Gender and pro-poor agricultural growth: nonfarm/farm linkages and village dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Lund University
Department Name: Human Geography


The project addresses Theme I: Agriculture and growth. The project aims to analyse broad based agricultural growth from a gender perspective and to situate these processes locally, against the backdrop of specific national policies and broader demographic, socio-economic and climate related changes. The objective of the study is to assess under what social and institutional conditions pro-poor agricultural growth entrenches or redresses gender based differences in access to agrarian resources and what consequences this has for linkages to the nonfarm sector. Three key research questions guide inquiry:

1. How can the consequences of gender differentiated access to productive and institutional resources during processes of broad based agricultural growth be understood?
2. How can linkages between agriculture and the nonfarm sector be analysed from a gender perspective, given that nonfarm income may be important in alleviating inferior access to agrarian resources among women in particular?
3. What village level characteristics are relevant to understanding the dynamics of broad based agricultural growth and nonfarm/farm interaction from a gender perspective?

The project will use a mixed-methods, longitudinal, multi-scalar approach which enables comparison of growth dynamics across countries, regions, villages and households, while situating individuals within households. The method addresses the lack of comparative data on gender and growth, village level institutions and intra-household relationships through combining quantitative and qualitative data collection. The quantitative data builds on existing data from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia collected in 2002 and 2008, covering close to 4000 households in 84 villages. A third round of quantitative data is currently being collected in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia and funding is applied for to cover data collection also in Tanzania and Mozambique. The 2013/2014 cross-section would cover 2466 households in 56 villages and two rounds of panel data for six countries. This will address a research gap in relation to the lack of longitudinal data. The sustainability of growth processes will therefore be possible to document. The quantitative data will enable assessing the existence and drivers of pro-poor agricultural growth, the location of such dynamics to particular regions and villages and whether female headed households are discriminated against in these processes. Qualitative data on social and institutional village characteristics as well as intra-household gender dynamics will be collected in villages involved in pro-poor agricultural growth as well as villages having experienced withdrawal from agricultural markets. The purpose is to document village level institutional frameworks with respect to gendered access to productive resources within and outside agriculture.

Academic results will be disseminated through articles in world leading, peer reviewed journals, research reports published on the project website and research briefs circulated through ELDIS and the project advisors. Non-academic stakeholder involvement is ensured through an inaugural as well as concluding stakeholder workshop. Results will be popularized through written reports directed towards non-academic stakeholders and oral presentations in events organized by such stakeholders.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?
The proposed study would be of benefit to an academic as well as a non-academic audience. Academic beneficiaries include researchers involved in research on agricultural and rural development as well as livelihoods and gender research in developing country contexts. Researchers within interdisciplinary fields involved in mixed methods research outside these specific areas may also benefit. Academic users are found both within Universities at national, European (France and the UK) and global level (mainly inAfrica and the US), but also within the research institutes of the CGIAR-system (IFPRI; IITA)

Potential non-academic users are found among multi-lateral donors involved in rural development, (IFAD, the World Bank) as well as those engaged in agricultural development specifically (FAO). Bilateral donors (Swedish Sida; NORAD; DFID) and the wider Global Donor platform for Rural Development also include possible non-academic users. To these should be added regional, African constellations, such as the AU/NEPAD and AGRA. Civil society organisations, such as NGO networks in both Europe and Africa are also potential beneficiaries.

How will they benefit from this research?
Ideally, the project would provide insights that could contribute to redressing potential discrimination of women in processes of broad based agricultural growth, while also contributing to economic growth in itself through addressing gender based impediments to low agricultural productivity.

What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from this activity?
Earlier research results have been popularized to inform the policy debate through dialogues with the type of stakeholders identified above, something which will continue within the realm of the proposed project.
Description Structural transformation narratives of agricultural change need to be nuanced to address the challenges of African smallholder agriculture in a context of growing polarization of agrarian resources based on gender, geography and class. Situating agrarian change within broader livelihood dynamics, covering income generation also outside agriculture, in contexts where women have much poorer access to agrarian resources than men is necessary to understand gender based patterns of asset accumulation and income generation. Findings from a new book using longitudinal data tracing the livelihoods of nearly 2000 small famers since 2002 in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique show a polarization of productive resources, but increasing farm sizes among the top strata coupled with unchanged farm sizes at the bottom of the distribution, suggests that this has not occurred at the expense of the poor. Similarly, farm size increases on male managed farms have not in general occurred through redistribution of land from female landholders. Livestock ownership shows similar patterns, with accumulation of livestock among male farmers increasing in areas where livestock are important to local livelihoods. While the data shows expected gender gaps in assets in some regions, geographical variations in the size of gaps are large. More importantly, however a focus on agrarian resources and incomes misses a couple of important points with respect to the non-farm economy. Indeed, the access to non-farm incomes is a decisive source of differentiation, even if it only generates 30% of total cash income. Gender gaps in cash incomes are driven predominantly by differences in earnings generated from agriculture, but non-farm diversification is a gender neutral process. While the access to farm based assets has increased among male headed households, general patterns of improved livelihoods can be seen in rising standards of housing and the accumulation of other non-farm assets, which are largely gender neutral, suggesting that female landholders reinvest any surpluses generated into non-farm assets rather than agrarian resources. A one-sided focus on closing gender asset gaps and gender based differentials in agricultural productivity in agricultural policy may therefore be missing opportunities for broadening such approaches to include non-farm linkages that may be as, if not more, important to enhancing women's livelihoods
Exploitation Route From a policy perspective it is necessary to consider both farm and non-farm source of rural livelihoods, especially in contexts where there may be strong male resistance against redressing gendered inequalities in access to agrarian resources.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description I have presented the results to various non-academic stakeholders, but it is very difficult to measure the impact on these, while changing policies and strategies at the international level are usually a slow business. The award has led to a subsequent award which has an active non-academic stakeholder component, building on earlier results. The data has been used at the local level by the Ministry of Agriculture in five Zambian communities to shed light on gender discrimination in agriculture and to improve the budgeting exercises to reach women specifically.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Lecture and seminar in Sida's International Training Programme (ITP)
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Description Seminar participation for Sida staff and the public, Changing gender norms in agriculture
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Description Utvecklingsforskning
Amount 2,944,000 kr (SEK)
Funding ID E0384801 
Organisation Swedish Research Council 
Sector Public
Country Sweden
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2017
Title Afrint I to III data 
Description this is the full, longitudinal, dataset for the six countries covered by the study-parts of it have been available open access since 2005 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2008 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact the data has been used to trace farm households and shifting livelihoods in Africa - it is a unique resource and has been used by policy makers as well as academics. 
Title Mozambique Afrint 3 database 
Description The dataset revisits 400 households in Mozambique. The households were surveyed in early 2015 and is one of the key research outputs from the project. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We are just commencing analysis but have shared initial data with two other projects in the same call (DEGRP 2). 
Title Participatory gender mobility mapping 
Description We combine satellite imagery from google earth with qualitative methods and ask participants in selected villages to show their mobility using this imagery. We will use this to construct a model of how gendered mobilities relate to commercialization in agriculture. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact too early to see concrete outputs 
Title Tanzania dataset, afrint 3 
Description The dataset revisits 400 households in Tanzania. The households were surveyed in early 2015 and is one of the key research outputs from the project. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We are just starting analysis and have shared some data with a couple of projects in the same call (DEGRP 2) The database will be in the public domain when the project cycle is complete. 
Description AgriFOSE: Agriculture for Food Security Post 2015 
Organisation Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The programme AgriFoSe (Agriculture for Food Security Post 2015) - translating science into policy and development has been developed by researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Lund University, Gothenburg University and Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI). The purpose is to translate science into policy, while building this capacity among young researchers from the Global South, mainly Africa and Asia. Our team will be responsible for one of four themes: Social and economic dimensions of smallholder based agriculture and food security
Collaborator Contribution There are four other themes, which fall in the natural sciences, that the partners from Stockholm Environment Institute, University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences are responsible for.
Impact Too early to list outputs - we expect the first outputs during the first half of 2016
Start Year 2015
Description Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) - Commercialisation, Women's Empowerment and Poverty Reduction consortium 
Organisation Institute of Development Studies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The afrint group will be part of the DFID-financed APRA consortium and will be involved in synthesizing and analyzing data collected through the award from the DEGRP project. The IDS heads and coordinates the consortium which involves 17 partners. In addition, our CI in Tanzania, Prof. Aida Isinika will be heading the Tanzanian country team within the consortium The collaboration is just starting in early 2016, so it is too early to say much about other outputs
Collaborator Contribution We envisage that the partnership will enable reaching out to both academic as well as non-academic audiences on a scale that we have so far not been able to engage in in previous projects. With respect to policy makers we expect to reach both national and regional policy makers in a number of African countries, while engaging also with donors and civil society in a global context.
Impact too early to list outputs
Start Year 2016
Description Long Term Livelihood Change in Tanzania, P.I. professor Dan Brockington 
Organisation Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have shared existing data, and co-hosted a workshop. We have arranged for field support through our Tanzanian colleague for the partner to carry out fieldwork in study sites where we have previously collected data. We will be contributing a chapter to an edited volume by the P.I. of the project.
Collaborator Contribution They have arranged the practicalities of the workshop, and also raised some additional funding for this. They have also carried out fieldwork, which we will be using in our chapter.
Impact -arrangements of a stakeholder workshop in Dar es Salaam, June 2017, contribution of a book chapter based on data collected by both parties in June of 2018.
Start Year 2016
Description Zero hunger in a changing climate, Sida Development Talks, Stockholm 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event was part of Sida's development talks, with the specific focus being SDG2. I presented results from the project and participated in a panel discussion. The audience was mainly staff from Sida, and high level professionals and politicians in the aid sector. The event was streamed on youtube and is available online. After the event I was requested by David Nabarro, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition to send data from our project, which I did. We are now in contact over what additional data can be used to inform UN policy on Food Security and Nutrition.

I have also agreed to be part of Sida's new strategy on gender and agricultural commercialization that is being rolled out during the spring.

in addition, civil society has requested for engagement with our group. Together with a new team member we will be working out a strategy for engagement with national civil society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Women's Economic Empowerment 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I contributed by giving a seminar to the Women's Empowerment Workgroup at Sida. Staff were present in Stockholm as well as on link from Burkina Faso and the participants found it very useful for their work with gender policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016