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Tackling food and nutrition security: the importance of gender specific activities


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Dr Brigitte Bagnol is a researcher associated with the International Rural Poultry Centre (IRPC), KYEEMA Foundation, Australia and part of the AIFSC project 'Strengthening food security through family poultry and crop integration'. Her presentation looks at the gender dimensions of this work.

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Tackling food and nutrition security: the importance of gender specific activities

  1. 1. Tackling food and nutrition security: theimportance of gender specific activitiesBy Brigitte BagnolThe International Rural Poultry Centre (IRPC), KYEEMA Foundation, Mozambique andAustralia,
  2. 2. Acknowledgements• The author would like to acknowledge the support given to familypoultry research and development by:• the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research(ACIAR),• the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID),• the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),• The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),• The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS),• The Wildlife Health Network, and• The University of Sydney.• My gratitude is extended to my colleagues at the KYEEMAFoundation and the veterinarians, poultryspecialists, extensionists, traders and farmers in many parts of theworld who have given freely of their time and expertise over theyears.
  3. 3. Why gender?• Emerging consensus as well as increasing bulkof evidence that addressing gender inequalitywill alleviate hunger, poverty andunemployment.• The 7th MDG aims to “Promote genderequality and empower women”.
  4. 4. Additionally, available data indicate that:• Gender inequality and cultural issues havebeen inadequately addressed in most researchlinking agriculture and nutrition (Hawkes etal., 2012:11).• While we aim at developing policy based onsound “evidence”, this “evidence” is oftenmissing where food and agriculture isconcerned in Africa (Sumberg et al, 2013).
  5. 5. What do we know?Women’s contribution to food production, foodtransformation and preparation of meals• In most parts of the world, although they do not have the ownership of theland, women living in rural areas make a major contribution to village poultry andtraditional crop production, therefore assuming much of the responsibility forhousehold food security.• In Africa women provide between 60% to 80% of the labour for food production(FAO, 1995, 1996) and most of the post harvest management.• While men are more likely to be involved in hunting, commercial crops, largelivestock and formal employment, women are gathering wood, edible andmedical plants, care for small livestock, produce subsistence food.Livestock, crops and natural resources such as water, which is essential for foodproduction and food preparation, are thus “gendered”.• As part of their reproductive role, women are also responsible for the nutritionand health of their households, especially when preparing daily meals and takingcare of the children, the sick and the elderly.
  6. 6. What do we know? (2)• Village poultry production is an activity mainly under the responsibility ofwomen and they have significant control over the use and consumptionof the chickens as well as on the money resulting from its sale (Alders etal. 2007; Bagnol, 2009).• In Tanzania, data collected by the Regional Newcastle Disease (ND)control project (Lauchande, 2011) indicate that 60% of women takedecisions on chickens’ vaccination against ND.• Traditional crops are often under women’s control compared to cashcrops (The World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, andInternational Fund for Agricultural Development. 2009).• Research indicates that resources under the control of women are morelikely to be used to support the education and nutrition of children(Quisumbing et al., 1995).• Thus, poultry and crop production improvement can have a beneficialimpact on children’s overall nutritional status and health. It can also alterwomen’s status in the household and in community by increasing theirbargaining power and their financial autonomy.
  7. 7. What is necessary?• In a situation where women have little controlover major household purchases, it is importantto improve access to and productivity of thoseresources that they have some control over.• A clear understanding of who has control overresources resulting from chicken and traditionalcrop production as opposed to other availableresources is important to facilitate thedevelopment of effective policies.
  8. 8. Increased poultry and cropproduction under women’sresponsibility can improvechildren’s education and nutrition
  9. 9. It is fundamental when discussing food insecurityand nutrition to take into consideration the role ofwomen along the whole value chain:• As farmers,• As livestock keepers,• As processors,• As store keepers,• As traders,• As providers of food and• As care givers of children and the sick.
  10. 10. Men’s andwomen’s rolesand ownershipare shaped bysocio-economicsituation
  11. 11. In addition to socio-economic factors, otherfactors such as:• Socio-cultural attitudes,• Group and class-based obligations,• Religious and cultural beliefs and practices,• Institutional arrangements,• Age, race, marital status…influence access to resources (land, cashcrops, education, information, etc.) and the typeof activities men and women canpursue, responsibilities, mobility, social contact …
  12. 12. Sorghumandmillet
  13. 13. Regarding crops, women make majorcontributions to crop production, especiallysubsistence crops• They often manage species-rich productionsystems adapted to drought and pests whilemale-dominated production tends to be orientedtowards a single cash crop.• Women have more restricted access than men toinputs and markets, affecting yield improvement.• Patterns of ownership of land also limit yieldimprovement by women, as they do not have thefinal decision regarding the adoption of new cropproduction technologies.
  14. 14. Men and women have different access toresources and in consequence have differentknowledge and interest
  15. 15. Decision Making about purchasesTable 1: Percentage of persons who usually-take-decisions about purchases in thehousehold and percentage of currently married women, aged 15 to 49, with cashearnings in the past 12 months by person-who-decides how the women’s cashearnings are used (Tanzania DHS, 2010; Zambia DHS, 2007)Mainly wife Wife and husband jointly Mainly husbandTanzania Zambia Tanzania Zambia Tanzania ZambiaMajorhouseholdpurchases6.9 13.7 31.9 41.8 57.7 43.7Person whodecides howwomen’scashearnings areused35.9 37.8 47.2 40.8 16.6 20.8
  16. 16. As a woman put it: “It is easier for a man tolisten to woman when the money comesfrom chickens because the decision-makingis with women.” (Mtwara, Tanzania - 2005)
  17. 17. Women have limited access toinputs, innovation and information• Women are benefiting less than men fromaid in agriculture, forestry and fishery.Only 15% of the world’s extension agentsare women.• It is considered that only 10% of the aidgoes to women.• Women are benefiting only of 5% ofextension services. Women have lessaccess to inputs such as improvedseeds, fertilizers and equipment as aresult their yield is lower than those ofmen.• Women have also less possibility to haveaccess to markets (Njuki, 2012).
  18. 18. Access to literacy and mediaTanzania ZambiaWomen Men Women MenWomen and men aged 15 to 49who cannot read (%)27.4 17.6 36.1 18.3Women and men aged 15 to 49who are not regularly exposed toany media (TV, radio, or writtenpress) at least once a week (%)36.0 18.8 33.1 19.1Table 2: Literacy and media access indicators related to genderissues (Tanzania DHS, 2010; Zambia DHS, 2007)
  19. 19. Improving women’s access to inputs andservices• Has the potential to increase women’s yieldsto the same level as those of men implying animprovement of 2.5/4% of total agriculturaloutput.• Could reduce the number of malnourishedpeople in the world by 100 to 150 million or12/17%.
  20. 20. Limiting agricultural opportunity for women isunfair• Life chances should not be pre-determined atbirth by the sex of the person or any otherreason.• In economic and nutritional terms thislimitation reduces the welfare of thehousehold.• Thus it is both a human rights and adevelopment issue.
  21. 21. Summary: Key elements for good practiceObjective InstrumentsAssess gender roles andresponsibilities in villagechicken and crops alongthe whole value chain• Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) carried out in same sex focus groups.PRA includes analysis of roles, access, control and benefit related tochicken and crops production and trading.Develop effectivecommunication material• Training material should be pre-tested and reviewed to ensure genderawareness and that it is equally clear to both men and womenInvolve male and femalesupport staff• 50% of staff should be women• Gender issues introduced in the training of all staff• Gender issues included in the terms of reference of all staffIdentify male and femalevaccinators• At least 50% of vaccinators are womenEnsure gender sensitivemonitoring andevaluation of the NDcontrol program• Data collection by vaccinators in male and female headed householdsvaccinating against ND• PRA carried out with same sex focus groups regularly• Participatory exercises carried out with same sex focus groups regularly• Regular random survey with 50% of women interviewees and 50% ofwomen interviewers
  22. 22. Male and female focus group discussion
  23. 23. References• Alders, R., Bagnol, B., Harun, M. And Young, M. 2007. Village poultry, food security and HIV/AIDS mitigation. LEISA Magazine, 23: 20-21.• Bagnol, B. 2009. Improving Village Chicken Production by Employing Effective Gender Sensitive Methodologies. In: Alders, R.G.;Spradbrow, P. B. and Young, M. P (eds). Village Chickens, Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Control of Newcastle Disease. Canberra:Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. ACIAR Proceedings Nº 131: 35-42.• Central Statistical Office (CSO), Ministry of Health (MOH), Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC), University of Zambia, and MacroInternational Inc. 2009. Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2007. Calverton, Maryland, USA: CSO and Macro International Inc.• Hawkes, C., Turner R., and Waage, J. 2012. Current and Planned Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition: A Mapping and aGap Analysis. Aberdeen: Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) and Centre for SustainableInternational Development, University of Aberdeen.• Lauchande, C. 2011. Newcastle Disease control project. Report. Maputo: KYEEMA Foundation.• National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) [Tanzania] and ICF Macro. 2011. Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Dar esSalaam, Tanzania: NBS and ICF Macro.• Quisumbing, A.R., Brown, L.R., Feldstein, H.S., Haddad, L. and Pena, C. 1995. Women: The Key to Food Security. Food Policy StatementNo. 21, Aug. 1995. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC.• Sumberg, J., Awo, M., Thompson, J., Kwadzo, G. T. M. and Fiankor, D.D.D. 2013. The limits of ‘evidence’: Evidence-Based Policy-makingfor African agriculture• The World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Fund for Agricultural Development. 2009. Gender inAgriculture: Sourcebook. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Publications.Website:•
  24. 24. Need to develop a sound dialogue with allstakeholders
  25. 25. Thank youMerci beaucoupThere is nosubstitute forcommunitydialogue