Female Access to Fertile Land and Other Inputs in Zambia: Why Women Get Lower Yields

Citation:

Burke, William J., Serena Li, and Dingiswayo Banda. 2018. “Female Access to Fertile Land and Other Inputs in Zambia: Why Women Get Lower Yields.” Agriculture and Human Values 35: 761–75.

Authors: William J. Burke, Serena Li, Dingiswayo Banda

Abstract:

Throughout the developing world, it is a well-documented fact that women farmers tend to get lower yields than their male counterparts. Typically this is attributed to disproportionate access to high-quality inputs and labor, with some even arguing there could be a skills-gap stemming from unbalanced access to training and education. This article examines the gender-based yield gap in the context of Zambian maize producers. In addition to the usual drivers, we argue that Zambia’s patriarchal and multi-tiered land distribution system could disfavor women with respect to accessing quality soils. We are uniquely able to control for soil characteristics using farm data from a sample of 1573 fields with accompanying soil analysis. We find an expected difference in yields, but no evidence of a gap in unobserved characteristics, like skill, after controlling for access to inputs, especially quality soil, suggesting women are indeed disproportionately disadvantaged. We discuss how our findings could be used to develop self-targeting policy interventions that could empower women and would be consistent with the government’s stated equity goals.

Keywords: gender yield gap, productivity, soil quality, Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Patriarchy, Land Tenure Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2018

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