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Discriminatory effects of gender disparities in improved seed and fertilizer use at the plot-level in Malawi and Tanzania

Clifton Makate and Munyaradzi Mutenje

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 23, issue C

Abstract: This article adopts non-linear decomposition methods to evaluate gender disparities in improved seed and fertilizer use in the smallholder farming systems of Malawi and Tanzania. Using rich and representative plot-level data, results point to inequalities in access and use of improved seed and fertilizer between male and female plot managers. The gender gap in modern input use in Malawi is more pronounced than in Tanzania. The decomposition result for Malawi attributes differences in endowment factors as the key contributor to disparities in modern input use except for improved maize. These results suggest improving access to complementary farming resources and agricultural asset wealth among women farmers are important in reducing the agricultural input use gap. Although both endowment and structural factors significantly explained the disparities in modern input use in Tanzania, access to government extension contributed considerably to the non-discriminatory gap. These results suggest the need to enhance current efforts in empowering women farmers with vital resources, education, and gender-sensitive agriculture advisory services. The heterogeneous analysis revealed disparities in modern input use among women groups suggesting that policy intervention should also target vulnerable women groups, particularly single women in Malawi and poorer women in Tanzania. The structural component also underlined social norms and policies that do not address women's farmer needs in crop varieties, such as consumption and processing traits.

Keywords: Modern input use; Gender; Discrimination; Fairlie decomposition; Sub-Sahara Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100344

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