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Access to productive resources in agriculture

Modified on 2013/05/23 15:59 by Haoyi Chen Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Work
From gender issues to gender statistics on access to productive resources in agriculture: illustrative examples

Policy-relevant questions Data needed Sources of data
Do women manage land and livestock as frequent and as much as men? Agricultural holdings/sub-holdings by sex of the holder/sub-holder
Size of land by sex of the holder/sub-holder Size of livestock by type of livestock and sex of the holder/sub-holder
Agricultural censuses or surveys
Living Standard Measurement Study (LSMS) surveys
LSMS - Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS–ISA)
Are there differences in land tenure between women and men holders?

Do women own land and livestock as frequent and as much as men?
Land tenure by sex of the holder


Ownership of land by size of land and sex of the owner
Ownership of livestock by type of livestock, size of livestock and sex of the owner
Agricultural censuses and surveys


LSMS–ISA
LSMS or other multi-purpose survey
Do women holders use agricultural inputs and irrigation as much as men holders? Agricultural holdings using fertilizers, machinery, improved seeds, irrigation etc. by sex of the holder Agricultural censuses or surveys
LSMS surveys
LSMS–ISA
Are there gender disparities in access to agricultural information and technology services? Persons receiving extension services by sex

Agricultural holdings receiving extension services by sex of the holder ex
LSMS-ISA


Agricultural surveys
LSMS surveys
Do women access credit for agricultural purposes as often as men? Persons applying for credit for agricultural purposes by sex

Agricultural holdings receiving credit for agricultural purposes by sex of the holder
LSMS–ISA
LSMS

Agricultural censuses or surveys
Do women participate as much as man in agricultural work and farm labour? Employed by sex and industry (branch) of economic activity

Farm labourers (members and non-members of the household) by sex
Labour Force Surveys
Population Censuses

Agricultural censuses or surveys

  • + Gender issues
    • Women tend to have lower access to agricultural productive resources than men due to gender-specific constraints (FAO, 2011). Access to productive resources in agriculture involves several dimensions: (a) ownership of land, livestock, or other agricultural resources; (b) management of agricultural resources; (c) use of financial services and other inputs for agriculture; (d) access to education, knowledge and skills related to agriculture; and (e) participation in agricultural labour activities. Women tend to be disadvantaged on all these dimensions (FAO, 2011).

      For example, in most of the countries, less women than men own agricultural land, livestock or other agricultural resources, and the resources owned by women tend to be of smaller size. Furthermore, women tend to have less control and decision-making power over productive resources in agriculture. The share of female agricultural holders is lower than that of male holders and women tend to keep fewer livestock, typically of smaller breeds and of less value. Moreover, women hold smaller farms than men and they use fewer inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds and mechanical equipment. They also tend to have lower access to credit and extension services than their male counterparts. Finally, women are more likely to be involved in agriculture in part-time, seasonal and low-paying jobs, and to receive lower wages for the same type of work, even if they have similar experience and qualifications to men. (FAO, 2011)

      These inequalities not only limit women’s opportunities but also impose high costs on the agricultural sector, food security and economic growth. It is estimated that closing the gender gap in agriculture would generate increased yields on women’s farms; raise the total agricultural output, especially in the developing countries; and reduce significantly the number of people suffering from hunger in the world (FAO, 2011; FAO, 2012).

  • + Data needed
    • Data on access to productive resources in agriculture cover dimensions of ownership, management and farm labour, and refer to various resources such as land, livestock, and use of inputs, information, technology, agricultural machinery, irrigation, and financial services. Several types of data can be used:

      (a) Data on ownership of agricultural resources, collected at individual level

      Distribution of land size by sex of the owner

      Ownership of livestock by type of livestock and sex of the owner

      Distribution of livestock size by type of livestock and sex of the owner


      (b) Data on management of agricultural holdings and sub-holdings. They provide a basic understanding of the gender gap in decision-making and control over productive resources in agriculture. Such data may refer to:

      Number of holdings/subholdings by sex of the holder/subholder

      Area of the holdings by type of land use (cropland / meadows or pastures / forest land / aquaculture) and sex of the holder

      Land tenure type (legal ownership/non-legal ownership/rented/other type) of the holding by sex of the holder/subholder

      Number of livestock (including poultry) by type of livestock (species) and sex of the holder/subholder


      (c) Data on use of irrigation and agricultural inputs

      Number of holdings/subholdings with irrigated land by method of irrigation and sex of the holder/subholder

      Number of holdings using chemical inputs (fertilizers; pesticides; insecticides; fungicides) by type of chemical and sex of the holder


      (d) Data on access to agricultural information and technology

      Number of holdings receiving agricultural extension services by sex of the holder

      Number of holdings using selected machinery and equipment by ownership of machinery and sex of the holder


      (e) Data on access to financial services

      Number of holdings receiving credit for agricultural purposes by sex of the holder. When possible, information on the size of credit and individual-level information on the demographic characteristics of the actual applicant for the credit should also be obtained.


      (f) Data on employment in agriculture and farm labour

      Labour force participation and employment by sex of the employed and industry (branch) of economic activity

      Number of labourers (paid or in exchange) working on the holding by sex, age and time worked, and by sex of the holder

      Number of household members working on the holding by sex, age and time worked, and by sex of the holder



      When possible information on the type of contract for the labourers (permanent /seasonal /occasional labour /labour support groups) and type of payment (in cash, in kind, or exchange) should also be obtained. Information on household members working on other agricultural holdings or on non-agricultural activities on and off the holding should also be considered.

  • +Examples of indicators derived from gender statistics on access to productive resources in agriculture:
    • Share of agricultural holdings that are female headed

      Average size of agricultural land by sex of the holder/sub-holder

      Average size of livestock by type of livestock and sex of the holder/sub-holder

      Proportion of agricultural land owners in the population by sex

      Average size of agricultural land by sex of the owner

      Proportion of agricultural holdings using irrigation by sex of the holder

      Proportion of users of agricultural credit by sex (or sex of the holder)


  • + Sources of data
    • Agricultural censuses and agricultural surveys are the main sources of data on agricultural holdings and sub-holdings, and can serve as vehicle for collecting data on the type and amount of work contributed by women and men to the agricultural production. Among others, they provide data on agricultural productivity, characteristics of the agricultural holdings, socio-economic characteristics of the holder and of the household members, use of agricultural inputs and services in the holding, and farm labour. The unit of enumeration in agricultural censuses and surveys is the agricultural holding and most of the data are collected at this level. Thus, the information provided can be used for analysis of access to productive resources at the level of female and male headed holdings. In some countries, some of the data are also collected at the level of subholdings. However, other sources of data, such as the Living Standard Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), or thematic agricultural surveys should be considered for obtaining more disaggregated data at the individual level of household members.

      Agricultural censuses and surveys have a distinctive perspective on agricultural labour, compared to other data sources. The information collected refer not only to the main job of the person (such as in the labour force surveys and population censuses), but also to the secondary and tertiary economic activities. Agricultural censuses and surveys may also favour an “usual activity” approach in collecting data on economic activity for persons living in agricultural households, as opposed to the ”current activity” approach commonly used in labour force surveys and population censuses. The “usual activity” approach is expected to better capture the subtleties of seasonal and intermittent economic activity in agriculture.

      Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS) often integrate in their data collection aspects related to access to agricultural resources, including data on ownership, decision-making, access to financial services, and labour. In particular, the LSMS Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) are designed to have a strong focus on agriculture; detailed data are collected on basic crop production, storage/sales; productivity of main crops; land holdings; farming practices; input use and technology adoption; access to and use of services, infrastructure and natural resources; livestock and fishery. Households are the units of enumeration and most of the data are collected at the household level. Nevertheless, some of the data on access to productive resources in agriculture are collected at individual level, or disaggregated at the level of sub-holdings such as plots of lands and types of livestock.

      Labour Force Surveys (LFS) are the main sources of data on labour force participation, employment and unemployment, by industry (branch) of economic activity. Data by industry, usually collected only with regard to the main job of the person and classified according to the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), are the basis for obtaining statistics on population economically active in agriculture. The main job is often defined as the job where the person spends most time working, or, sometimes, the job that provides the highest income from employment. However, many women and men are involved in agricultural work as a secondary or tertiary economic activity, on their own agricultural holding or for an employer. These types of farm labourers are captured in other sources of data, such as agricultural censuses and surveys.

      Time Use Surveys are useful to achieve a better understanding of the time and type of labour invested by women, men, girls and boys in family farming within the general context of household production.


  • + Conceptual and measurement issues
    • Exclusion of small agricultural holdings from agricultural censuses or surveys induce a gender bias in the statistics obtained, as women holders tend to concentrate in this sub-sector. The unit of enumeration in agricultural censuses and surveys is the agricultural holding. An agricultural holding is an economic unit of agricultural production under single management, comprising all livestock kept and all land used wholly or partly for agricultural production purposes, without regard to title, legal form or size (FAO, 2007a). There are two types of agricultural holdings: (i) holdings in the household sector – operated by household members; and (ii) holdings in the non-household sector – e.g. corporations and government institutions. In most countries, the majority of agricultural production is in the household sector (FAO, 2007a). Proper coverage of the household sector is the most important from the perspective of generating gender statistics, and the inclusion of all types of units needs to be carefully considered when preparing the frame for censuses and surveys.

      Comprehensive coverage of gender issues in access to productive resources in agriculture require use of units of data collection and data analysis more disaggregated than the holding level. More disaggregated data may be collected and analysed at sub-holding level. A sub-holding is defined as a single agricultural activity or group of activities managed by a particular person or group of persons (sub-holders) in the holder’s household on behalf of the agricultural holder (FAO, 2007a). A sub-holding may be a single plot, a whole field, a livestock associated with a plot, field or parcel, or a livestock operation without any land. What is commonly reported as a male-headed agricultural holding may comprise various sub-holdings where women are the main decision-makers. When data are collected at the sub-holding level, the role of women in agriculture becomes more visible.

      More disaggregated data can also be obtained at individual level, especially with regard to ownership, farm labour, time use (including for agricultural activities), and access to formal financial services, informal credit or support groups. Such data provide a more nuanced picture of gender differences in access to productive resources in agriculture, including within the household.

      Many of the “male-headed” agricultural holdings are in fact holdings headed jointly by women and men that are incorrectly recorded due to omissions and gender bias of interviewers and/or respondents. The role of women as decision-makers in agriculture should be adequately measured by clear identification of the agricultural holder. By definition, the agricultural holding is under single management, however, there may be cases where more than one person – for example, husband and wife - is involved in the major decisions regarding resource use and management control over the operations of the agricultural holding. These persons can be classified as joint holders. This concept should help to better reflect the realities of farm management practices, especially those related to the role of women.

      For further information on improving data collection in agricultural censuses and surveys from a gender perspective refer to “Agricultural censuses and surveys” in Chapter 3.



Note: A first draft of this sub-section was prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia in collaboration with the FAO Statistics Division.

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