of the cultural norm that limited women's independent involvement in economic activities and, therefore, of the need to keep men informed and involved about their wive's participation in project activities.

As staff, one could not risk having men perceive the project as being for women only, as men would want access to the same economic opportunities as women, and would want to make sure they did not loose control over their wives. Therefore the project promoted press sales as an opportunity for all community members.

Examples of well organised and successful women's groups can be found in northern and central Tanzania. These groups were organised spontaneously the basis of self-defined mutual needs and interests were stronger, also some are pre-existing groups, which had been around longer and had more time and experience to develop institutionally. Most of these groups have more activities apart from oilseeds processing. The businesses generated sufficient income to enable members both to set aside some fund for future operations and maintenance and to share in the profit.



As said earlier, in groups members can spread the risks of press purchase. They can also raise working capital and also be able to have an access to land.

General Problems



Its not easy to say who to approach, either individual or group because one has to get deep details about social culture, village regulations end experiences in working with women, type of the technology production capacity of the technology etc.

So its better to do a detailed survey to explore the pro's and con's of individual or group ownership of that society before introducing new technology

Gender in agricultural engineering activities of the post-harvest programme of Uganda

Margaret Nabasirye and Sicco Kolijn

Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute



Though research has often come up with wonderful technologies to increase agricultural production, many times they have not been adopted. The low adoption rate is apparent, to a great extent, from the perspective of gender in that no account is taken of who participates in the production process and to what extent. The paper gives an overview of agricultural engineering activities of the Post Harvest Research Programme in some areas of Uganda. Attempts to consider gender at various stages of projects are highlighted in three case studies on storage structures, fruit drying and on farm transport. The progress, weaknesses of the present approach are mentioned and sugestions for the future made.


1. The National Post-Harvest Programme

1.1 Mandate

The Post-Harvest Programme (PHP) is situated at Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), 13 km north of Kampala. The multidisciplinary, multi-crop research programme tries to reduce post-harvest losses which range from 15 per cent to as high as 40 per cent for different staple crops, important crops concerning Post-Harvest food losses in Uganda are cassava banana and sweet potato. Qualitative losses are also high and the level of processing and product range is for most crops very low. In addressing these issues the Programme is expected to contribute to increased food security and poverty alleviation.

The primary target group are fanning families in three pilot areas located in different agro-climatic zones. Since the major burden of post-harvest (PH) work falls on women, the programme calls for attention to gender factors and to increased labour productivity. Secondary beneficiaries are private processors and traders who have an influence on quality and hygiene of crops.

The programme is supported by UNDP/FAO, EU. NRI (National Resource Institute. UK) and USAID.

Within the PHP researchers of various disciplines participate in several research-projects. The main disciplines within the programme are: entomology, pathology, food technology, agricultural engineering, veterinary and a socio-econornics unit with a total 12 scientists.

1.2 Approach steps of the development, testing and dissemination of Post-Harvest Technologies

The following research and development steps are undertaken subsequently:

The introduction of technologies to the pilot areas passes through three phases of cost-sharing. In the first phase the project contributes fully to the cost of the technology, while in the second phase it contributes half of the costs. In the last phase the farmer pays the full cost.

- Dissemination of improved PH technologies through extension packages, articles, workshops, training and mass media. ( Intermediaries: Extension staff. NGO's.

Farmers Associations, women and user groups.)

The on-farm testing and demonstration trials are carried out in close co-operation with the governmental extension services (DAO end field officers) and where possible the programme links up with local operating NGO's and Farmers Associations at grass root level.

The programme has project activities in steps 3 and 4. Gender issues have so far not received special attention, although many of the on farm trials are undertaken with women. The project has recently appointed a gender specialist, and is planning to consider gender issues more systematically throughout all its activities.

2. The agricultural engineering activities within the PHP

Agricultural engineering, at the moment with one unit participates in various research subject.

2.1 Drying systems

Fruit drying

Drying of fruits is a new technology for the rural areas of Uganda. Currently the Fruits of the Nile (FON) company is the only big exporter of dried fruits to UK (approximately 36.()00 kg per year). Most of the drying structures can be found around Kampala end on the main highway along Lake Victoria. The FON company has come up with an appropriate design: a box dryer made of timber. Visqueen and green netting with a drying capacity of 20 Kg of dried fruits. Investment costs are estimated at 170 US$ per structure. Since it has been proven that the drying of fruits can be rather profitable (depending on the local fruit price), the PHP is introducing and evaluating the solar dryers with some women groups in one of its areas of operation. Kasese District. Three women groups have been operating a dryer each, while six other dryers are under construction.

The PHP conducted a training on handling, selecting drying, packing and marketing of various fruits (pineapple, banana and tomatoes). Originally the PHP targeted women groups since the crops handled are traditionally "women's crops'' and the processing involved is also a "female job". However, being an income generating technology the men picked interest very fast and have been incorporated into some of the active groups. Also many other groups and individuals are now showing interest. The PHP intends to increase the numbers of solar-dryers and active groups by sensitisation and training. Groups have been advised to cooperate in the marketing and transport activities to cut down costs involved. A cost-benefit analysis made together with one of the groups showed that drying of pineapple is profitable: 17 US$ per week (excluding labour costs).

Additional training is needed on the management and operation of the solar dryers by the groups (internal book keeping system, recording labour). May be the PHP should encourage the women to keep control of the management of the solar dryer activities not to loose the financial income.

2.2. Storage systems

Due to the favourable climatic conditions in Uganda a two cropping season pattern is rather common in most parts of the country. The same conditions make long storage of fresh and/or dry crops difficult.

Storage trials with fresh sweet potato and cassava tubers in pits, clamps and boxes have been tested and demonstrated on-farm among farmers (mainly women) and market traders.

In some parts of country out-door traditional storage structures for grains and legumes (mud-silos and reed-granaries) can be found. Most of these structures are constructed with weak local materials, are of inappropriate design, with a short life span, encourage rapid damage of crop by a variety of insect pests, rodents and fungi and face security problems. For these reasons, cash crops are normally sold off immediately after harvesting and drying and therefore missing the higher selling prices they could fetch a few months later, Common practices of indoor storage of large quantities on the ground do attract rodents and insect pests.

"improved" Storage Structures in Kasese District

In the pilot area of Kasese district 10 local artisans have constructed 75 silos, six granaries, and one crib in various villages. In principle farmers are free to choose the kind of structure they like to get constructed, although the farmer contributes all the building materials except cement. In most cases men take the decision of what type of structure they like to get. After construction it is mainly the women who are responsible for the management of the store. Normally the woman takes small proportions of crops out the store for home consumption, and in some cases the man is not allowed to look in the store and take out stored products without consultation with the wife, The man can only decide to sell stored products in case of larger household expenditures, like school fees, marriages and funerals.

Recent field visits indicated that most of the silos and granaries are only utilised for storage of small quantities of seed (beans, groundnuts) and food for home consumption (millet, groundnuts). It seems there is no tradition to store cash crops, maize and cotton, for long period of time on-farm in order to get better prices after a few months. Perhaps this is because of lack of appropriate storage designs in the past, inexperience with new structures or immediate need for cash to pay school fees and labour.

Most women complained bitterly of the difficult in entering the silo since the walls are high and the grass roof can only be removed with three or more people. Two farmers have already modified the roofing system by putting supporting poles at the back to facilitate lifting.

The question arises, as to whether the improved brick silos are not too big and expensive for the small-scale farmers since it seems they only store small quantities on-farm during the dry seasons. Smaller in-door storage structures (e.g. mud-grass bins) could solve this problem of frequent entrance into silos and theft of crops.

Another question is why most farmers prefer the expensive silo (investment cost estimated at 50-60 US$) and not the granary.

A cheaper granary which could be more appropriate especially for small scale farmers, has only been constructed during the training period of the artisans. Despite the trees in the National Park (where cutting is strictly forbidden) farmers hardly have access to timber and other construction materials.

Other reasons could tee the incentive/salary system which makes the silo very popular among the artisans, the more durable character of a cement silo and the status symbol of the silo.

2.3 Small hand-operated processing equipment

When introducing agricultural engineering technologies, it is assumed that they are gender neutral (both men and women can equally use them). Apart from a few modifications of the adopted /imported implements, the unit has developed and produced small hand operated fools. The locally produced machinery, by virtue of their small size and light weight, tend to be gender neutral.

2.3.1 Foundry activities

In the programme's foundry the agricultural engineering unit develops and produces small processing equipment like hand maize shellers and banana slicers out of Aluminum scrap. The shelling of maize with bare hands causes many sores, is time consuming and boring. Alternative shelling/threshing by beating the crop on bare ground or loosely packed in bags, is tedious and causes cracking of grains which may reduce the quality for good storage. The fabricated maize sheller is handy, easy to operate and rather a cheap device (US$ 1.2). Women are the direct beneficiaries of this simple implement since shelling is mainly their task. So far no in-depth adoption and impact survey has been conducted.

2.3.2 Cassava grater

Cassava is an important staple food for many households in Uganda. Due to the increasing importance of bitter' varieties (mainly caused by the mosaic virus which affects the "sweet'' varieties) and due to the perceived constraints of current processing practices, there is a potential to introduce improved methods of processing. The traditional methods of processing - heap fermentation and water soaking - are not very efficient in reducing the cyanogenic potential of processed roots. Those methods are laborious and slow, it can take up to seven days. An alternative method, which is still under research and on-farm testing, is grating of the bitter cassava followed by squeezing the pulp, drying, roasting, grinding and sieving. This so called "farinha de mandioca" method can be carried out within one day. There is an urgent need for new methods in the affected areas where people are not used to processing and consuming bitter varieties. The first on-farm demonstration has shown that the grated cassava flour fetches a price three times better than that of traditionally fermented cassava flour.

The agricultural engineering's contribution will be the development of a basic manual driven grater for house hold level, targeting the women as users. A bigger pedaled cassava grater is already demonstrated on-farm. Apart from being unaffordable by small farmers, is being rejected/ unacceptable in cultures where women are not supposed to sit astride or to pedal. Even the energy required to operate/control the machine may be too high for the majority of women. The challenge is to come up with a simple and cheap implement which is affordable for the poorest of the poor. Stainless steel graters seem to be too expensive and difficult to get up-country. Recent tests with nails in timber have shown very promising results.

2.4. Sweet potato and cassava utilisation

One important research project of the PHP is the utilisation of sweet potato and cassava in baking products. The project focuses on substituting, in various proportions, of wheat with either of the two commodities in making biscuits, cakes, bread dough nuts (mandazi) and chapati. The project targets women, since baking at small/household level is predominantly carried out by women The agricultural engineering component focuses on the design of appropriate ovens. The research aspects include wood fuel saving, availability of local materials, ease of and maintenance and durability. The project is still at an infant stage.

2 5 On-farm transport

On-farm transport constraints present a big drawback to increased agricultural productivity and presents a serious bottleneck in the PH sector in Uganda. In most rural settings, almost all agricultural produce is carried to the storage places and/or to the markets by members of the family especially women and children on backs, shoulders and heads and sometimes on bicycles. In a similar manner water and firewood is collected while construction material is mainly transported manually by men.

Case Study: Donkey Project in Kasese

A needs assessment survey in Kasese district (on the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains) indicated the majority of households carry farm equipment and produce on head/back and travel on foot within the farm. According to health information available in the district, carrying heavy loads on backs sometimes led to maternal deaths and still births. The use of draught animals (donkeys in this case) was considered as an appropriate, affordable and sustainable technology which could alleviate the above hardships.

The PHP introduced (late 1995) a first batch of ten donkeys to the farmers in Bukonjo county. Kasese District. There was a deliberate effort to involve both men and women. Out of the ten households allocated donkeys, five (50 per cent) were headed by women. Recipients received training in handling and management of donkeys during a one week course. Emphasis was put on training all household members, including children, since the care and handling of donkeys is not gender specific.

A follow-up showed that people had appreciated the contribution of donkeys in relieving families of transport problems and increasing interest in ownership was registered. It was further indicated that donkeys in female-headed families did more domestic/reproductive duties, while those owned by male-headed families were more involved in transportation of agricultural produce and construction material. One woman described the donkey as an "energy and time saver", for even when she was sick, children could be sent with the animal to collect food from the field.

The interest in donkeys has spread beyond the original targeted hilly areas to the plains. In the latter areas, people have requested inclusion of other equipment (e.g. carts, collar-harness or tillage implements). However, there is a fear that this would expose the technology to commercial work (mainly by men) such that the women and children would no longer have much chance of using it for PH activities, water and fire wood collection.

In addition to these positive aspects by PHP, a number of problems have also been observed in the course of introduction of donkeys in the project area. At least three other programs in the past were unable to launch succesful donkey projects the mountainous Rwenzori's (Bundibugyo and Kasese) due to a mixture of gender, political, socio-cultural and organisational reasons. For example, in Bundibugyo district men see the job of transporting goods, food, water and fuel as a typical women task, they did not want donkeys used for this purpose. Some men would only tolerate pack donkeys for transporting goods when female donkeys are used Their reasoning being that if male donkeys can be used for carrying food, by analogy the male humans can also take responsibility for this task

On the other hand women hated donkeys because of the following reasons, among others:

In Kasese district two projects (zero-grazing heifers/goats and the PHP donkeys) happened to be running concurrently. A recent observation is that five of the donkey owners also received a heifer and/or a goat by the Bukonjo Farmers' Association. This same Bukonjo Farmers Association has also been assisting the PHP with the selection of farmers who got donkeys. The five donkeys are now used for grass and water collection and carrying milk to the trading centers. Introduction of livestock has changed farmer's practices to mixed farming systems. The division of labour and tasks of woman and man will change due to the daily attention to take care of livestock It would appear a few farmers are benefiting from several development programs while a majority are not.

2.5.3. Lessons learnt and future prospects

A number of factors determine the participation of women in agricultural engineering activities. An in-depth survey of the project and the surrounding areas, training and mobilisation of farmers (men and women), are prerequisites to the success of a project. The selection of new farmers should be carried out more carefully with respect to the problems encountered.

3. Inclusion of a gender component within the PHP

As described above the agricultural engineering unit is involved in many different technology interventions mainly biased towards women. Although we are aware that many of the improved technologies could/should directly benefit women, there were obviously no systematic plans to address gender constraints within all research and extension procedures. So far little work has been carried out on gender analysis since a proper planning and monitoring and evaluation system has not been established in all areas of research. It is further realised that all the PHP's reports hardly make any explicit gender analysis on specific technologies.

This could easily be explained by the following

(often traditional) reasons:

4. Future prospects

Future project planning should consider gender and youth aspects. Furthermore, the approach of monitoring and evaluation adopted should be gender specific and ensure that women remain active participants and direct beneficiaries of the technologies. Inclusion of gender specialists in research and extension services and working/ cooperating with other organisations with similar interests will highly facilitate this.


Hall. A. (1995). Introduction small scale cassava processing technology. Field testing and evaluation with rural processors. Quarterly report January-March 1995

Kiyingi. S.N. and F Lubwama. (1994). Role of gender in agricultural mechanisation in Uganda. In "On mechanisation strategy for Uganda" workshop proceedings. In Press

Nahdy, S.M.. Odong M, and Opio F. (1993). Women roles in Post Harvest Systems. In African Crop Science Conference Proceedings. 14

18th June 1993. 1: 452-451

Odogola, W, and Henriksson. R. (1991). Postharvest Management and storage of maize. Technical systems for agriculture. AGROTEC/ UNDP/OPS

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