Gender mainstreaming in conservation agriculture: lessons from conservation agriculture programme II in Mapanza, Southern Zambia

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Hachiboola, Priscilla
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University of Zambia
This study sought to examine gender mainstreaming (GM) in the Conservation Agriculture (CA): Lessons from Conservation Agriculture Programme II (CAP II) in Mapanza area, Choma District of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to assess the extent of participation of women and men in the CAP II and to examine how the women and men farmers in the study area relate to various CA practices. Three Focus group discussions, key informant interviews, 30 questionnaires and secondary data were used to collect data. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. In terms of the extent of gender representation in the implementing structure, results indicated a dominance of men which stood at 91 percent compared to nine percent of women. This is due to lack of a clear gender policy. Furthermore, training materials showed that the English language that is used in developing training materials is not easily understood by the gender that is illiterate. Results also showed that the extension training approach is open, flexible and voluntary giving women and men high access to extension trainings. However, other factors such as household responsibilities for women and off farm income generating activities negatively influenced women and men’s attendance of training. As regards gender relations in CA practices, 27 percent women compared to 33 percent men practiced crop rotation. The need to improve household food security for women compared to access to seeds, herbicides and market for men influenced crop rotation. Furthermore, 33 percent of women compared to 27 percent of men practiced crop residue retention. On one hand, proximity of women’s fields to their homesteads positively influenced their retention of crop residues. On the other hand, the large fields under men’s control were far away from homes making it difficult to retain crop residues. The majority of the men (80 percent) reported using animal draft powered ripping compared to 33 percent of women. This is because men had higher access to animal draught, rippers and social capital. Results also showed that 73 percent of the women compared to 27 percent men used basins. This was attributed to lack of animal draught, rippers and the need for women to mitigate food insecurity by planting early. The CAP II did not consider mainstreaming gender in the design of farming implements such as the chaka hoe that increases drudgery to women. This study concludes that GM is poorly implemented in CAPII in terms of women representation in the implementing structure, training materials, CA tillage systems and in the planning to monitoring and evaluation phases of the CAPII. There is need for the programmes in CA to have a clear gender policy and implementation strategies that will ensure mainstreaming of gender from planning point to farming households, to enhance equal participation of women and men. Key Words: Gender Mainstreaming, Conservation agriculture, Conservation Agriculture Programme II, Women and Men
Agricultural resources-Zambia--Management. , Human geography.