The use of modern seed varieties and other improved technologies is essential for farmers to significantly increase their crop harvest and improve their livelihoods. All over Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture productivity growth has remained very low over many decades irrespective of gender of the farmer. However, studies have shown that women farmers fare worse than the male counterparts in terms of adoption of improved technology and productivity. This gender gap in technology adoption curtails agricultural development because women in developing countries such as Zambia play a significant role in agriculture and food production.
Although there are many studies on technology adoption and productivity difference by gender, the links between gender and productivity is likely to vary across cultures and over time, hence the need to carry out this study in the Zambian context. Some studies have found that productivity differences between men and women could be explained by the difference in the rate of adoption of improved technology, the intensity with which the inputs are used as well as resource differences.
Using nationally representative household panel survey data supplemented by results from focus group discussions, this paper explores the factors contributing to gender differences in technology adoption and the effectiveness with which inputs are used to produce an output (technical efficiency) by men and women famers. The study provides answers the following questions:
1. Are there any gender differences in access and use of productivity resources among smallholder farmers in Zambia?
2. What are the factors that contribute to the gender differences in technology adoption?
3. What is the extent to which gender differences in access to inputs such as land, labor, credit, and extension services contribute to lower rates of adoption of improved technologies among women farmers?
4. Does the presence of a male-head in a household affect the adoption behavior of women smallholder farmers?
5. Are there any gender differences in crop production efficiency?
As opposed to the traditional way of using gender of the household head to determine the gender differences in technology adoption and productivity, our analysis is able to discern at household level the plot decision makers. Furthermore, we take into consideration women in male- and female-headed households to evaluate their adoption behavior.
Authors and Publishers
Established in October 2011, the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) is a non-profit Zambian company limited by guarantee which collaboratively works with public and private stakeholders in the agricultural sector. IAPRI is led by a local Board of Directors drawn from various state and private sector stakeholders.
Our Vision: To be the Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Policy Research and Outreach in Zambia.