There is a renewed interest to close the agricultural productivity gap in Africa. Donors and African governments alike share this enthusiasm with the African Union declaring 2014 as the year of agriculture and food security, and for feeding Africa through new technologies. The call for an African green revolution is being made with a commitment to make smallholder farmers the core agents-of-change. Unlike other regions, women play a major role in agriculture in SSA and make up the majority of the smallholder farmers. Despite their centrality in agriculture, women's role continues to get second place in sub-Saharan Africa. This is reflected in the consistent gap experienced by women on landownership, access to skills, services, technology, finances, and infrastructure.
FAO estimates that closing the gender gap in agriculture will contribute to increase in agricultural productivity by 20-30% on women's farms and will reduce the number of hungry by 12-17 %. The current doctoral study focuses on investigating the role of gender in the uptake of technologies and improved practices for the sustainable intensification of maize-legume production. The doctoral research will be carried out based on a CIMMYT-led Sustainable Intensification project being implemented in east and southern Africa. The specific research objectives include
1. Investigating the attributes of the technologies and practices in sustainable agricultural intensification and the implication for their adoption by male and female farmers
2. Exploring how the returns from sustainable agricultural intensification are distributed
3. Studying the institutional environment of sustainable agricultural intensification and its gender implications
The study will contribute to an academic understanding of the role of gender and power relations in the uptake and effect of agricultural intensification measures. The study will also contribute to a more accurate understanding of the concept of gender productivity gap.