, managing farms on a day-to-day basis.
If these women are to carry out their extensive and multifaceted roles in agriculture and respond to market incentives more efficiently, they need effective agricultural extension services. Yet the evidence clearly shows that, despite a growing awareness of the need to reach womenfarmers, these services—considered to be a prerequisite for widespread and sustained agricultural development—are generally geared toward male farmers. This is sometimes by design, but more often by default. Bias is evident in the delivery of extension
agricultural extension and water supply is also promising.
Efforts being made to strengthen women’s groups include measures to improve their management and logistical capacity, and to federate local groups into larger entities that are more easily dealt with by government or large nongovernmental organizations.
The central challenge to sustaining growth in Kenya is to equip its farmers for higher productivity. Agriculture employs three quarters of the Kenyan labor force and supplies about 70 percent of export earnings. Smallholdings are the core of
not necessary to wait until the capacity or the commitment exists to do everything. Just addressing two or three related issues or sectors often proves useful by demonstrating the feasibility, acceptability, and benefits for economic development of efforts to include women. It is often quite possible, for example, to make productive inputs, credit, and information more readily available to womenfarmers and rural or urban entrepreneurs, to expand or improve education at primary and secondary levels, and to strengthen local maternal health and family planning
that competed for the beneficiaries’ time and interest.
In many cases lack of information and focus on womenfarmers had serious consequences. In many developing countries, more than half the agricultural work on small farms is done by women. Even though about one rural development project in three included activities designed for women, these activities typically did not recognize women’s role as farmers but concentrated more on their roles as mothers and homemakers. Womenfarmers have often had difficulty in gaining access to improved technology, not only because
. To date, however, the banks and development agencies have seldom focused on this type of strategic agricultural planning.
They would need to be able to help farmers—especially womenfarmers—adapt the centers’ research for use in different ecological and cultural situations. National and regional farmers’ groups, international NGOs, and even socially oriented private companies could become new allies for the centers.
They should include groups outside the usual scientific circles within which the centers operate, while sharing the centers’ vision, so that they