“If a mechanized tool is introduced, men will use it and women will be made to do a more laborious task.” Female farmer, Koumbia, Burkina Faso.
This concern was not unique to the farmer interviewed, and was voiced by multiple men and women over the course of my two week trip during the planting season in eastern Burkina Faso. According to the FAO, in Burkina Faso 95 percent of women in rural areas practice subsistence farming using very basic techniques and non-mechanized instruments. Globally, women represent on average 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries. Although mechanization can help reduce the time, labor, and drudgery of agricultural production and improve quality of life, female farmers face multiple barriers in adopting mechanization.
This post was authored by Maria Jones, Associate Director, ADM Institute for Prevention of Post-Harvest Loss, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with input from Nicole Lefore, Director, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation. It was originally published on agrilinks.org.