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Power of partnership conference: Poster: CONGENIAL


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CONGENIAL - Contract Farming and Gender Equity in African Landscapes

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Power of partnership conference: Poster: CONGENIAL

  1. 1. Development Frontiers Research Fund - ES/K011693/1 Contract farming is expanding rapidly in Africa but suffers from high rates of default and claims of exploitation by smallholders. Between 2013 and 2015 CONGENIAL evaluated whether farms, firms and families benefited from including wives in contract farming schemes in Malawi and Tanzania. We combined a pilot clustered randomised design with an interview schedule including open, closed and biographical questions. Husbands and wives were interviewed separately. Our findings were mixed. In Malawi, we worked with 416 households, half of whom received soya seed alongside a tobacco contract. Wives withdrew labour from soya as they no longer controlled this crop, contributing to lower yields and production. Husbands stated wives were neglecting the staple food crop, maize, not soya, revealing their own concerns about including wives in the contract. Overall, spousal non- cooperation led to sub-optimal results. Nevertheless, 70% of participants welcomed the provision of soya seed to wives. They wanted this to continue but as a separate contract, not tied to tobacco, and paid directly to wives. In Tanzania, we worked with 706 households, half of whom received hybrid maize seeds alongside cotton inputs. Over 90% of participants supported this. Wives applied more labour to cotton and, surprisingly, there was less child labour on all crops. Importantly, cotton production increased by 59-136kgs, increasing incomes by US$26-60. Husbands also felt household well-being improved significantly. Our impact journey was unpredictable. Formal engagement events were superseded by ad hoc requests. There was a delicate trade-off here between fidelity to the data and fostering linkages. One direct impact is that AOI Malawi now includes extra food crop seeds to 7,000 contracted households. Our main challenge was the size of the pilot designs: they were just too small to make strong claims. Similar evaluations need to be conducted at scale with sufficient funding. CONGENIAL – Contract Farming and Gender Equity In African Landscapes