Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Women and Agricultural Technology: What’s Holding Back Technology Transfer?

The number of women farmers feeding their households, communities, countries, and regions is increasingly on the rise. But even though we are seeing more women take on roles such as planting, managing, harvesting, and processing household crops, we aren’t seeing them getting the same finance, extension, or decision-making power as men. These access gaps have real consequences: women farmers typically achieve yields that are 20 to 30 percent lower than men. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that total agricultural output in developing countries could increase by as much as 4 percent if women received equal access to resources. In honor of International Women’s Day, this blog explores two critical technologies for women farmers, including constraints and potential impact on women all over the world.

Drip Irrigation

Photo by Fintrac Inc.

The drip irrigation difference: Drip irrigation helps farmers get more out of their land by increasing frequency of harvest, improving yields, and building better climate resiliency.

What’s holding women smallholders back? One primary constraint women face in accessing the necessary equipment is cost. Few smallholders can afford to buy irrigation kits upfront; most require some sort of external financing. Because women have historically had limited access to financial services, their ability to invest in equipment, such as drip irrigation, is limited. According to Feed the Future’s Rwanda 2010 Implementation Plan, for example, the majority of women in Rwanda (56 percent) have no access to formal or informal financial services. What can be done?

To read the answer to this question, and explore the role of ICT, read the rest on the Partnering for Innovation Blog.