Gendered impacts of and responses to shocks and stressors

Gender-responsive investments and policies in the agriculture and food security response to the crisis brought about by Russia’s war on Ukraine

Claudia Ringler
IFPRI

Following on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global food crisis resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine is exacerbating existing challenges in many low-income countries, including rising food, fuel and fertilizer costs. These price shocks threaten food security, access to healthy diets and people’s ability to rebound from multiple crises, including rebuilding savings and assets that were depleted to cope with the protracted COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that the impacts of these compounding crises are likely to have differential effects on women and men. To reduce the gender gap in resources to confront these crises and the resulting welfare outcomes will require pro-active, gender-responsive approaches.

Previous research shows that women are more likely to experience food insecurity following food price shocks, demonstrated by their reducing diversity of diets or abstaining from food consumption to make more food available to others in the family. Women also face greater challenges accessing agricultural inputs and resources; higher fertilizer and energy input prices can further constrain women’s access to inputs, exacerbating the gender productivity gap. At the same time, changes in production practices due to rising input costs may add to women’s already high labor and time burden; for example, when agrochemicals are replaced by weeding or motorized irrigation is replaced by manual water lifting.

This study uses phone survey data on the impacts of the Ukraine crisis, as well as evidence from other recent food price crises, and a roundtable to identify key gender impacts and measures that can reduce adverse gendered impacts.

The gendered impacts of COVID-19 in Kenya, Niger, Rwanda and Uganda: Evidence from phone surveys

Harriet Mawia
IFPRI

The COVID-19 pandemic had unprecedented effects on the lives and livelihoods of women and men in rural settings, where gender inequalities in access to and control over productive resources and economic opportunities persist. To identify and monitor the differential effects of the pandemic, IFPRI conducted phone surveys in Kenya, Niger, Rwanda and Uganda. The study investigated income disruptions, food insecurity, coping strategies and policy responses by respective governments during the pandemic. A descriptive analysis of the phone survey data was conducted using Stata software, and statistical tests were carried out to show differences between women and men respondents in their experiences with the pandemic and coping responses.

The findings indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic had far-reaching impacts on people living in rural areas of the study countries, including losses in income, depletion of savings and assets, and reduced access to food. While both women and men were affected by the pandemic, the ways women and men experienced and responded to COVID-19 varied. While many respondents reported challenges with food insecurity, few received any social protection. Most gender-sensitive measures and responses were geared toward combating increased incidences of gender-based violence, while far fewer aimed to secure women’s livelihoods to help them rebound from pandemic-related income losses. Given context-specific nuances in how the pathways of impact and coping responses play out differently for women and men, interventions should be designed while considering the needs of women and girls through a consultative process with relevant stakeholders.

Stressors within the cassava value chain in Nigeria: Preliminary evidence to strengthen gender-responsive breeding and inform resilience

Olaosebikan Olamide Deborah
IITA

This study investigates gender perspectives on climate change (CC) and conflict stressors within the cassava value chain (VC) in Nigeria.

Research question(s): A state of knowledge review identified the need to investigate coping strategies and the preferred stressor-related cassava traits by asking, “In what ways do gender roles and norms influence these factors?”

Methodology: Data elicited from 187 cassava farmers, 15 key informants and 63 VC focus group participants were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Key findings: The study validates CC as a key factor in increased conflicts. Farmer-herder clashes, communal clashes and land disputes exacerbate the emergence of farm burning and theft, and influence the kind of cassava food product made. This shapes stressor-related trait preferences like early re-emergence of leaves after grazing, short stem, ratooning potential and stem-longevity among women and men farmers, and multi-purpose suitability of roots among mainly women processors/marketers. Coping mechanisms include relocating farms, migration and fragmented farming among men, and choosing food with less processing steps, backyard farming, forcing daughters’ premature marriage, and dependence on remittances from husbands among women. Resilience capacity is generally low, but men have a higher overall resilience capacity (t = 5.45) and level of access to assets (t = 6.698) which facilitate coping strategies like relocating farms, migration and fragmented farming.

Relevance and implication of findings: Results present gendered coping strategies, corresponding stressor-related traits, as additional aspects important when evaluating the gender impact of breeding strategies concerning the positive benefits for, and possible harm to, cassava users (especially women) engaged in cassava VC activities.

Gendered differences in accessing and using climate-smart agricultural technologies in Tanzania

Eileen Bogweh Nchanji
ABC

This study assessed gender differences in the use of climate-smart agriculture among bean farmers in Tanzania. Descriptive and multivariate probit models were used to analyze data collected from 357 randomly selected bean farmers from Mbeya Rural and Mbozi districts. Results revealed gender differences in farmers’ vulnerability to production shocks, with higher frequencies of women and young farmers reporting climate change-related constraints than men. Adverse effects of climate change were more pronounced and gender-differentiated at the production level than at post-harvest and marketing levels, where significantly more women and young farmers were more affected than men. Men dominated climate-adaptation decision-making processes at the household level because of their ownership and control over access to land, and access to agricultural support services. Enhancing inclusive gender access to land and group-based approaches to information dissemination would be relevant in enabling men, women and young farmers to effectively respond to the effects of climate change.