|Gender Issues in Integrated Pest Management in African Agriculture (NRI, 1995, 26 p.)|
Integrated pest management (IPM) uses a variety of techniques to hold crop pests below economically damaging levels with a minimum amount of disruption to the cropping system and the wider environment. Such an approach, in developing countries and especially in Africa, should entail careful attention to the knowledge, needs and perceptions of women farmers. Women's participation in agricultural production in general and in pest management in particular is considerable. Rural women are responsible for a majority of pest management activities and, on average, devote more time to pest management than do men.
Given the gender division of labour and differences in access to land, labour, finance and education, the technological needs of women farmers are in many ways distinct from those of men. Women farmers need low external input, time-saving technologies adapted to small-scale, non-uniform subsistence crop production. The basic principles of IPM are well-suited to such needs, but few mechanisms exist at the national and international levels to incorporate gender issues into the research and development of IPM technologies. Better data on rural women and incorporation of gender issues into research agendas are necessary. African women farmers are also unlikely to receive access to IPM technologies through existing extension systems, so those systems must be modified or new channels for agricultural information established.