A recent study concluded that incentivizing farmers in general—and female farmers in particular—can serve as a potential means to adopt agricultural technologies that have the potential to boost rural economy and enhance food security.
Women serve as a cornerstone of food security. It is not only because of the strength of their numbers—about 43% of the global agricultural labor force, particularly in developing countries. Women contribute significantly to agriculture and rural enterprises that help reduce poverty in developing countries. If women in rural areas were given the same access to productive activities as men, agricultural and farming production would increase and feed approximately 150 million more people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Despite the strong link between food security and women, their full potential remains largely untapped because of gender-specific barriers that work against them. These include lack or limited access to land, financial institutions, markets, and training and education.
Yet, with sufficient agricultural and enterprise training, women in agriculture learn to manage and market their farm produce more effectively, profit from new agricultural opportunities, and diversify their activities by branching out into non-farm enterprises.
A recent study also revealed that women farmers responded more favorably to new technologies than male farmers.
The adoption of any agricultural technology depends upon the way in which farmers are being informed about its benefits, according to the authors. Educational status, caste, gender, and other social issues also play a significant role in the adoption process.
Randomized experimental research was carried out over a period of two years across five different states of India to evaluate the impact of training on quality seed production, access to seeds of climate-resilient rice varieties, availability of information about seed sources, and use of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Super Bags. The baseline and a follow-up survey were conducted to capture the farming practices followed by during wet seasons of 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Female farmers responded more than the male farmers as the number of women adopting the practice was higher than men. The impact of the training on farmers’ knowledge and adoption of stress-tolerant rice varieties was also more pronounced on females than on male farmers.
Farmers’ access to seeds substantially enhanced the adoption and reusability irrespective of the gender. Similarly, the information delivered to the farmers was quite economical in enhancing the awareness and adoption of climate-resilient rice varieties, but the effect was predominantly driven by female farmers. Female farmers performed relatively better with respect to the storage of the new seeds using IRRI Super Bags.
The study concluded that incentivizing farmers in general—and female farmers in particular—can serve as a potential means to adopt agricultural technologies that have the potential to boost the rural economy and enhance food security.
Read the full study (journal pre-proof):
Dar M, Waza S, Nayak S, Chakravorty R, Zaidi N, and Hossain M. (2020) Gender-focused training and knowledge enhances the adoption of climate resilient seeds. Technology in Society. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2020.101388