Logo

Analysing impact of groundnut commercialisation and gender dynamics on food security

An e-dialogue was convened by the Agricultural Policy Research Programme (APRA) to analyse the dynamics of agricultural commercialisation and agrarian change across East, West and Southern Africa

groundnuts commercialisation 17 febIt was discussed that women need to be put into policymaking positions at all levels so they can become agents of change. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The event was held in partnership with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Foresight4Food (F4F). It began with participants engaging in three parallel regional presentations and discussions and culminated in a continental-level panel involving expert commentators and audience questions.

The Southern Africa session began with four presentations, highlighting key regional concerns. Mirriam Matita, APRA Malwai country lead and Economics PhD Student at the University of Malawi, began the proceedings by analysing lessons learned regarding groundnut commercialisation and livelihood trajectories in Malawi, and was followed by Loveness Msofi, lecturer at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who spoke on gender and social dynamics in commercialisation in Malawi. 

Toendepi Shonhe, agricultural political economist at the University of South Africa, then looked at agricultural commercialisation, changing labour regimes, and rural transformation in Zimbabwe, before Chrispen Sukume, APRA Zimbabwe country lead and co-administrator at Zimbabwe’s Livestock and Meat Advisory Council, examined the impact of smallholder tobacco commercialisation on food security in the region.

Sustainability in inclusivity

Following these insights, expert commentator Kezia Batisai, associate professor at the University of Johannesburg, highlighted key shifts required to support agricultural transformation in the region. These include addressing the informality of the sector’s development due to poor execution of policy, ensuring any change to agricultural commercialisation is inclusive, sustainable and permanent, and directing resources to those who have historically been marginalised because of a lack of political power and connections.

Batisai also noted the need for gendered responses, as women land owners are currently struggling with gendered intergenerational land transfer biased towards male inheritance, often pushing women to the margins. “There’s a narrative that women are an add-on. There’s no deliberate effort to incorporate them more,” she said. “We need to pay more attention to marginality and put women at the forefront.” 

 Addressing the labour question

Next, Mutopo moved on to address another critical question of labour. She presented several myths that exist in Zimbabwe, including that there is a shortage of farm labour (when, in reality, unemployment is very high in many African countries), and that people working on farms solely do just that – when, in fact, most people are engaged in a number of diversified, income-generating activities.

During the general discussion, Matita also argued for the need to tailor solutions to different kinds of farmers; for example, smallholders versus those with large-scale operations. “We should not be treating smallholders the same as others,” she stated. “Smallholder farmers are participating in markets but barely surviving. They need greater support.”

To finish, Ian Scoones, co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre of the Institute of Development Studies, highlighted that commercialisation is a complex process with no single trajectory, and that there is a need for wider and more agile policies to promote and enable commercialisations. “Commercialisation is non-linear and related to a variety of circumstances. Policies need to reflect this,” he added.

 A wider perspective 

Following the regional discussions, participants and speakers from each region came together to share key points and draw conclusions on a continental scale. Many focused on the issue of gender, with Mutopo calling on the group to consider the ‘missing women’, and the need to engage them rather than consider them as victims. Janice Olawoye, Professor at the University of Ibadan, noted that when the incomes of women farmers rise, health and educational outcomes improve. Batisai added that women need to be put into policymaking positions at all levels so they can become agents of change.

Closing remarks came from Ken Giller, professor of Plant Production Systems at Wageningen University. He highlighted several key action points, including the need to raise awareness of these issues among governments and policymakers, and the necessity of finding solutions that are flexible and can be adapted to a wide diversity of contexts. 


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

African food imports bill predicted to double by 2030

African food imports bill predicted to d…

Experts have warned that the cost of Africa’s yearly food imports could increase from US$50bn to US$110bn by 2030 if immediate measures aren’t taken to increase food production

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spotlight

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spot…

On August 22, the 23rd session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, hosted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo opened in Kinshasa, putting the future...

Boosting investment for Africa-made cotton

Boosting investment for Africa-made cott…

At a partner’s conference on cotton, jointly organised with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), donors were urged to mobilise resources for new partnerships.   

Nature-based solutions help farmers in Ghana

Nature-based solutions help farmers in G…

Organic pesticides, waste-based fertilisers and forest regeneration are just a few of the green initiatives being employed in Ghana to boost farming communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate...

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Saharan Africa

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Sa…

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is set to fast track an impact-oriented project in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America for digital soil nutrient mapping, after...

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double rice production to curb food insecurity

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double…

President Adama Barrow has received a delegation led by the Korean Ambassador to The Gambia, HE Kim Ji-Joon, at the State House in Banjul to announce the delivery of sample rice...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

AfDB extends grant to boost agricultural value chains in Mozambique

AfDB extends grant to boost agricultural…

The African Development Bank (AfDB), with financing from the Italian Technical Cooperation Fund, has provided a US$1.1mn grant to help smaller agro-processing enterprises boost production and quality control

Nutreco and Unga Group to expand footprint in East Africa

Nutreco and Unga Group to expand footpri…

Nutreco has formed two joint ventures with the Kenya-based, feed miller in East Africa Unga Group Plc to meet the growing demand for high-quality protein within the East African region

TİKA supports female producers from Nigeria

TİKA supports female producers from Nige…

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) provided booths and equipment to the Nigerian Confederation of Female Producers, which represented Niger at the 12th edition of SAFEM, held by the Agency...

Organic farming driving change in sub-Saharan Africa

Organic farming driving change in sub-Sa…

Dr Benoy Berry, chairman, Contec Global, speaks to African Farming about the company's role in transforming agricultural practices through biotechnologies

Tropics susceptible to soil erosion: International study

Tropics susceptible to soil erosion: Int…

Regions located in the tropical climate zones suffer the greatest rainfall-related soil erosion, according to a study published in Scientific Reports, an online open access scientific mega journal

Tanzanian farmer demonstrates potential of greenhouse farming

Tanzanian farmer demonstrates potential …

A tomato greenhouse farm, constructed with local materials in Dar es Salaam, has elicited huge interest in Tanzania

Food price index continues rise in June

Food price index continues rise in June

International food commodity prices shot up 4.2 per cent in June, the highest monthly increase in the last four years

FAO gains in fight against Desert Locusts in East Africa and Yemen

FAO gains in fight against Desert Locust…

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) QU Dongyu, said that significant gains had been made in the fight against the desert locust upsurge...

USAID-Ethiopian airlines to source food from local farmers for in-flight meals

USAID-Ethiopian airlines to source food …

Ethiopian Airlines and the United States have announced a new partnership agreement that will enable the flagship carrier of the nation to produce locally grown products and ingredients for preparing...

Tanzania looks to boost coffee output in 2015

Tanzania looks to boost coffee output in…

Coffee harvests in Tanzania are projected to increase to more than 60,000 tonnes in the 2015 season, up from 40,000 tonnes in the same period last year, said the Tanzania...

Sweden steps up to help farmers, herders in Africa's Sahel region

Sweden steps up to help farmers, herders…

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that Sweden will support dought-hit farmers and herders in the Sahel region of Africa

US$1.6bn urgently needed to protect 5.4 mn Somalis from unprecedented drought

US$1.6bn urgently needed to protect 5.4 …

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, launched by the humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, calls for US$1.6bn to protect the lives of 5.4 million Somalis

Prev Next

Template Design © Joomla Templates | GavickPro. All rights reserved.