In Sub Saharan Africa, women are vital contributors to farming. In Tanzania for example, the agricultural sector is characterized as female-intensive, meaning that women comprise the majority of the labor force (54%). Agriculture also comprises a greater part of women‘s economic activity than men’s: About 81% of women, compared to 73% men (Kennedy and Anderson, 2011). Since women have less access to land, improved seeds, better techniques, technologies, and markets, yields on their plots are typically 20 to 40 percent lower than on plots farmed by men. Furthermore, in agricultural supply chains, individuals who can access the most lucrative functions enjoy the highest returns. Women are typically over-represented in low value chains and in lower value nodes within chains (Coles and Mitchell, 2012; Doss 2011). Men tend to dominate functions with relatively high barriers to entry and corresponding greater returns (rent) and to control chain management functions (Ibid, 2011). An impact assessment for DoHoMa confirms these findings as data is discussed below.
In the CV model, women participants are recognized as individual suppliers’ within the CV. An analysis of how much land women
access informs the approach that DoHoMa would use to support women’s empowerment. A gender analysis of land access confirmed the differences between men and women. In both sites, men on average access more land than women. In Meru, men access about 2.6 acres compared to 2.1 acres by women, while in Siha, men have about 4.5 acres compared to 3.5 acres for women. In both sites, men had larger farm sizes (< 4 acres or more) with majority of these farmers located in Siha. In both sites, majority of those that farm on less than an acre are women (Figure 1). These findings point to women’s disadvantaged position in smallholder commercialization efforts because of persistent gender-disparities in access to land as one of the key productive resources.
A gender analysis in both sites of farmers that had indications of using improved seeds and other inputs shows that there was minimal difference between men and women (figure 2). In both sites, women and men had widely adopted improved seed. However in Meru, slightly more women were using other inputs such as fertilizer, manure and pesticides. In Siha, more farmers using fertilizer were men while more women used manure and pesticides. These interesting results can be attributed to the high number of womenparticipation because of the deliberate effort of the program in promoting increased women’s market-oriented production and commercialization.
The 2003 World Bank report in reference to evidence from several studies indicated the importance of women’s access to assets such as land, both for children’s nutrition and for children’s education opportunities, especially girls (WB 2003:57–8). This implies that women’s land rights are central to key poverty-reduction indicators related to children’s nutrition and basic education. Addressing these gender gaps can be proven under the DoHoMa programme that targeted support helps households become more productive and reduce malnutrition in poor farming families.
It is hypothesized that the agricultural development efforts in rural Africa have marginalized women (with varying degrees), reducing their productivity and control over resources. Women's total work burden has relatively increased, in efforts to integrate smallholders into some of the agricultural value chains. This phenomenon is understood as an integral process of capital penetration and accumulation.
Thus it is necessary that women’s involvement in the program, such as DoHoMa continue promoting high value crops production be assured like under Commercial Villages that there are ways of ensuring that they have some control over the product of their labor through the sales of these crops. This remains a key challenge of many programs, as many women are less able to retain control of high value crops and the profits accrued and decision-making authority concerning these crops.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond