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Understanding Gender-Specific Constraints to Agricultural Technology: Evidence from Cassava Farming in Kenya

Agriculture Kenya
Agriculture in West Kenya 2

Agriculture in Western Kenya. Credit: Susana Secretariat

Women farmers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) tend to have lower levels of agricultural productivity than men. A common explanation for this is that women farmers adopt new technologies more slowly. Given that agricultural technology  adoption has proved critical in increasing yields in Sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the developing world (Muzari, Gatsi & Muvhunzi, 2012), an important question is why women do not adopt agricultural technologies at a similar rate to men.

This pilot study in Kenya compares the effects of two leading explanations for why this could be. The first is that female farmers have less access to agricultural input technologies. The second is that female farmers receive less information about these new technologies. This pilot examines the feasibility of a randomized evaluation to measure the relative impact of providing female farmers with easy access to cassava seeds versus accessing extension information provided by female lead farmers. Quantifying the relative effects of policies that aim to reduce these two leading constraints can be useful to policymakers that want to increase technology adoption among female farmers, but face resource constraints. Results forthcoming.

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