March 17, 2017 - Impacts and policy implications of the adoption of agricultural technologies in East Africa, with a special focus on gender, were discussed with more than 40 key stakeholders during a special half-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.
Organized jointly by PEP and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), the workshop was held as part of the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) initiative, highlighting the research findings from four STAARS studies. The studies investigate various facets of agricultural technology adoption and impact in Kenya and Tanzania.
Prof. Jane Mariara, Executive Director of PEP, provided the welcome remarks, explaining the role of PEP and the STAARS consortium. She also set out the aims of the workshop: to share findings from STAARS and icipe research on Gender and adoption of agricultural technologies in East Africa, to discuss policy implications with local policy actors and key stakeholders, to refine policy recommendations, and share these with the relevant policymakers.
The first presentation was by Dr. Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia regarding the “Adoption and dis-adoption of improved maize varieties in Tanzania”. He showed how the most important factors for the adoption and dis-adoption of improved maize seeds are age, education level, animal ownership, location, and yield. Based on his findings, he suggested that policymakers target younger farmers with incentives to encourage adoption of improved seed varieties as they are more likely to be receptive than older farmers.
Dr. Menale Kassie presented the second study looking the question “Does adoption of push-pull technology induce productivity growth and aggregate poverty reduction?” through a case study in western Kenya. The findings of this study indicate that using push-pull technology to prevent pests attacking cereal crops can help significantly improve food security and reduce poverty in Kenya.
The third study, on “Does gender matter in adoption of sustainable agricultural technologies? A case of push-pull technology in Kenya” was presented by Beatrice Muriithi. She explained that in the case of push-pull technology there was no difference in the adoption levels of men and women, however, gender differences are evident in the adoption levels of animal manure and crop rotation. Find out more about the findings and policy recommendations of this study in PEP policy brief 169.
Finally, Dr. Gracious Diiro presented “Women’s empowerment in agriculture and household productivity: Evidence from rural maize farmer households in western Kenya”. This study investigates whether women’s empowerment in agriculture increased productivity and if so, how more effective gender-inclusive policy interventions can be devised and implemented. Dr. Diiro explained how the findings show women’s empowerment leads to increased productivity, particularly when women are empowered in production decisions, asset ownership, leadership, and income. Based on these findings, rural development interventions in Kenya should include efforts to increase women’s empowerment in order to achieve better agricultural productivity and food security results.
The event provided a unique opportunity for early-career researchers to present and discuss their findings and policy recommendations regarding important agricultural issues in East Africa with key regional stakeholders. Following the presentations, comments from the floor highlighted strategic issues going forward including recognizing that women’s empowerment is vital for enhancing productivity and as such, gender should become an agricultural research priority. Additionally, it was agreed that technology adoption is central to improving food security and household incomes and that policymakers and the private sector may need to collaborate to encourage agricultural technology adoption.