Feed the Future
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Land Tenure Research Shows Men’s Role in Households Impacts Women’s Access to Land

Land tenure becomes an essential component of high yield, profitability, and sustained success growing soy.  Research at SIL’s SMART farm highlights the importance of preparing a good seed bed, raising soil pH to reduce acidity, and crop rotation to manage disease and pests.  All three of these criteria involve farmer investment in their land to improve soil quality and have the confidence that they will be able to obtain a return on their investments over time. 

Correspondingly, SIL researchers Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi and collaborator Dr. Gina Rico Mendez (all with Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center) are studying the impacts of local land tenure customs on women’s access to land, agricultural resources and information in the context of soybean production in northern Ghana. The team’s research study involved six focus groups comprised of men and women soybean farmers, with the goal of better understanding gender inequality in customary land tenure systems.

Results indicate that men represent the entire household, making access to land for women prohibitively difficult, with limited ability for women to change, expand or invest in the plots they farm. These findings can play a significant role in soybean production systems in the developing world, where high-yielding soybean production requires investments in soil fertility and soil correction to promote plant vigor and growth, proper seed bed preparation for effective soil-seed contact to promote germination and high levels of soil tilth for a proper root growth environment. 

The researchers presented these results at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2018.

Access the presentation.

Learn more about the Soybean Innovation Lab's Empowering Women and Gender Equity Research.

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