A. H. Ong’ayo1*, J. B., Ndiso2 and F.W. Namasaka3
1Department of Environmental Studies-Community Development,
2Department of Crop Science, 3Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Education Technology, Pwani University, P. O. Box 195, Kilifi
Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org :0722617028
The nature and extent of gender inequality and the conditions for farmer empowerment vary across countries, communities and regions. Although the status of women in agriculture has received extensive attention in the literature in recent decades, a research gap persists regarding the state of gender disparity in Farmers Field Schools (FFS) in Kilifi Sub-County. The study of gender disparity in FFS, an experiential learning approach whose outcome is to empower both men and women farmers with agricultural technologies is fundamental. Five FFS comprising of a total of 225 respondents were purposively selected for the study. Structured questionnaire and Focus Group Discussion guide were used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. Content Analysis was used to analyze data. The results reveal several factors that support or contradict the conventional narratives of gender disparity in group formed to participate in implementation of FFS. In all five FFS, it was noted that although FFS provides a conducive environment for participants’ experiential learning on new agricultural technologies, over 90% group members are women. Women are the mangers of productive resources such as land and inputs, and custodians of household food stores. The less than 10% men are due to the socio-cultural norms and value that dictate that as household heads, they should engage in income generating activities for immediate monetary household needs. Men find the FFS approach inclined more to farming, an activity considered to be women’s primary obligation and engaging in it will compromise their status as household heads. These findings imply that gender disparity observed in FFS approach caused by socio-cultural norms and values hinder farmer empowerment aimed at increasing agricultural production for food security. The development agencies should hold education forums to sensitize the community that achieving food security is a mirage without joint synergies from both women and men.
Keywords: Empowerment, Farmers Field Schools, gender disparity, socio-cultural factors