The cost of the gender gap in agriculture productivity in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda

Results of a landmark study on the cost of a gender gap in agricultural productivity reveal a worrying trend that is bound to impact on Africa’s structural transformation according to a report showcased on the sidelines of the 2017 African Economic Conference held at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Co-published by UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme, The cost of the gender gap in agriculture productivity, provides results of research undertaken since 2015 in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The authors point out that addressing the gender gap is expected to lead to economic gains, reduce poverty levels and also improve nutrition in the countries. Typically, a male and female farmer with the same plot size farms end up with the woman having access to poorer quality inputs and technology, leading to lower productivity. Also contributing to the gender gap are women’s un-costed responsibility to family care, their unpaid labour on family plots run by male relatives, the women’s lack of access to male relative’s labour for her farmland, and the economic consequence of gender violence. The opportunity cost of doing unpaid care and domestic work also means that women are not free to seek other forms of paid work. This also has an impact of the productive labour supply, notes the report.