Bringing Gender Issues into Agricultural Technology Design: Shaping breeding investments

This session will discuss gender issues in the design of agricultural technology with emphasis on breeding. It will cover the theoretical background behind the need to address gender in technology design as a fundamental component of equality and inclusion. The case studies illustrate multiple angles of how gender interplays with varietal and trait preferences and the need to build a solid evidence base to inform technology design processes and scaling. The panel will start by presenting results of a working paper on “Gender Sensitive design of CGIAR technologies” with an overview of tools and methods available to address technology design through a gender and inclusion lens. Secondly it will build on a specific technical area “breeding” by describing existing evidence and gaps. Thirdly, building on the evince gaps, specific cases will describe how they have addressed the challenges.


Vivian Polar, International Potato Center (CIP and CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas


Ida Arff Tarjem, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Tools and methods at the interface of gender and agricultural technology design and evaluation
This paper will explore methods and tools at the interface of gender and agricultural technology, covering technology design, implementation, scaling and evaluation. It provides a systematic overview of gender-responsive tools and methods that operate across the agricultural innovation cycle. Four key areas are explored, identifying tools and methods for: a) assessing gender differences in preferences and demand; b) identifying drivers of and constraints to technology adoption and the roles of gender indicators; c) evaluating gendered impacts of technologies; and d) evaluation of impact of gender-intentional deployment of technologies. Using the pool of methods and tools curated, the paper and proposed presentation identifies both methodological and thematic gaps, as well as innovative and “good practice” elements and lessons learned in and of existing tools and methods, along with recommendations for scaling, improvements and re-design. Accordingly, the paper contributes toward an improved understanding of the co-constructed relationship between gender and agricultural innovation and technology, and suggests how researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers may shape this relationship in more socially inclusive ways and towards more socially constructive ends.


Vanya Slachevska, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Cassava in Vietnam


Hale Ann Tufan, Cornell University, USA

Beyond “women’s traits”: Analyzing gender and social differences for inclusive crop varietal design
The process of crop improvement is rapidly shifting globally. Borrowing frames of thinking from the private sector, public sector crop breeding programs are shifting towards “market intelligent” or “demand-driven” crop varietal design. This intention of responding to producer, processor and consumer demand, and market dynamics has brought greater attention to the need of gender+ focused value chain analyses, trait preference studies and on farm trials. In the midst of this change, there is a growing need for innovation in methods, as well as bigger picture thinking around how to integrate different streams of qualitative and quantitative social science research, and interpret findings to guide crop breeding. This presentation outlines an integrated and interdisciplinary approach piloted under the Nextgen Cassava project in Nigeria and Uganda. Results shown will outline experiences with new methods to capture the relationship between gender and social difference, trait preference, and on farm varietal choice. We draw from past qualitative gendered food mapping and trait focused studies, quantitative marketing tools for conjoint analysis, and lastly citizen science on farm trials. Our results illustrate the high variability and complexity arising from considering social differences, as well as household level information such as food security status and poverty level create a challenge for breeding programs to prioritize their varietal design processes.


Bela Teeken, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Cassava Nigeria


Eileen B. Nchanji, Alliance Bioversity-CIAT

Gender-responsive Participatory Variety Selection in Kenya: Implications for common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) breeding in Kenya


Sarah Mayanja, International Potato Center (CIP)

Prioritising quality traits for gender-responsive breeding for boiled potato in Uganda
Using quantitative, qualitative and sensorial data collected from western (Kabale) and central (Rakai) Uganda, this paper identifies and describes gender-responsive traits preferred in varieties for the boiled potato market. These traits are aggregated into a product profile to support breeding programme design and decision-making that will increase probability of variety acceptance. An interdisciplinary and participatory methodology was used to collect data on socio-economic on trait preferences, processing and organoleptics and finally, to develop a lexicon through a sensorial panel. Characteristics that were important to both men and women, such as red skin and yellow flesh, are linked to market preferences. Women-only preferred characteristics such as big size and mealiness are linked to processing efficiency and eating quality. Besides agronomic traits, breeders must consider factors such as gender roles, social norms, and market preferences traits that guide farmers and other food chain actors in their selection of new varieties.


Dina Najjar, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)

Does class trump gender? The case of trait preferences in lentil crop in Ethiopia