Presentation on theme: "The Collective Advantage: Farming Organisations and Gender Equality in Malawi Charlie Ager Scotland Malawi Partnership malawipartnership.org."— Presentation transcript:
The Collective Advantage: Farming Organisations and Gender Equality in Malawi Charlie Ager Scotland Malawi Partnership charlie@scotland- malawipartnership.org
An agrarian economy Increasing agricultural productivity is a key pillar in Malawi’s economic development and poverty reduction strategy The Malawi Government’s Growth and Development Strategy recognises ‘agriculture [as] the single most important sector of the economy’ (GoM, 2006:13).
Gender disparities IndicatorWomenMen Proportion of land ownership 3%97% Proportion of farm labour 70%30% Proportion of income from farm labour 20%80% Source: OPC, Gov of Malawi, 2009
Benefits of women’s participation 1. Improving agricultural productive capacity 1. raising women’s social status
Role of Farming Organisations (FOs) FOs offer a model of addressing such issues While the impact of FOs in mobilising agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers is generally well established, their impact on women’s engagement and empowerment has been less thoroughly examined.
Research questions What are the perceived barriers which limit women farmers’ full participation in the Malawian agricultural sector? Does membership to a farming organisation address these barriers?
Methodolgy 17 key informant interviews government officials non-governmental advisors FO lead farmers 5 focus groups with women engaged with FOs farmers clubs poultry, coffee and bee producers cooperatives
Barriers to participation identified by women farmers 1: Structural barriers Inequitable land ownership Restricted land control
Barriers to participation identified by women farmers 2: Material barriers Minimal and irrelevant extension services Shortage of credit Limited market access
Barriers to participation identified by women farmers 3: Socio-cultural barriers Triple roles Educational opportunities
Collective advantage of FOs 1: material barriers? securing economies of scale Available and relevant extension services Access to agricultural assets Identifying markets
Collective advantage of FOs 2: socio-cultural barriers? Building social capital and leadership opportunities Social cohesion and trust Leadership through democratic structures Advocacy role- community development
Collective advantage of FOs 3: structural barriers? Membership by User Rights, not Land Tenure Opportunity of reformed membership criteria Obstacle of fees Land reform
Land Reform The Malawi National Land Policy approved, 2002 Land Amendment Act drafted in 2004 President Joyce Banda, April 2012 “In the coming fiscal year, Government will scale up women economic empowerment activities by facilitating transition of women business groups into cooperatives to make them commercially viable; and intensifying efforts of linking the groups to industries, viable markets and financing services. Mr. Speaker, Sir, very soon, I will be launching the Presidential Initiative on poverty and hunger reduction which will among other things mobilise women to form cooperatives to grow cash crops.” ‘the one who has land has life’