MEAS Brief # 2: Reducing the Gender Gap in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: How to Find the Best Fit for Men and Women Farmers
Agriculture is a fundamental driver of economic growth and poverty reduction for many developing countries. Past efforts at revitalizing the agriculture sector have failed in part because they overlooked the role of women and the negative effects of gender inequalities on productivity. According to The State of Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2011), “Women comprise, on average, 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, ranging from 20% in Latin America to 50% in Eastern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa”. Reducing gender inequalities in access to productive resources and services could increase yields on women’s farms by 20–30%, which could raise agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4% (FAO, 2011).
To realize these gains, men and women farmers need access to information, skills and tools to improve yields. However, levels of contact between farmers and extension agents remain relatively low in general, and especially low among women (World Bank, 2010). The strategies and institutions involved in the delivery of extension services must be reformed to offer a better fit for men and women farmers. This summary examines gender relations, as they relate to the content, delivery and usage of extension and advisory services (EAS), to the structure and policies of agricultural development institutions, and to the benefits of agricultural growth – both for smallholder farmers and the economy at large. ... (Read more in the full document)
This is the brief version of the MEAS Discussion Paper # 2 with the same title.