Kenya: Survey of Female Farmers Uncovers Challenges
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
In Kenya, a gender-disaggregated agricultural survey targeting 2,500 households and 5,000 individuals in eight regions, seeks women’s input and data to inform agricultural policy. The survey shows that female farmers have limited access to finance, as few women own property they can use as collateral for loans. Another observation is that as agriculture becomes ’feminized’ and men abandon farms to work in cities.
The survey was conducted by Egerton University’s Tegemeo Institute between April and June 2011, and sponsored by the World Bank and the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture. World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist Andrew Karanja says the survey will help the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project better serve women. The survey’s findings will have implications for technology development. Agricultural extension services, too, might change substantially, he says.
The result shows that female farmers face costly inputs, such as high fertilizer costs, and slim profit margins. Also female farmers have limited access to finance, water and energy. The problem is excerbated as few women own property they can use as collateral for loans. Jane Wambul, one of the interviewed individuals, says yields on her 4-acre farm are decreasing because she can’t afford to buy the recommended amount of fertilizer. She says the price for fertilizer has risen from 300 shillings (about $3.25) for a 250 kg bag in 2005, to about 4,000 shillings (about $43) today. Government-subsidized fertilizer, at 2,500 ($26.90) a bag, is rarely available, she says.