The joint World Bank-ONE campaign report has revealed that the gender gap in the African agriculture sector is a key hindrance to the agricultural development.
The report titled Leveling the field: improving opportunities for women farmers in Africa, was launched on the sidelines of the 10th Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Plan Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) currently under way in Durban.
The report, which targeted six African countries including Malawi, further calls for African policy makers, donors and development
organizations to help bridge the gap.
“These organizations [policy makers, donors, development organisations] have turned their attention to this costly gender gap, but their effort could be enhanced by a better understanding of the underlying factors that cause the gender gap,” says the report.
The report which used data collected by national statistics office covered more than 40 percent of Sub-Saharan African population.
In Malawi, according to the report, on average, plots managed by women are 25 percent less per hectare than plots managed by men.
“This is so because women use lower levels of inputs including seeds, inorganic fertilizer, extension services and the burden of child care all contribute to the gender gap,” reads the report.
The report recommends that future agricultural policy interventions must ensure that females access and use the same amount of key productive input as male farmers and consideration of women, child care and other household responsibilities must be put in place.
Director general for Women and Resources in Eastern and Southern Africa Abby Mugugu-Mhene said women’s efforts need to be encouraged and recognized for maximum production.
“We note and appreciate that the African Union and its member states have taken steps to ensure that gender issues and the role of women are a top priority and this is evidenced by the ratification and ascension to a number of international and regional instruments that promote and protect the rights of women.”
She urged African leaders to revisit national agricultural plans and incorporate interventions aimed at narrowing the gender gap in agriculture.