How Does Gender Affect Sustainable Intensification of Cereal Production in the West African Sahel? Evidence from Burkina Faso

Better understanding of gender differences in the adoption of agricultural intensification strategies is crucial for designing effective policies to close the gender gap while sustainably enhancing farm productivity. We examine gender differences in adoption rates, likelihood and determinants of adopting strategy sets that enhance yields, protect crops, and restore soils in the West African Sahel, based on analysis of cereal production in Burkina Faso. Applying a multivariate probit model to a nationally representative household panel, we exploit the individual plot as unit of analysis and control for plot manager characteristics along with other covariates. Reflecting the socio-cultural context of farming combined with the economic attributes of inputs, we find that female managers of individual cereal fields are less likely than their male counterparts to adopt yield-enhancing and soil-restoring strategies, although no differential is apparent for yield-protecting strategies. More broadly, gender-disaggregated regressions demonstrate that adoption determinants differ by gender. Plot manager characteristics, including age, marital status, and access to credit or extension services do influence adoption decisions. Furthermore, household resources influence the probability of adopting intensification strategy sets differently by gender of the plot manager. Variables expressing the availability of household labor strongly influence the adoption of soil-restoring strategies by female plot managers. By contrast, household resources such as extent of livestock owned, value of non-farm income, and area planted to cotton affect the adoption choices of male plot managers. Rectifying the male bias in extension services along with improving access to credit, income, and equipment to female plot managers could contribute to sustainable agricultural intensification.

Doss, C. R. and Morris, M. L. (2000), How does gender affect the adoption of agricultural innovations?. Agricultural Economics, 25: 27–39. doi:10.1111/j.1574-0862.2001.tb00233.x
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