Why is transformation needed in this program area?

Women play a significant role in the Ethiopian agricultural economy, which is predominantly smallholder driven. The nature of smallholder farming is such that production is organized around households rather than as enterprises and thus draws on labor primarily from household members. As such, women’s roles and responsibilities are critical but mostly unrecognized or unsupported by technology.

Women, both in married households and heading their own households, therefore face challenges that hinder their effectiveness and efficiency in the production process, as well as in the delivery of responsibilities within the household. Issues still exist in women’s overall access to farm assets and inputs, the double work burden, and the perceived lack of control of production at the household level.
Female heads of household are typically less endowed and lack access to productive resources (including credit, fertilizer, labor, technologies, animal draft and seed), manage smaller plots, seldom use rented land for production and have lower levels of market involvement. In addition, they have less participation in rural groups and less access to extension advisory services.

Married women are less engaged in farmer organizations such as cooperatives, often have insufficient engagement with agricultural advisory services, have limited knowledge of improved technologies, and limited decision-making abilities within the household.

Overall, cultural norms and practices have a significant impact on the availability of the resources as well as the level of engagement of women in the agriculture sector. This has resulted in Ethiopian female farmers producing on average of 23% less than their male counterparts.4 Therefore, for agricultural transformation to be broad based and inclusive it must specifically address the issues of gender equality.

What are the objectives of this program area during GTP II?

In general the program aims to support the gender mainstreaming agenda being promoted by the Ethiopian Government. It includes three inter-related objectives, namely to (1) Ensure the provision of agricultural inputs (e g. fertilizers, seed, credit, etc.) and technologies are made available equitably to female and male farmers including women in male headed households, (2) Ensure agricultural advisory services and targeted support are provided to both female headed as well as women in married households, and (3) Enhance institutional and human resource capacity for gender mainstreaming among all stakeholders.

What are the focus areas of this program?

Gender equality is to be mainstreamed throughout most of the program areas of the transformation agenda. Some specific focus areas for this program are as follows: (1) Strengthening human resource capacity of agriculture sector stakeholders to address gender inequality issues through awareness raising (for example, experience sharing either in country or outside, mentorship, training programs and events), and by building the knowledge base on gender equality issues through conducting studies and monitoring and evaluation, (2) the introduction of institutional innovations (including gender platforms, regular processes for gender related studies, guidelines and strategies) within relevant agriculture sector institutions to promote gender equality in Ethiopian agriculture, (3) the development and enhancement of policies, strategies and guidelines to facilitate the mainstreaming of gender issues in the sector.

4World Bank and ONE (2014) Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa