FAO/GOVERNMENT COOPERATIVE PROGRAMME
IMPROVING INFORMATION ON WOMEN'S
CONTRIBUTION TO AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION FOR GENDER-SENSITIVE PLANNING
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
2. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
NGO - Non-governmental Organization
NPD - National Project Director
PRA - Participatory Rural Appraisal
SACCOS - Savings and Credit Societies
The project "Improving Information on Women's Contribution to Agricultural Production for Gender Sensitive Planning" was initiated as a follow-up to the FAO Assistance in Support of Rural Women in Preparation for the Fourth Conference on Women Project (Phase I), which provided technical and financial support before the Beijing conference. In Tanzania, funding was provided to sub-contract the Women Study Group of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar-es-Salaam, to carry out an in-depth analysis of available information on rural women and to prepare a sectoral report on Women, Agriculture and Rural Development. The study revealed that women's contribution to agriculture and other economic activities is documented in neither national censuses nor the national accounts. The study team recommended that the mainstreaming of gender issues in the Ministry of Agriculture be given priority by the Government in order to increase agricultural productivity, particularly in food crops, which are mainly produced by women.
Further assistance was provided by FAO to increase the involvement of the Ministries of Agriculture in national-level preparations for Beijing, encouraging them to examine their role in promoting gender-sensitive development policies and programmes. According to the sectoral report, it was necessary to improve the quantity and quality of information and statistical data on the economic value and output of rural women in agricultural production and to raise awareness of gender issues in agriculture, particularly among ministry staff. It was also essential to devise and implement more gender-sensitive agricultural policies, programmes and projects and to consult rural women directly in information collection and planning activities. Furthermore, the lack of gender-disaggregated information on the role of men and women in agricultural production impeded policy-makers and planners.
The GCP/URT/108/NOR project was initiated with the aim of strengthening the capacity of staff within the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on the Mainland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources in Zanzibar to assess gender needs in agricultural development. Gender is rarely taken into consideration in project designs and most planners, decision-makers and policy-makers within these two key ministries have no background in gender planning. The lack of gender awareness and the absence of gender-disaggregated information were identified as the main problems hindering the performance of the agricultural sector.
The integration of gender issues into ministry operations in the areas of service delivery and project planning is crucial since planners and policy-makers need to be conversant with the principles of gender analysis if they are to plan from a gender-aware perspective. The absence of gender statistics perpetuates an unequal distribution of resources between men and women and neglects women's expertise. As an immediate objective, the project was intended to assess gender roles at household and community levels, thus creating an awareness of imbalances that would enable communities to prepare gender-sensitive plans.
Inappropriate policies and discriminatory legislation not only inhibit progress at household level but also impede the path towards greater food security. Legislation and policies ensuring equal access to resources, credit, education, training and extension are essential if both men and women are to participate fully at all stages of economic development. The project was therefore intended to improve the quantity and quality of information and statistical data on the economic value and output of rural women in agricultural production and rural development, to raise gender awareness among ministry staff and to involve rural women in planning by consulting them directly during information collection and planning activities.
It was recognized in the 1992 paper, "Policy on Women in Development in Tanzania", that the main constraint to the advancement of women is the failure of the national planning process to take into consideration their different development needs. It was suggested that development planners be sensitized to the importance of gender by providing them with guidelines on the formation of gender-sensitive plans and programmes. The importance of a workable system that ensures the effective participation of women throughout the planning and implementation of development plans was stressed. It was also recognized that the monitoring, evaluation and feedback of women's participation should be an essential part of the planning process.
The Project Document was signed by FAO on 28 March 1995. The project was scheduled to last for one year with a financial contribution from the Government of Norway of $US 122 040 and a counterpart contribution in kind. FAO was designated as the executing agency and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on the mainland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources in Zanzibar as the counterpart agency responsible for project implementation.
The project became operational in October 1995 after the recruitment of the National Project Director for the Mainland. As a result of subsequent project revisions, the duration of the project was extended to 18 months. The total contribution by the Government of Norway was adjusted to $US 185 546 and the project terminated on 30 June 1997.
The development objective of the project was to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on the Mainland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources in Zanzibar, enabling them to address more effectively the needs of rural women in development planning. The main emphasis was on an increased awareness and understanding of each community's varying development needs. The project aimed at improving current knowledge of the type of training and support services required by rural women and at identifying sustainable solutions that could be integrated with budget allocations, policy, planning and programming.
The project's immediate objective was to increase the understanding and awareness of gender factors in agriculture and rural development among policy-makers, regional and district planners, community development officers, extensionists and statisticians and to increase their capacity to integrate such factors into planning processes.
The project was launched by FAO in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar in June 1995. Key figures in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (Mainland) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources (Zanzibar) were contacted and briefed. The National Project Director (NPD) for the Mainland was recruited in November 1995. She attended participatory rural appraisal (PRA) training as part of project GCP/URT/103/NET "Women in Irrigated Agriculture", conducted in Utengule Usangu in Mbeya Region.
The Steering Committee had its first meeting on 18 September 1995. Members of the committee were drawn from the Planning Commission, the Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the FAO Representation, the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development.
PRA exercises were planned to be conducted in three regions. Mbeya had been selected in the Project Document, since the project was intended to collaborate with the FAO Women in Irrigated Agriculture project being implemented in that region. The Steering Committee selected Dodoma Region as the second PRA region.
Official recruitment of the NPD for Zanzibar took place in February 1996. This was followed by the establishment of a Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the project in Zanzibar. At its first meeting, the Steering Committee selected Zanzibar North as the third PRA region.
According to the Project Document, training was to be conducted in three regions, two on the Mainland and one in Zanzibar. As an immediate objective, development practitioners were to be trained in participatory rural appraisal methodologies and gender analysis concepts in the regions of Mbeya (Ileje), Dodoma (Dodoma Rural) and Zanzibar North.
The first PRA and gender analysis training course was conducted in Mbeya, Ileje District, Bulambya Ward in November 1995. The second exercise took place in Zanzibar North in December 1996 and the third in Dodoma region, Mvumi Division, Dodoma Rural District. Theoretical training was conducted in January 1997, followed by practical exercises in April 1997.
The selection of Mvumi Division took into account the existence of donor-financed projects such as the dairy project financed by the Diocese of Central Tanganyika and Global 2000 under the Ministry of Agriculture. Bulambya Division in Ileje was selected because of the existence of the non-governmental organization (NGO) COOPIBO, financed by Belgium through the Ileje Food Crop Production Project and aimed at improving food security in the lowlands in Ileje. In this division three villages were selected for the PRA exercise: Isongole, Izuba and Ilulu. In Zanzibar, the exercises were conducted in Kinyasini, Pwani Mchangani and Bumbwini villages. The aims of the PRA and gender analysis training were to identify household structures prevalent in the study areas and to determine gender roles in reproduction, production, community management and political functions. PRA techniques have a high degree of community participation by raising self-awareness, encouraging people to suggest viable solutions to pressing problems and assisting them to analyse complex issues, problems and opportunities in order to prepare their own Community Action Plans. Since women and men have different needs, these plans were prepared according to gender.
The standard PRA tools of household interviews, focus group interviews and community meetings were used to collect information. The involvement of rural development practitioners was adopted in order to make them more aware of the need to understand differing gender roles in rural communities when planning, thus increasing efficiency and gender responsiveness in rural development policies and programmes.
An assessment of the situation of women was performed on three farming systems in Mbeya, Dodoma and Zanzibar. Information was collected to determine the limitations of government policies intended to increase agricultural production by analysing inter-personal relationships within households and interaction between men and women in farm production for the different farming systems.
In determining women's contribution to agricultural production, the following issues were investigated: division of labour between men and women in farm households; the impact that division of labour has on women's and men's time allocation; division of labour rigidities which make it difficult to substitute male and female labour across categories of economic activity; male control of resources affecting economic interdependence; access to other productive resources and to women's share of income and the impact this has on productivity and income distribution.
18.104.22.168 Division of labour
The division of labour between men and women is a major constraint on increased food production, particularly when the fact that men specialize in cash crop production leads to a reduction of labour in the production of food crops. Rigid gender division of labour between crops, rather than a flexible deployment of total family labour according to seasonal requirement, is observed. Although domestic chores absorb a large proportion of women's time, fewer resources are directed to women, who provide households with their food.
Since the household exists to minimize the transaction costs related to achieving goals in relation to livelihood security, reproduction, the upbringing of children and caring for the elderly, a clear understanding of gender roles and their impact on the economic conditions and well-being of these households is essential. As far as division of labour is concerned, it was shown in Ileje that women do most of the work throughout the year. During less labour-intensive periods, when harvests are in, water is abundant and field work minimal, women engage in income-generating activities like beer-brewing or mat-making.
Female-headed households are greatly affected by the problem of labour, since they belong to low-resource groups usually affected by food shortages all year round. In such cases women are forced to sell their labour for food. This has a multiplier effect on their production as they spend most of their time working in others' fields to meet their daily needs for food.
Gender-based division of labour was explored in order to identify obstacles to agricultural productivity. Gender imbalances were assessed by means of daily routine charts. It was shown that men have more leisure time than women, since men do not substitute women for certain tasks, above all domestic chores. Women work more hours than men, particularly during peak periods.
In order to address gender issues in rural households, gender disaggregation of household tasks was undertaken, bearing in mind that new opportunities often increase women's workload as a result of inflexible social perceptions.
Since rural households are not homogeneous, wealth-ranking exercises were conducted by means of card sorting. Differences in resource ownership between well-off and low-resource households have an impact on labour availability. The main source of labour in low-resource households is that provided by its members, whereas middle and high-resource households can hire labour during peak periods. Since low-resource households also provide other farms with agricultural labour they are often unable to meet family food needs themselves and are forced to continue to sell their labour. In Ileje, most of these labourers are women, since it is seen as their responsibility to cope with the problem of food shortages within the family.
Women in the Bulambya ward work in their family farms, where maize is grown, in the morning and then on the production of beans, a crop grown by women without assistance from their husbands. Domestic chores were also seen to be women's tasks, sometimes with assistance from female children. The fact that men could not substitute women in carrying out certain tasks, not only within the house but also in some aspects of agricultural production, was observed. The varying engagement of women in farm work was superimposed on the rigidity of their time commitment to household work. Once again, it was seen that changes in the division of labour between men and women often intensify the work of women while resulting in a loss of economic independence and social status, changes in cropping patterns and farm technology. The fragmentation of women's time allocation has adverse effects on household food security, leading to a reduction in the number of meals per day in some of the households interviewed. It emerged that the frequency of eating was lower during the cropping season.
Deforestation has also affected women's time allocation, since they are forced to travel for more than three hours in search of fuelwood. This has a further effect on the contribution of women to agricultural production and thus on food security. The production of crops such as beans, which are considered women-only crops, is adversely affected by the poor performance of women as a result of lack of time or poor health.
Most men agreed that women were overworked and claimed that, although they sometimes assisted their wives in some domestic chores, they ran the risk of ridicule from the other men. They also stated that they were not ready to accept orders from their wives in carrying out traditional women's tasks.
On average, the men in all three villages contributed about 45% of the total hours needed for farm operations in Ileje, Bulambya division, while women contributed an average 56%.
In activities on beans farms, only women are involved in the planting, weeding and harvesting. Inter-cropping maize with beans is therefore disadvantageous to women as they are forced to weed on their own. Interviews conducted with men in the three villages in Ileje revealed that they only assist in land preparation, withdrawing as soon as the beans are planted.
Experience showed that women in general contribute a larger share of labour input in most agricultural production and that this is their main occupation.
22.214.171.124 Access to resources
Most women interviewed had limited access to land ownership or insecure land tenure. Land title was held by their husbands, fathers and brothers according to customary laws. When the husband died, the wife was forced to leave the family land unless she agreed to be inherited by one of her husband's brothers or relatives. Most female-headed households were observed to own marginal lands which were very small, ranging from 0.5-1 acre. The existence of unequal land rights owing to cultural and religious discriminatory laws has an impact on food productivity. Female-headed households were found to have less land and labour than male-headed households. These households, which accounted for about 30% of the households interviewed in Ileje District, were predominantly the result of divorces, deaths and separation. On average, they owned plots of 0.5 acres, mostly marginal land obtained from their parents, brothers or local chiefs. As a result, most female-headed households were grouped as people with low resources, producing inadequate food to meet household needs.
The lack of appropriate extension methodology to work with rural women has hindered rural women's access to extension services. Women farmers have always been excluded from the target audience of agricultural extension education programmes, although the Ministry of Agriculture's extension service is currently implementing programmes targeted at both female and male-headed households. In the areas under study, it was revealed that both women and men are equally denied access to extension services in villages where there are no extension agents. In Zanzibar, women claimed to have had no contact with extension agents, while in Ileje the extension staff was available to both women and men when necessary. The accessibility of extension services to women farmers was restricted overall, however, since most women could not attend meetings as a result of their increased workload. In the regional workshop, it was revealed that women's participation is very low at meetings, particularly the contact group meetings adopted by the current approach of the Extension Service Department. If extension agents were more gender-sensitive they would be aware of the need to plan these meetings when women were less busy.
In Ileje, interviews showed that, in places where extension workers were in full operation, men and women could obtain equal services. Some women interviewed said that there was no restriction on the part of their husbands, even though the extension workers were men. Further talks with the extension officers revealed that contacts with women farmers were a common phenomenon and that, as long as farmers trusted the extension workers, no conflicts arose.
In cases where conflicts might arise, contact through groups provided an effective means for disseminating extension knowledge. The only limitation is the timing of group meetings, which frequently failed to consider the time limitations facing women farmers.
The accessibility of information to women farmers is aggravated by high illiteracy rates among rural women. Since educated farmers are more likely to adopt modern technologies and modern inputs, under-investment in women's education has high opportunity costs.
There is a higher illiteracy rate among rural women than among their male counterparts. Despite the policy of equal education for all children of school age, fewer girls than boys attend primary school and those girls who receive primary education have fewer opportunities to continue their education. This problem is aggravated by the existence of gender imbalance in the division of labour. After school, most girls help their mothers perform domestic tasks and have no time to study, while boys frequently have free time for studying.
High illiteracy is a major constraint to the advancement of rural women as they cannot adopt new agricultural practices. During the PRA exercise in Ileje it was revealed that the women in some groups were forced to use the local vernacular, which had to be translated to participants. When the extension worker does not know the local languages, the difficulty of the task of disseminating extension messages is increased.
2.2.3 Decision-making and control over income
The power to make decisions is traditionally vested in the hands of men. Although women and men have equal rights and opportunities constitutionally, women are under-represented in the decision-making process.
In Ileje it was revealed that decision-making at household level continues to be male dominated in all economic activities, even those in which women contribute most of the labour. All decisions on the use of proceeds from economic activities and the depletion of food reserves remain in the hands of men. Some women expressed the desire for by-laws that would prevent men from risking household food security by selling food reserves.
In Dodoma, the decision-making powers were vested more in the hands of women, who were responsible for deciding on the use of farm produce. Discussions revealed that men and women decided together if proceeds from the farms should be sold, while the money from the sale of the proceeds was counted as family property.
It was observed that women held key positions as village chairpersons, village executive officers and division executive officers. Mvumi Division, where the exercises were conducted, is under the leadership of a woman division executive officer. Women's participation in committees indicates that the role of women in decision-making varies considerably according to ethnic group.
After training in Ileje, two reports were prepared by the gender researcher and PRA trainer. The first was a report on the methodology of gender-sensitive diagnostic studies on women in agriculture. It provided an overview of the training and the process used in analysing the findings and gave recommendations for further research. The report was submitted to the FAO Representation in July 1996. A report on PRA methodology in Zanzibar is currently being prepared.
The second was a research report for Ileje District, Mbeya region. This contains information on women's contribution to agriculture, including data on the division of labour, changes over time in the responsibilities of women and men, decision-making, access to and control over resources, education, household composition, etc., as well as rural women's views on issues of importance to their work in agriculture and related activities. The report was submitted to FAO in May 1996. A research report on Zanzibar was submitted to the FAO Representation in Tanzania in May 1997, while a report for PRA and gender analysis in Dodoma is currently being finalized.
Three regional workshops were conducted in Mbeya, Dodoma and Zanzibar, during which the PRA findings regarding community-level resource assessment and planning were presented. In Mbeya region, a total of 23 participants attended a regional workshop, at which findings from Ileje were presented. During the workshop, participants were encouraged to plan according to a gender-sensitive perspective.
The participants were sensitized on the need to incorporate gender into their daily activities. A video on gender roles at household level and the draft of a video filmed in the PRA area in the Bulambya Division were examined. The participants prepared short and long-term strategies for the improvement of gender roles in Mbeya region. Different measures were recommended for the integration of gender issues in the agricultural sector.
A total of 20 senior staff from the Ministry of Agriculture attended a three-day training course on 22-24 May 1997, during which gender analysis concepts and principles were presented. The staff were sensitized on the need to understand the gender needs of farmers when allocating resources to the agricultural sector, while video presentations showed participants how policies imposed on communities could lead to conflict. It was suggested that more training courses of this type be conducted for ministry staff. Participants also recommended that each technical department assign one member of staff to make sure that gender issues are incorporated into programmes prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture.
A series of audiovisual and communication tools was produced to document the findings of the PRA and to provide information to demonstrate the importance of participatory approaches for gender-sensitive needs assessment.
The specific objective was to provide audiovisual support material for the training and sensitization of ministerial staff and policy-makers in the agricultural and rural development sectors. This would make them aware of the value of gender analysis and participatory approaches when addressing the needs of rural women and of the need to mainstream gender issues into agricultural and rural policies and planning and programme development.
FAO selected the Video Production Unit under the Commissioner for Research and Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources in Zanzibar as the recipient organization. The unit was requested to film women's contribution to agricultural production, including footage on production, processing, trading and conservation.
A draft video for Ileje was presented to project staff and FAO personnel in May 1996. Comments were made with guidelines on what the video should incorporate. The video was used to raise awareness among technical personnel in the regional workshop conducted in Mbeya. It will also be used in regional workshops in Zanzibar and Dodoma and in the national workshop.
Despite the fact that women play a key role in the agricultural sector, they have been neglected in the planning of economic policies. This has exacerbated the subordination of women and diminished the impact of polices designed to raise household output and income.
It is essential to allocate resources to both men and women in order to enhance agricultural productivity. Most published data on rural economic activities have tended to underestimate the role of women in farm work, food processing and other productive activities. The collection of accurate gender-disaggregated information will improve agricultural production and food security.
Women need to be made more visible in economic analysis by institutionalizing gender awareness into government machinery. This will increase the Government's capacity to analyse both inter-personal relationships within farm households and the interaction between men and women in farm production for different farming systems.
Currently, the data bank within the Ministry is not disaggregated by gender. In order to ensure that planning considers women and men's concerns, planners should be equipped with accurate gender-disaggregated information. Data of this type will give an indication of the role of rural women in national development and will assist in drafting appropriate policies to meet the specific development needs of rural women and men.
In order to increase recognition that resource allocation within the household is rarely equal, gender-role assessment needs to examine the power relations which govern men and women's access to, and control over, resources. To promote gender equity calls for the reorganization of the extension system, placing emphasis on researching issues of concern to rural women and institutionalizing gender analysis training programmes for field extension staff, statisticians and policy formulators and implementers.
Programmes in support of women in agriculture will focus on the following issues: policy planning and research; training in gender analysis for government officials and agricultural extension agents and the establishment of coordinating mechanisms among the various bodies and organizations working with rural women; direct assistance to rural women; and projects focusing on ways to increase women's productivity and income and thus household food security.
Development practitioners should be helped to recognize the need to plan from a gender perspective. This will facilitate the incorporation of gender concerns into agricultural and rural development. Experience has shown that most ministry staff are unaware of gender issues, revealing the need for gender sensitization at all levels. Training programmes for field extension staff, statisticians, policy-makers and planners and gender-disaggregated data collection also need to be established in order to create awareness among these groups.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on the Mainland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources in Zanzibar should create an enabling environment in order to: raise gender awareness among technical personnel and beneficiaries; establish regional coordinating committees for all institutions engaged in the agricultural sector; explore available physical and human resources in the region to conduct gender-sensitization seminars at all levels; introduce data collectors to PRA skills; ensure gender balance in ownership and control of agricultural production and resources by revising laws that discriminate on the basis of gender; create regional data banks for gender-disaggregated data for planning processes; encourage village functional officers to participate in the collection of such data.
Skills for gender analysis and participatory research methodologies need to be imparted to staff located in villages so that community-based gender-needs assessment and the documentation of gender roles can be carried out. Ministry staff, particularly statisticians, need to become gender-sensitive in order to collect gender-disaggregated information.
There is also a need to make women more visible in economic analysis by documenting their activities and making the data visible to planners and policy-makers. This information can assist the Government in targeting the farming community, thus improving productivity. Programmes which are formulated without consideration of who performs which task end in failure, particularly in areas where women's workload is increased.
In order to promote gender equity, the extension services need to be reorganized, with increased emphasis given to issues of concern to rural women and men in agricultural production. Field staff need to be trained in gender analysis and gender-needs assessment. The extension service network which extends to village level should be the main focus for training in gender-role assessment and documentation. Extension workers, who are generally involved in the collection of information as enumerators, must understand the concept of gender-needs assessment if they are to carry out policy impact analysis in rural areas.
It is also important for extension workers to be able to document gender roles at the village level by keeping records of different farming systems. Although the curriculum in training institutes now includes training on gender, extension workers need in-service training.
The Ministry should make use of farmers' education publicity officers at regional levels to film gender roles in the main farming system in the regions. These films can be used during gender-needs assessment training exercises and gender-awareness campaigns. The farmers' publicity officers themselves need to be gender-sensitive in order to film those activities which illustrate imbalances within a given farming system.
In the absence of such documentation, gender-role sensitization often fails to convince those who see no need to make changes in the existing traditions and norms that discriminate against women. A change in attitude among people within the communities is essential if the customs and traditions that hinder gender equality are to be modified.
It is recommended that a mechanism be established to collect information by gender from national to grassroots level. This information should take into account social, economic, legal and technological aspects together with the short-term needs and constraints of both men and women. The establishment of a gender documentation centre at the Ministry will enable gender issues to be taken into account when establishing agricultural policies.
Research activities should be extended to incorporate gender concerns. The fact that such activities do not consider the indigenous technical knowledge possessed by communities, particularly women, has denied women the chance to participate fully in research and development.
Planners and policy-makers are dependent on the information at their disposal. However, owing to a lack of knowledge regarding the requirements of data users, data collectors do not see the need to collect gender-disaggregated information. Both data collectors and data users should be sensitized to gender issues by means of the information available.
It is essential to study the socio-economic mechanisms underlying relations between men and women. The fact that each community has a unique set of social and natural resources and social norms that determine access to, and control over, available resources means that agricultural development must build on community-specific analyses.
It is necessary to establish a system of coordination at all levels in order to strengthen networking among those with common goals. Government institutions, NGOs and community-based organizations should bear gender concerns in mind when planning. Community-based functional officers should be involved in carrying out gender-needs assessment. This will help the planning process to incorporate a gender perspective at grassroots level.
Collaboration among those involved in gender issues in the rural areas should be initiated by the Ministry. Seminars, workshops and training courses to promote gender awareness should consider the part these people can play in the sharing or exchange of information and experiences through a well established networking system.
The Ministry of Agriculture is currently implementing a number of projects in different departments. These projects should be reoriented to consider gender issues.
It is recommended that PRA and gender analysis exercises be conducted in other farming systems in the country. These will help to sensitize ministry staff on the basis of information from the field.
The full integration of women in development issues fosters harmonious and sustainable development. Those involved in the rural and related sectors or in planning and implementing field programmes should be aware that increasing human resources involves learning how to design policies that satisfy the essential needs and strategic interests of both men and women.
For plans to be feasible at national level, changes should be initiated within the community. They can thus take into consideration women's and men's tasks so as to allocate existing resources for the benefit of both. They can also redirect planning approaches or policies in order to provide women with greater access to productive resources.
The Ministry of Agriculture, which employs the majority of the population, should take a lead in coordinating resource allocation to take the different roles of men and women into account. Information on women's contribution, resource needs and constraints should be integrated into all planning processes. Current legislation should be reviewed to eliminate all discriminatory practices.
Women do not have equitable access to land and agricultural services such as credit, agricultural inputs, training and extension, and marketing services. Few, if any, modern tools or implements are available to poor rural households, and rural women's activities in particular are almost always labour-intensive and time-consuming. Rural women thus have a pressing need for appropriate labour-saving technology, both to reduce stress and to give them more time for productive activities.
The contribution of women to household food security needs to be enhanced in order to ensure their full participation in efforts to achieve agricultural growth, alleviate rural poverty and improve food consumption and nutritional well-being. A number of specific policy measures are needed to deal with the above issues. In formulating and implementing such measures, the special case of female-headed households needs to be taken into account. The Government should consider the following recommendations to overcome the obstacles that women face in agricultural production.
Women and men should have equal opportunities to own land. Even though, according to the new land policy, men and women already have the same rights, implementation of such a policy might require sensitization campaigns to change attitudes.
Women's access to agricultural services not only needs to be facilitated but such services should be geared to their specific needs. Credit and repayment terms should be adapted to the enterprises that women undertake in a particular locality. Similarly, for women to be adequately helped by agricultural extension, the training and extension activities must be more relevant to their needs, the crops they produce, the livestock they raise and the farming systems and time constraints within which they work.
An important measure to improve household food security is that of increasing food production at the household level. The provision of remunerative prices and other economic incentives such as improved seeds and fertilizers are essential if production is to be increased. In addition, improved transportation and marketing facilities would encourage rural households, including women, to produce surpluses above subsistence needs.
Rural women spend considerable time fetching water and firewood. The provision of water supplies, alternative fuels and food processing technology should form essential components of rural development programmes. Access for women to modern inputs, implements and irrigation facilities needs to be enhanced. In order to avoid the undesirable consequences of certain types of technology, such projects should be formulated in consultation with the targeted beneficiaries.
Women's participation in the implementation of measures and programmes to promote food security and to alleviate poverty could be significantly enhanced if they belonged to organizations such as producer, marketing or service cooperatives. Efforts need to be made to encourage women not only to join cooperatives but also to hold managerial positions. Measures also need to be taken to encourage women to undertake, on a cooperative basis, income-producing enterprises that may not be viable on an individual basis.
The Ministry of Agriculture on the Mainland is currently encouraging the formation of Savings and Credit Societies (SACCOS) in rural areas. Women should be encouraged to participate fully in their formation.
Government policies also need to be reviewed and, where necessary, reoriented to ensure that the problems constraining the role of women in food security are fully addressed. An important step in this direction would be to improve the statistical data base of the role of women in food and agricultural production and in income-earning activities, including wage labour and activities in the informal sector. The design of policy interventions for women should take into account the economic role of men and women in the various activities and provide information on resource endowments, activity patterns, income sources, cropping patterns and husbandry practices of households in different socio-economic groups in the target area.
T.P. Msaki National Project Director (Mainland)
A. Shaaban National Project Director (Zanzibar)
E. Mhina Consultant in Gender Development Research
G. Mwalemba Participatory Rural Appraisal Trainer
M. Mbilinyi Driver
Focus Participants Date
Participatory rural appraisal
and gender analysis training,
Isongole, Ileje 18 4-27 Nov. 1995
Mbeya regional workshop
Mbeya 23 7-8 Nov. 1996
Participatory rural appraisal
and gender analysis training,
Mvumi 15 12-18 Jan. 1997
4-15 April 1997
Gender analysis training for staff of
Ministry of Agriculture (Mainland) 20
Tools and techniques to be used for participatory rural appraisal, G.F. Mwalemba. Zanzibar, 1996.
Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and gender analysis report, G.F. Mwalemba. Zanzibar, 1996.
Research findings on PRA and gender analysis in Zanzibar North "A" and "B", G.F. Mwalemba.
Research findings on PRA and gender analysis in Mvumi Division, Dodoma Rural District, G.F. Mwalemba.
Improving information on women's contribution to agricultural production for gender-sensitive planning, E. Mhina.