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Women provide about 40% of agricultural labour in Africa (albeit with variations across countries), excluding time allocated to livestock, food processing and marketing. Most of that time is spent on crop production. Despite their widespread participation, they are systematically disadvantaged within the agricultural sector and value chains. Traditional gender norms and systemic barriers can often limit women’s time, resources and mobility and make it difficult for female farmers to invest in their production. These barriers prevent them from producing high-quality goods in sufficiently large quantities and take advantage of more lucrative market opportunities. In approaching this topic, it must be noted that conditions differ considerably betwee communities and across the continent. Nonetheless, patterns of inequity in access to resources and income can be observed. Working towards an even playing field requires a gender transformative approach and building on existing norms to strengthen women’s access to resources and opportunities in the agricultural sector.

This Policy Brief is based on the study: Njiraini G., Ngigi M., Baraké E. (2018) Women in African Agriculture: Integrating Women into Value Chains to Build a Stronger Sector. ZEF Working Paper No. 175.