Good and timely information on new technologies and techniques is essential for farmers when deciding whether or not to adopt an innovation, and agricultural extension can lead to significant yield increases. Yet, extension provision in developing economies remains low for both women and men, and women tend to make less use than men of extension services.1
Extension service agents tend to approach male farmers more often than female farmers because of the general misperception that women do not farm and that extension advice will eventually “trickle down” from the male household head to other members. Time and transportation constraints and cultural reservations can hinder women from participating in extension activities, and in some social contexts where meetings between women and men from outside the family nucleus are restricted, a lack of female extension agents effectively bars women from participating.
The way in which extension services are delivered can also constrain women farmers in receiving information on innovations. Women tend to have lower levels of education than men, which may limit their participation in some kinds of training. And extension services are often directed towards farmers who are more likely to adopt modern innovations, for example farmers with sufficient resources in well-established areas. As women are less likely to access resources, they may therefore be bypassed by extension service providers.2