The Impact of New Crop Technology on the Agricultural Division of Labor in a West African Setting

The analysis of intrahousehold economics has received increasing attention during the past few years, as planner and policymakers have become increasingly aware that neither poverty nor development interventions affect al individuals in households uniformly. In particular, the dual issues of gender bias and intrahousehold inequalities, and their relationship to technological change in agricutlure, have become central concerns. This articles sets out to examine the impact of technological change in a West African environment (The Gambia) where a project introducing new technology in rice production (centralized pump irrigation) was specifically designed to address the issue of differential gender roles in farming. Rice was traditionally a "woman's crop". Today, despite attempts to preserve women's customary role in rice farming, changes in rice-production technology have seen rice become a male-controlled crop. We shall, therefore, consider how households in The Gambia organize their labor resources in agriculture toward production, storage, and crop disposal, as a result of the changing roles of men and women in rice production. The question to be examined is, What has happened to the division of labor in agriculture between women and men in communal and individual farming? An understanding of how technological change affects the distribution of resources at the intrahousehold level is essential both to a better understanding of how responsiveness to incentives might change in such complex West African farming systems.

Von Braun, J., & Webb, P. J. (1989). The impact of new crop technology on the agricultural division of labor in a West African setting. Economic development and cultural change, 37(3), 513-534.
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Journal Article
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