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Join the Conversation on Gender and Agricultural Productivity

Please join me on June 12 - 25, 2017, for a critical online discussion on gender and agricultural productivity that I am facilitating on behalf of both the African Development Bank and AWARD.

This important discussion is intended to support the Gender Focal Points at the African Development Bank in their work to buttress the implementation of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. The conversation is also part of AWARD’s ongoing baseline study on the state of gender in agricultural research on the continent.

Energetic contributions from across the continent are needed to ensure that gender remains central to the Bank’s implementation of its Feed Africa Strategy.  Your contributions will also inform AWARD’s own way forward as we seek to support African scientists and research institutions better respond to the needs and priorities of the diversity of men and women across agricultural value chains.

Please click here to visit the AfDB Gender in Practice Community of Practice (GiP CoP) and register to contribute to the discussion. You can also send your contribution by email to

I look forward to learning together as we support the Gender Focal Points ensure that gender remains central to the Bank’s Feed Africa initiative.

The discussion will be organized in three phases as below, and you are welcome to contribute to all or some of the phases:

Phase 1: Gender gap in agricultural productivity (June 12 –25)

Facilitator: Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg PhD, Director, African Women in Agricultural Research (AWARD)

A recent study measuring the economic costs of the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda finds that closing the gender gap could lift as many as 238,000 people out of poverty in Malawi, 119,000 people in Uganda, and approximately 80,000 people in Tanzania every year. (11) Success in the achievement of poverty reduction and elimination of hunger as part of the Feed Africa strategy is dependent on a supply side approach whereby needs of both women and men are taken into account when designing and implementing interventions.  This phase will explore the questions such as: how does the gender gap in agricultural productivity occur and why?; what are the implications of this gender gap, especially for women in subsistence agriculture?; how have these realities been integrated into interventions and projects to reduce the gender gap in agricultural productivity and address the challenges of subsistence agriculture?; how should the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy; through its flagship initiatives and programmes be used to reduce the gender gap in agricultural productivity and support a strong foundation for Africa’s agricultural transformation?

Phase 2: Gender gap in Agribusiness, industries and markets (26 June – 10 July)

Facilitator: Ndiaye Tacko, Senior Gender Officer, FAO Regional Office for Africa

The Feed Africa Strategy seeks to design and lead the operation of areas that are both critical to drive transformation and for which the Bank is able to leverage its comparative advantages. (7) It is crucial to support women’s participation in value addition, agribusiness, agro industries as well as commercialization of agricultural products. Well-designed interventions in the sector will enable women to participate at all levels of the value chain; and will have the potential to bolster the achievement of the goals of the Feed Africa Strategy. This phase will explore questions such as: what are the challenges to women’s engagement in priority value chains, agribusiness and industries, including value addition, and commercialization of agricultural products?; how have DFIs –including the AfDB- and other development partners supported women’s engagement in these sub-sectors?; how should the Bank address these challenges?; and how could the ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Youth initiative, be used to support gender equality in these sub-sectors?

Phase 3: Gender gap in agriculture finance (11 July – 24 July)

Facilitator: Toda Atsuko, Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, AfDB

Women often have limited control and ownership over assets such as land. They also lack the ability to post hard collateral for loans -which are necessary in the resource intensive agriculture sector-.  In addition to socio-cultural constraints which limit their activities in the agriculture sector; women face constraints in accessing training and capacity building and membership in producer organizations. These unique challenges make access to finance a much bigger challenge for women compared to men in the agricultural sector. This phase will explore the questions such as: what are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?; what has been done – by the AfDB, DFIs and stakeholders - to address the gender gap in agriculture finance? Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agriculture finance?; How can the Bank through the Feed Africa Strategy address such challenges, as it works to bolster food security on the continent?; and what experiences and lessons could be used to buttress the effectiveness of the Bank’s interventions in this area?