Tanager Calls for Greater Gender Integration in Agriculture to Boost Productivity 

Consider the phrase, “Every Farmer, Every Tool,” and many will gravitate toward pondering the “every tool” part: How can we get the latest technologies into the hands of farmers around the globe? 

“In Tanager, [however,] we think about the ‘every farmer’ angle—especially with mounting evidence that women are marginalized in the food system,” said Tanager President Sergio Rivas during an event in Washington, DC, Oct. 3, hosted by the Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Initiative of Virginia Tech. The event served as the launch of this year’s GAP Report, an annual compilation of research and real-world assessments on agricultural productivity issues. Tanager is a technical partner of the GAP Initiative. It contributed an article to this year’s report, calling for greater gender integration in agriculture as a means to boost agricultural productivity. The article was co-written with Laterite, a research partner of Tanager’s on the Impacting Gender & Nutrition through Innovative Technical Exchange in Agriculture (IGNITE) project. 

Rivas was one of several panelists unpacking the theme of this year’s GAP Report, “Every Farmer, Every Tool.” In line with Tanager’s article contribution, Rivas noted that women are missing out on the adoption and adaptation of tools meant to make the agricultural process easier and more efficient. He cited an IGNITE study, referenced in the GAP Report article, that assessed the impacts of technology on cassava growers in Southwest Nigeria. The study found that mechanization helped cut down farmers’ plowing and land preparation time from 216 hours down to just 3. Yet, Rivas pointed out, it also uncovered that women were more likely to be involved in cassava processing—not plowing and land preparation. 

“Women were dedicating some 300 hours to these [cassava processing] tasks. Mechanization is doing nothing to save women farmers this time,” Rivas concluded.  

As a result of the study findings, the IGNITE client is now making considerable investments to mechanize cassava processing tasks. Such efforts are “giving voice to farmers and translating into practical, doable and affordable new tools that are breaking social barriers,” Rivas said.  

Though the article from Tanager and Laterite repeats familiar development sector themes around women’s marginalization in agriculture, it still bears repeating. The GAP Report echoes similar messaging, noting among its key findings: “If producers at all scales of production are able to access proven, appropriate, productivity-enhancing tools, including technologies and practices, we can make significant strides in closing the total factor productivity growth gap.” 

Read Tanager’s article in the 2023 GAP Report