«Women-only focus group discussion in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 17 August 2011 i Version 1 – August 2011 Contents Abbreviations and Acronyms Executive ...»
West Africa lacks formal marketing boards for subsistence crops, which has meant a predominance of private traders. Private trading is more informal and provides easier access for women, facilitating important roles in food trading for example. In Burkina Faso, women tend to play an important role in food trading and place particular focus on small-scale trade (petit commerce). This includes sale of raw products (millet, peanuts, rice, beans, peas, butter nuts, néré kernels, onions and spices), sale of processed products (millet beer, shea butter, soumbala, peanut butter and cake, tobacco, spun cotton, woven mats, etc.) and sale of cooked dishes (rice with sauce, fried rice, fritters, biscuits, pastries, boiled or roasted peanuts/peas) (Günther 1998). In Ghana and Guinea women dominate private food trading and are a small but highly visible group of wholesalers (e.g. 90 per cent rice trading is carried out by women). Lack of credit, market infrastructure and storage facilities dictate that most of this trading is low-paid, risky and provides women with only a very modest income (Baden 1998).
2.4.2 Rural labour markets The division of labour in rural markets means that women and men have differential access to rewards and career opportunities, even though they have similar education and labour market skills. Women form a large proportion of the casual labour force, which is characterised by low wages, high job insecurity, low levels of unionisation and poor working conditions (Fontana with Paciello 2010; ILO 2003). Unequal access to labour markets and highly gender-segregated occupations generates inefficiencies that compound the inequalities in wages that women and men receive, depress investment in women as workers and can distort market signals (OECD 2006). In many economies, causal labour has been a constant feature of agriculture, due to its seasonal nature. This is increasing with the growth of non-traditional export-led markets for fruit, vegetables and flowers. Additionally, women farmers may find it difficult to secure labour to work on their farms. They may not have the right ‘contacts’ (i.e. lacking the social capital), they may lack money to pay wages and may also face gender discrimination in that, for example, men may not want to work for a woman (Peterman et al 2010).
In Africa, women face difficulties in finding secure employment in rural labour markets and the proportion of women wage earners in agriculture is very low (1.4 per cent, see Fontana with Paciello 2010). This work is seasonal and usually as farm labour, weeding, processing or undertaking similar time-intensive activities. There are opportunities on larger farms for non-traditional agricultural exports, such as vegetables and flowers (Fontana with Paciello 2010; Quisumbing and Pandolfelli 2010; ILO 2003), and the growth of export-led agricultural markets has provided an opportunity for women’s employment in processing and packaging activities. However, these jobs tend to be low-paid, informal and insecure (Quisumbing and Pandolfelli 2010; Dolan 2005; ILO 2003). On the other hand, Maertens point out that women benefit more directly from this work, as they are the contracting party, in comparison to their involvement in contract-farming when they work primarily as unpaid labour. Women’s control over income has been shown to be strongly correlated to their access to labour markets and paid employment (Quisumbing and McClafferty 2006).
Regional examples include:
Horticulture and cut flowers Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
In West Africa, women can find employment in export-led agriculture in cash crops, such as cocoa and cotton, and non-traditional exports, such as fruit and vegetables in some countries in the region, including Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal (FAO 2011a).
In Southern Africa, women are restricted to a narrower range of off-farm employment in rural areas (e.g. beer brewing, garments, food-processing) (Byrne 1994). Women are increasingly employed in non-traditional agricultural exports in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (Fontana with Paciello 2010).
Women do play an important role as workers in the non-traditional agro-export production sector and in packaging in Latin America. It is more difficult to assess their contribution to the more labour-intensive traditional agricultural sector, where many women work as seasonal labourers. Wages in both sectors tend to be low, and traditional work (such as harvest work) is piecework, encouraging the involvement of the whole family, including women and children. The agricultural industry is highly segmented by gender, with men occupying permanent positions and the vast majority of women being seasonal workers.
This seasonal employment is an indicator of an increase in the number of landless families.
In certain Latin American countries female mobile seasonal work has a strong ethnic component (Buechler 2004).
3 Risks and limitations to gender ambitions in P4P On the basis of the findings in Section 2 above, there are a number of general risks and limitations that needs to be considered when exploring more practical options for increasing women’s participation in P4P. The following sections explores these risks and limitations.
The fieldwork confirm these data for Ethiopia, Tanzania and Guatemala. ALINe has been unable to do field work in West Africa, but have had feedback from P4P staff in Burkina Faso
In the majority of cases, men are the nominal owners of the household assets, and therefore recognised as such both by law and custom. And although in some cases decisions are indeed taken jointly (i.e. by both husband and wife in the household), men usually do seem to have the prerogative of the ‘last word’. In West Africa, women tend to have better access to land (i.e. at least have use rights) and thus have better control over their production (see Sections 2.2.1 above and section 5.7.2 below). However, there is a lack of official data on the number of agricultural holders in West Africa and in some countries the percentages of FHHs are quite low.
The majority of women are unpaid family workers. They work on the family farm, regardless of the type of crop (cash crops and subsistence crops). Again, in West Africa, women do have access to private plots of land, but the extent to which they are able to focus their efforts on these is dependent on how much work there is to do on the main family plot.38 There are women head of households that this does not hold true for, but these women are in a minority (although in some countries a significant minority, as can be seen in Table 4 above). This group has not been studied in great detail by ALINe.
In both Africa and Latin America there are ‘gendered’ crops and ‘gendered’ activities.
That is, there are certain crops whose production process is totally controlled by women, with minimum interference from their husbands. This is particularly true in West Africa, as confirmed by feedback from P4P staff in Mali and Burkina Faso. See Section 5.7.2 for more details.
Women are also responsible for the marketing of the surplus of these activities, but not in large amounts. Women’s crops are produced on a small scale and for family consumption mostly. The surplus is sold in local markets, and the profit of the sale is used to buy food and fuel for family consumption. Hence the profit is reinvested in the household, and this is the only household income that women have some control over.
Fieldwork in Guatemala also reiterates women’s lack of land ownership. The major difference is that women do not engage in agricultural production to the same extent as women in African countries. Women’s contribution in Guatemala is far more limited, and reduced to very specific tasks, if at all.
3.2 The majority of women do not control crops procured through P4P The WFP basket of procured foods includes wheat, maize, blended foods39, rice, pulses, wheat flour, vegetable oil, maize meal, sugar, other40 and sorghum (in order of magnitude of purchase). This food basket is the same for P4P, although in Country Implementation Plans (CIPs) the focus has been on maize (71 per cent of procurement), but also rice, pulses, sorghum and corn soya blend (for more details see Section 5.7.2 and particularly Table 6 below). Considering the findings above, the main challenge of integrating women is that they do not tend to control the crops that WFP are currently focusing on (WFP 2010b). This is true for the majority of countries where P4P operates. In fact, the food basket limits the extent to which women can be targeted by the programme in that it does not include more processed food products and fresh produce such as vegetables. Again, the situation is slightly different in West Africa according to the literature and feedback from P4P in Mali and Burkina Faso, but further research is required to establish this, as gendered crops tend to vary from locality to locality and official data is lacking.
Consequently, P4P’s targets and indicators on women’s participation (50 per cent membership in farmer organisations) may be over ambitious. Women are engaged in agricultural activities that P4P can link to but ALINe’s field research so far highlights that only a small proportion of these women can be called smallholder farmers according to Feedback from P4P in Burkina Faso states that women do not view this situation as exploitative for cultural reasons.
Blended foods include: Corn Soya Blend (CSB), Corn Soya Blend Plus Plus (CSB++), High Energy Biscuits (HEB), Rice Soya Blend (RSB), Ready to Use Supplementary Foods (RUSF), Wheat Soya Blend (WSB) and High Energy Protein Supplement (HEPS) It is not clear what is included in the ‘other’ category, but the list of food tender awards include salt. We also make the assumption that this other include milk powder, but this may be incorrect. See http://www.wfp.org/procurement/food-tender-awards common definitions of farmers. These proportions vary between and within countries, meaning that local-level assessment of gender roles is imperative in order to plan and implement gender activities. In particular studying the needs of female headed households.
Recent data shows that female-headed households are not necessarily always poorer than male headed-households (Gürkan and Sanago 2009; FAO 2011a), but if they are they will face significant barriers to participation in P4P, in relation to the constraints described above.
3.3 The complex relationship between income and food security The WFP current Gender Policy explicitly reaffirms WFP’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment to support partner countries in addressing food and nutrition challenges sustainably. Fighting
hunger worldwide is WFP’s stated mission. There are two major components to this:
Nutrition and food security.
Resilience to shocks that may lead to food crisis and ultimately hunger.
Households must have a certain level of nutrition and food security in order to ensure an acceptable level of well-being, and they should be resilient enough to deal with shocks that may lead to food crisis.
P4P, an initiative of the WFP, invariably embraces the same mission. In P4P this is said to be done through improving small farmers’ livelihoods through procurement. Improved livelihoods are primarily measured through improvement in incomes, with a target of increasing incomes by US$50 per annum. However, the link between increased incomes and improvement in livelihoods is not straight forward. Livelihoods outcomes may include income, but also reduced vulnerability and increased resilience, improved food security, increased well-being and sustainable use of natural resources.41 Particularly, several studies have explored the relationship between increased income (through the commercialisation of subsistence economies) and increased food security, and point to the complexity of ensuring household food security and the need to consider the very many varying factors at play (see, for instance, Maxwell and Fernando 1989; Mason 2002; Glewwe et al 2001;
Penders and Staatz 2001; Smith and Haddad 2002; Webb and Lapping 2002; Ziervogel et al 2005; Mano 2006; Langat et al 2011).
For instance, ALINe’s investigation of a vegetable breeding grant in Tanzania found that promoting ‘income for development’ and ‘consumption for food security’ is not always compatible. Agricultural projects can boost farmers’ income (e.g. by promoting production of cash crops) or by boosting food consumption and nutrition in farming families directly (by promoting production of ‘subsistence’ crops). The former strategy is likely to reach middleincome farmers and is more likely to achieve greater developmental impact, while the latter strategy is more likely to reach low-income farmers and should achieve greater impact on household food security (Devereux and Longhurst 2010). WFP targets smallholder farmers with the potential to sell a surplus through P4P, but each country has adopted the country’s definition of smallholder. There is anecdotal evidence from ALINe’s fieldwork that that the distinction between the status of different farmers is often blurred and influenced by many For more information, see http://www.eldis.org/go/topics/dossiers/livelihoods-connect/what-arelivelihoods-approaches/livelihood-outcomes different variables. This complicates the approach to targeting. For instance, soil fertility is an important variable for productivity of a farm and the potential for a surplus. In Tanzania, farmers may own 5 to 10 hectares of land, but with poor soil fertility, whereas in fertile regions land holdings may be smaller, but more productive.
Additionally, there is a risk that increases in income may be insufficient to guarantee farmers’ food and nutrition security and to build their resilience, particularly if the poorest farmers are being targeted and staple crops are the focus. Resource-poor farmers are subject to a number of outside market forces that determine their well-being and increases in income may be swallowed up by increasing costs of inputs, particularly in the current economic climate (Foresight 2011).