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Gender differences in access and use of selected productive resources among sweet potato farmers in Uganda

Authors
  • Okonya, Joshua Sikhu1
  • Kroschel, Jürgen2
  • 1 International Potato Center (CIP), Global Program of Integrated Crop and Systems Research, Kampala, PO Box 22274, Uganda , Kampala (Uganda)
  • 2 International Potato Center (CIP), Global Program of Integrated Crop and Systems Research, Apartado 1558, Lima 12, Peru , (Peru)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Agriculture & Food Security
Publisher
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jan 16, 2014
Volume
3
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/2048-7010-3-1
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundIn spite of women making up the biggest workforce in food production, processing and preparation in Africa, little is known about how women access production resources, especially concerning sweet potato enterprise. Based on the sex of the household head, we compared male and female sweet potato farmers’ access to agricultural information, credit and extension in Uganda. Differences in sweet potato production techniques, contribution of sweet potato to household food security or cash income, off-farm income sources and membership to farmers’ group were also determined.MethodsA diagnostic survey was conducted using a questionnaire in six districts of Uganda. A total of 139 and 53 male- and female-headed households were interviewed, respectively. The study was largely descriptive and data was analyzed using the SAS package.ResultsFew male- (5.8%) and female- (7.5%) headed households used fertilizers. Over 80% of both male- and female-headed households grew sweet potato primarily for home consumption. Only a few male- (8.6%) and female- (9.4%) headed households had received any form of agricultural information related to sweet potato production, marketing or value addition in the 12 months preceding the survey. Information sources on sweet potato cropping were numerous, with both farmers’ own experience and friends or relatives (8.3 and 40.0% for male- and female-headed households, respectively) being equally the most common. Although none of the female-headed households received agricultural information from both governmental extension agents and non-governmental organizations, male- and female-headed households had similar chances of receiving information. More female-headed households had no off-farm income (67.9%) and lacked access to credit (26.4%) than did their male counterparts. Male-headed households had significantly more members who belonged to a farmer organization (44.6%) compared to female-headed households (30.2%).ConclusionsBoth male- and female-headed households were found to have relatively equal but very low access to both agricultural information and credit. There is a need to develop and disseminate integrated sweet potato management messages for better understanding and efficient use, preferably in local languages and through mass media. There is evidence of anti-female household heads’ bias in membership to farmer organizations. It is recommended that men receive training on gender mainstreaming and awareness, so as to appreciate the role women play in the sweet potato value chain.

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