Advertisement

Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 761–775 | Cite as

Female access to fertile land and other inputs in Zambia: why women get lower yields

  • William J. Burke
  • Serena Li
  • Dingiswayo Banda
Article
  • 172 Downloads

Abstract

Throughout the developing world, it is a well-documented fact that women farmers tend to get lower yields than their male counterparts. Typically this is attributed to disproportionate access to high-quality inputs and labor, with some even arguing there could be a skills-gap stemming from unbalanced access to training and education. This article examines the gender-based yield gap in the context of Zambian maize producers. In addition to the usual drivers, we argue that Zambia’s patriarchal and multi-tiered land distribution system could disfavor women with respect to accessing quality soils. We are uniquely able to control for soil characteristics using farm data from a sample of 1573 fields with accompanying soil analysis. We find an expected difference in yields, but no evidence of a gap in unobserved characteristics, like skill, after controlling for access to inputs, especially quality soil, suggesting women are indeed disproportionately disadvantaged. We discuss how our findings could be used to develop self-targeting policy interventions that could empower women and would be consistent with the government’s stated equity goals.

Keywords

Gender yield gap Productivity Soil quality Sub-Saharan Africa Zambia 

Abbreviations

CSO

Central Statistical Office (Zambia)

ha

Hectares

IAPRI

Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute

kg

Kilograms

MAL

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock

OLS

Ordinary least squares

RALS

Rural Agricultural Livelihood Survey

SOM

Soil organic matter

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

ZNFU

Zambia National Farmers Union

Notes

Acknowledgements

Our foremost gratitude is to the participants in the 2012 Rural Agricultural Livelihoods Survey and the key informants at the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Gender and Child Development, and focus group participants during the spring of 2015. We thank IAPRI for collecting and sharing the data used for this study. We thank Roz Naylor, Danielle Nierenberg, Wally Falcon, Agnes Quisumbing, two anonymous reviewers, the editor and participants of a special session of the 2016 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association annual meeting for useful comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10460_2018_9872_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Online Appendix 1 (DOCX 28 KB)

References

  1. Adesina, A. A., and K. K. Djato. 1997. Relative efficiency of women as farm managers: profit function analysis in Coˆte d’Ivoire. Agricultural Economics 16(1): 47–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguilar, A., E. Carranza, M. Goldstein, T. Kilic, and G. Oseni. 2015. Decomposition of gender differentials in agricultural productivity in Ethiopia. Agricultural Economics 46: 311–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alozie, N. O., and P. Akpan-Obong. 2017. The digital gender divide: Confronting obstacles to women’s development in Africa. Development Policy Review 35: 137–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke, W. J., E. Frossard, S. Kabwe, and T. S. Jayne. 2016. Understanding fertilizer effectiveness and adoption on maize in Zambia. International Development Working Paper 147, Michigan State University Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, East Lansing.Google Scholar
  5. Burke, W. J., T. S. Jayne, and J. R. Black. 2017. Factors explaining the low and variable profitability of fertilizer application to maize in Zambia. Agricultural Economics 48(1): 115–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Brauw, A., Q. Li, C. Liu, S. Rozelle, and L. Zhang. 2008. Feminization of agriculture in China? Myths surrounding women’s participation in farming. The China Quarterly 194: 327–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Falola, T., and N. A. Amponsah. 2012. Women’s roles in sub-Saharan Africa. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Fuentes, D. O., and H. Wiig. 2009. Closing the gender land gap: the effects of land-titling for women in Peru. Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research Working Paper No. 2009:120. Oslo.Google Scholar
  9. Gilbert, R. A., W. D. Sakala, and T. D. Benson. 2002. Gender analysis of a nationwide cropping system trial survey in Malawi. African Studies Quarterly 6: 223–243.Google Scholar
  10. Goldstein, M., and C. Udry. 1999. Agricultural innovation and resource management in Ghana. Final report to IFPRI under MP17. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  11. Honig, L., and B. P. Mulenga. 2015. The status of customary land and the future of smallholder farmers under the current land administration system in Zambia. Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute Working Paper no. 101. Lusaka, Zambia.Google Scholar
  12. Horrell, S., and P. Krishnan. 2007. Poverty and productivity in female-headed households in Zimbabwe. Journal of Development Studies 43(8): 1351–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jayne, T. S., N. M. Mason, W. J. Burke, and J. Ariga. 2018. Taking stock of Africa’s second-generation agricultural input subsidy programs. Food Policy 75: 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jones, A., H. Breuning-Madsen, and M. Brossard, et al. 2013. Soil atlas of Africa. European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union. Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  15. Karamba, R. W., and P. C. Winters. 2015. Gender and agricultural productivity: Implications of the Farm Input Subsidy Program in Malawi. Agricultural Economics 46: 357–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kilic, T., P. Winters, and C. Carletto. 2015. Gender and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to the special issue. Agricultural Economics 46: 281–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Larson, D. F., S. Savastano, S. Murray, and A. Palacios-Lopez. 2015. Are women less productive farmers? How markets and risk affect fertilizer use, productivity, and measured gender effects in Uganda. Policy Research Working Paper 7241, Development Research Group. The World Bank, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  18. Marenya, P. P., and C. B. Barrett. 2009a. Soil quality and fertilizer use rates among smallholder farmers in Western Kenya. Agricultural Economics 40(5): 561–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marenya, P. P., and C. B. Barrett. 2009b. State-conditional fertilizer yield response on Western Kenyan farms. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 91(4): 991–1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mason, R., P. Ndlovu, J. R. Parkins, and M. K. Luckert. 2015. Determinants of food security in Tanzania: Gendered dimensions of household headship and control of resources. Agriculture and Human Values 32(3): 539–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Matsumoto, T., and T. Yamano. 2013. Optimal fertilizer use on maize production in East Africa”. In Emerging development of agriculture in East Africa: Markets, soil, and innovations, eds. T. Yamano, K. Otsuka and F. Place, New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Oseni, G., P. Corral, M. Goldstein, and P. Winters. 2015. Explaining gender differentials in agricultural production in Nigeria. Agricultural Economics 46: 285–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sitko, N. J., J. Chamberlin, and M. Hichaambwa. 2014. Does smallholder land titling facilitate agricultural growth? An analysis of the determinants and effects of smallholder land titling in Zambia. World Development 64: 791–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith, W. L., and R. Naylor. 2014. Land institutions and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. In The evolving sphere of food security, ed. R. L. Naylor, 202–235. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Tiruneh, A., T. Tesfaye, W. Mwangi, and H. Verkuijl. 2001. Gender differentials in agricultural production and decision-making among smallholders in Ada, Lume and Gimbichu Woredas of the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. CIMMYT and the Ethiopian Research Organization. El Baton, Mexico.Google Scholar
  26. Udry, C. 1996. Gender, agricultural production, and the theory of the household. Journal of Political Economy 104(5): 1010–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wooldridge, J. 2002. Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. Zambia Agriculutral Research Institute (ZARI). 2002. Maize production guide. In Permian exploration, boundaries, and stratigraphy, eds. G. C. Kaitisha, P. Gondwe, M. V. Mukwavi, and G.M. Kaula. Mt. Makulu, Zambia: Soils and Crops Research, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.Google Scholar
  29. Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU). 2013. Time to give women farmers prominence is now. http://www.znfu.org.zm/article/time-give-women-farmers-prominence-now. Accessed 7 June 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Burke
    • 1
  • Serena Li
    • 2
  • Dingiswayo Banda
    • 3
  1. 1.Agricultural and Food Policy ConsultingBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Woods Institute for the EnvironmentStanford UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Ministry of Agriculture and LivestockMulungushi HouseLusakaZambia

Personalised recommendations