CGIAR Gender News

Does focusing on women farmers with climate resilience strategies pay off?

 Peris Owiti, a farmer in Kenya Photo: C. Schubert/CCAFS

Women farmers around the world are a key constituency in agriculture and in efforts to build sustainable, climate-resilient food systems, yet they are often marginalized by or left out of agricultural extension services that tend to target men. Is this because it simply does not pay to target women farmers with advice on climate resilience strategies? Or is it just too difficult to reach women with the information channels that are currently in use?

An Aug. 29 virtual event, part of the 31st Triennial International Conference of Agricultural Economists, addressed these questions by presenting research results from IFPRI’s Reaching Smallholder Women with Information Services and Resilience Strategies to Respond to Climate Change project and hearing from practitioners in the field.

IFPRI Senior Research Fellow Carlo Azzarri presented data from four countries in Africa south of the Sahara to assess if gender-specific targeting and provision of agricultural extension services paid off, both in terms of increased agricultural productivity and in mitigating adverse climate shocks such as floods.

If women and men both receive extension advice, agricultural performance is increased in Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, the findings indicate. Productivity is higher when extension advice is received by the spouse who also manages the plot. Beneficial effects are largest when women and men farmers are targeted jointly and jointly manage the plot. Moreover, joint receipt of information and management of plots can lower the negative impacts of floods on agricultural incomes by 19%.