This paper examines the conditions and factors that create opportunities for women to engage in market-oriented crop production. It uses as a case study of Nasarawa and Kwara states in northern Nigeria, where women have started to cultivate sweetpotato, a crop traditionally grown by men. Men's responsibility for providing staple food crops for household consumption (based on religious and cultural norms) and the practice of spouses cultivating separate plots controlled by the individual presented opportunities for women to produce sweetpotato for the market, challenging the commonly-held assumption that commercialization often disadvantages women. The sweetpotato case shows how the dynamic nature of production organization, intra-household roles and responsibilities, and gender ideologies in Sub-Saharan Africa make it difficult to predict how men and women farmers respond to market signals. The study finds that sweetpotato is generally a more important source of income for women than for men due to the crop's relatively low labor requirements and short maturity time. Yet despite strong female economic autonomy, women in the study locations face major gender-related structural constraints in crop production that are likely to restrict them from engaging in medium- or large-scale production.
Getting a piece of the pie: An analysis of factors influencing women's production of sweetpotato in Northern Nigeria
David, S. (2015). Getting a piece of the pie: An analysis of factors influencing women's production of sweetpotato in Northern Nigeria. Journal of Gender, Agriculture, and Food Security. 1:1; 1-19.