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Role of women in agriculture

Role of women in agriculture

About 57% of women are engaged in agricultural activities, mainly in the areas of livestock (67.8%) and horticulture (46.2%). Overall, women contribute more than 50% of the agricultural labour and, in particular, 63% of the labour in livestock and 41.6% of the labour in vegetable production.

Division of Labour by Gender. Women are primarily engaged in weeding, harvesting and storage of food crops and also participate in planting, transplanting, irrigation, pest control and fertilization. They are responsible for the domestic work of the household. In fisheries, women work almost exclusively in the area of processing.

Gender Relations in Decision-making in Farming Activities. Gender relations in decision-making vary by type of decision and status of the woman in the household. In general, men make most of the decisions, but consultation with their wives is common. Women have a great deal of decision-making power in the absence of a husband or male children. However, male children are frequently the decision-makers when the husband is absent.

A Participatory Rural Appraisal in one region showed that:

· In vegetable production, 25% of women made decisions in the absence of the husband, but 75% deferred decision-making to male sons. When husbands were present, joint decision-making was common.

· In livestock raising, 70% of women were the sole decision-makers in the absence of husbands. When husbands were present, 100% of women consulted their husbands except in the area of water supply, where 75% of women decided on their own.

· In credit, of the 55% of women who had obtained credit, 50% had consulted their husbands first. For women without husbands, 25% acted alone, 25% in consultation with their sons, and in 50% of the cases the son made decisions alone.

· In purchasing food and goods for the family, 100% of women consulted their husbands for goods, while 25% of women decided alone on food purchases. About 50% of the women without husbands made all purchasing decisions alone, while 24% consulted their sons and 25% of women (usually the elderly ones) delegated all decision-making to their sons.

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