Participants in a panel during the first GREAT Symposium on Gender-Responsive Crop Breeding engage in a lively discussion, November 24th, 2020.


As the global Covid-19 pandemic enters its second year, the importance and value of rigorous, socially-grounded scientific research could not be more important. Not only has the pandemic exacerbated previously existing inequalities, it's also highlighted the importance of applied, interdisciplinary research. Curbing a viral pandemic takes teamwork; from the epidemiologists and health care workers in the field, to the lab technicians developing vaccine trials, it's a reminder of what we as a species are capable of when we work together, across disciplines and borders. And applied agricultural research feeds into this, leading to the kinds of livelihood, nutrition and health outcomes that boost community and individual health and resilience.  

Similarly, many of the teams that make up the GREAT family are working on cutting edge challenges, from global wheat rust to banana bunchy top virus; work that requires identifying and responding to problems before they become global catastrophes. Working in agricultural research for development is to answer the call to serve a purpose higher than our own individual enrichment, to tackle some of the most enduring challenges in our world, from enduring poverty, to food insecurity and gender inequality.

In this challenging time in human history, we are grateful to share this community of inspiring people and teams, across Africa and beyond. And we are optimistic, for we know that the foundation we are laying as a community will help us create brighter futures tomorrow. We're also taking time out to honor and reflect on those we've lost recently, such as Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah, a talented researcher and a gentle soul, and to pray for those who are currently struggling.

We hope this message finds you all safe, healthy and well.

With gratitude,
Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
Remembering Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah - GREAT RTB Course, Crops Research Institute (CSIR), Ghana
Bright Boakye Peprah
The GREAT Community was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Ghanian Cassava breeder and project leader, Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah on Tuesday January 12, 2021.  Dr. Boakye Peprah was a participant in the 2016-2017 GREAT Roots Tubers and Bananas cours.  He mainstreamed gender in the PEARL 1 Cassava Project and was crucial to the development and release of several important cassava varieties in Ghana.  He is remembered by his team at CSIR-Crops Research Institute, Ghaha, as a brilliant and dedicated scientist committed to improving the lives of others. Read the tribute written in memory of Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah on the GREAT website.

CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy
New CGIAR Research Strategy Highlights the Importance Role of Gender

Whether you work in a CG center, a NARES system, or academia, if you're involved in agricultural research for development the CG system's global impact is felt by us all. As a key component in one of the five core impact areas in the new One CGIAR research strategy, gender equality is poised to take on a central role in how the CGIAR addresses climate change while building a more equitable and healthier food system. Check out the strategy for yourself.

Presentations from the GREAT Community of Practice
First GREAT Symposium on Gender-Responsive Crop Breeding

The GREAT Symposium on Gender Responsive Crop Breeding was convened virtually on November 23rd-24th, 2020, with more than 100 participants in attendance from across Africa and the world. The event brought together interdisciplinary research teams of plant breeders, pathologists, socio-economists, anthropologists, food processing and quality experts from more than 10 countries in Anglo and Francophone sub-Saharan Africa to share their work.

Presenters came from a range of institutions, including national agricultural research institutions, universities, and CG centres. The symposium summarized these research teams' work to produce crop-improvement-focused agricultural research that delivers equitable benefits to women, men, boys, and girls. Since its establishment in 2016, GREAT has trained more than 250 professionals in gender-responsive agricultural research methods.

Videos from nine presentations, one panel discussion, and two keynote addresses are available on the GREAT website: 

Events and Opportunities
15 Doctoral Researcher Positions in Food Systems Economics at The University of Göttingen

The positions involve interdisciplinary research on questions related to "Sustainable Food Systems". Food and agriculture are playing key roles for many of the global challenges such as poverty, undernutrition, obesity, climate change, and biodiversity loss. It is obvious that the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without major changes in food production, distribution, and consumption. But what types of changes are useful and how these changes can be implemented politically, economically, and socially are open questions that will be addressed in the RTG, focusing on both rich and poor countries. The Program is implemented in cooperation with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC and KU Leuven in Belgium. The positions are based in Göttingen (Germany), but will require international travel for data collection and exchange with collaborators. Learn more...

Gender Research Vacancies at ICRISAT

ICRISAT is currently hiring for two gender research openings, based in Kenya; applications for both positions are due by 05 February 2021:
Research grants to develop and validate innovative methods and tools for gender research

The innovation grants, part of the Platform's Methods module, are aimed at developing rigorous, transdisciplinary, cutting-edge methods and tools to support global gender researchers in conducting high-quality research in food systems. We aim to have an initial portfolio of research projects that will address existing methodological gaps, bridge disciplinary siloes, and create tools, protocols, guidelines, and instruments that will add value to the GENDER Platform's offer to scientists working in food systems innovation and research. 

In order for applications to be eligible for review, they must be led by a CGIAR Center, and satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct research to international standards of excellence in the topic proposed.
  • Demonstrate strong and equitable partnerships, across CGIAR and especially with national agricultural research systems (NARS) and other low- and middle-income country partners. Concept notes must clearly show meaningful, collaborative relationships through management and scientific contributions, and capacity and learning exchange. The added value arising from bringing together complementary expertise and partnerships must be clearly described. All named researchers must have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate relevance to at least one of the key gender research themes and linkages to the One CGIAR impact areas specified in Call for Applications (Section 2).
CGIAR Centers are eligible to lead or be included in multiple applications. However, only one successful proposal per lead Center will be selected for funding.

For details on the key gender research themes, One CGIAR impact areas, and eligible costs, please see the Call for Applications and the Frequently Asked Questions.

International Conference on Gender Studies in Africa - 25-27 August, 2021

This three day International Conference on Gender Studies in Africa aims to bring together international expertise from academia, science granting councils, government, industry as well as civil society to deliberate on the space and place of Gender Studies in the academy and in development practice in Africa. This will be a Pan African celebration of Gender Studies and of the continent and the global South as a site of production of Gender knowledge and Feminist scholarship. Beyond the continent we plan to reach out to other programmes in the global South especially Asia and Latin America, as well as northern partners and collaborators in the Caribbean, North America and Europe.

Africa and Gender Studies: Celebrating 30 Years of Transformation and Re-imagining the Future

  • Individual abstracts due by 15 February, 2021
  • Panel abstracts due by 15 March, 2021
To register, or for more information, visit the conference website: 

Covid-19 Resources
While countries around the world rapidly adapt to the spreading novel coronavirus, norms of work, research and even basic social interactions are thrown into disarray. How can researchers and research programs adapt? What does this mean for field research in general, and for gender-responsive approaches specifically? We've collected a short list of resources to help you navigate this new time.
New publications from the GREAT CoP and Beyond
GREAT hosts a curated collection of key resources from the CoP and beyond on our free Zotero group. While all the metadata and links for each resource are viewable without an account, signing up for a free account gives access to all available full-text PDFs as well: Authors listed in bold are part of the GREAT CoP.
'From cassava to gari: mapping of quality characteristics and end-user preferences in Cameroon and Nigeria'

Ndjouenkeu, R., Ngoualem Kegah, F., Teeken, B., Okoye, B., Madu, T., Olaosebikan, O. D.,  Chijioke, U., Bello, A., Osunbade, A.O., Owoade, D., Takam-Tchuente, N.H., Njeufa, E.B., Chomdom, I.L.N., Forsythe, L., Maziya-Dixon, B., & Fliedel, G. (2020). International Journal of Food Science & Technology. Open Access.

User's preferences of cassava and cassava products along the value chain are supported by specific root quality characteristics that can be linked to root traits. Therefore, providing an evidence base of user preferred characteristics along the value chain can help in the functional choice of cassava varieties. In this respect, the present paper presents the results from focus group discussions and individual interviews on user preferred quality characteristics of raw cassava roots and the derived product, gari, - one of the major cassava products in Sub-Saharan Africa - in major production and consumption areas of Cameroon and Nigeria. Choice of cassava varieties for farming is mainly determined by the multiple end uses of the roots, their agricultural yield and the processing determinants of roots that support their major high-quality characteristics: size, density, low water content, maturity, colour and safety. Processing of cassava roots into gari goes through different technological variants leading to a gari whose high-quality characteristics are dryness, colour, shiny/attractive appearance, uniform granules and taste. Eba, the major consumption form of gari in Cameroon and Nigeria, is mainly characterised by its textural properties: smoothness, firmness, stickiness, elasticity and mouldability. Recommendations are made, suggesting that breeding will have to start evaluating cassava clones for brightness/shininess, as well as textural properties such as mouldability and elasticity of cassava food products, for the purpose of supporting decision-making by breeders and the development of high-throughput selection methods of cassava varieties. Women are identified as important beneficiaries of such initiatives giving their disadvantaged position and their prominent role in cassava processing and marketing of gari.

'What Does Gender Yield Gap Tell Us about Smallholder Farming in Developing Countries?'

Nchanji, E.B., Collins, O.A., Katungi, E., Nduguru, A., Kabungo, C., Njuguna, E. M., & Ojiewo, C. O. (2021). Sustainability, 13(1), 77. Open Access.

This study examines the extent of the productivity gap between male and female bean producers, its discriminatory nature and implications for the policymakers in agriculture in Tanzania. Generally, women are distinctively "invisible" in agriculture, due to social norms and even from the national agricultural policy perspective. Their discrimination arises from uncounted and unaccounted for farm work, and their productivity is reduced by triple roles, limited access to education, having triple effects on access to technology, training and land rights. In research, issues of concern to them such as nutritious food crops, varietal selection on important attributes, household food security, convenient home storage and small-scale processing are widely ignored through unfavourable policy design. Given the above discriminatory issues surrounding women in agriculture, they are hypothesised to be less productive and often lag behind male counterparts in crop production. Our study finds that females comprised 25 percent of the sample, had 6 percent lower productivity, provided 64.70 percent on-farm labour and had 0.32 hectares less land compared to males, ceteris paribus. Access to improved varieties contributed to a 35.4 percent improved productivity compared to growing indigenous/local varieties. The implication is that the gender yield gap can be reduced significantly if efforts are focused on preventing or correcting factors causing discrimination against women.

'Gender and the conservation of traditional crop varieties: the case of traditional sorghum in Agago District, Uganda'

Businge, M.Odong, T. L., & Miiro, R. (2020). AgriGender, 5(1), 28-40. Open Access.

This study examines the roles men and women play in the cultivation, processing, and marketing of traditional sorghum varieties and gendered trait preferences as they relate to the continued existence of these varieties in Agago District. The study utilized primary data which was collected through a survey and focus group discussions. The results suggest that continued production and utilization of traditional sorghum is as a result of the efforts of both men and women, although the general labor burden fell on women. There was a differential preference for the traditional sorghum characteristics of market, taste, storage, threshing, and milling by gender. Technology advancements in processing ease women's time constraints and could result in the conservation of difficult-to-process varieties that otherwise possess good traits. Lastly, a gender dimension should be included in future strategies to understand the conservation of varieties as well as the adoption of improved sorghums.

'Spiraling up and down: Mapping women's empowerment through agricultural interventions using the community capitals framework in rural Ethiopia'

Mulema, A. A., Boonabaana, B., Debevec, L., Nigussie, L., Alemu, M., & Kaaria, S. (2020). Community Development, 1-18.(2020). Available in the CoP Zotero group.

The paper draws on the Community Capitals Framework to frame and analyze the process of rural women's empowerment through agricultural interventions in two districts of Ethiopia. A blend of qualitative data collection methods comprising group discussions, life histories, and key informant interviews was used. Our study shows that investing in social, human, financial, cultural, natural, physical, and political capitals resulted in increased assets within those capitals and others amongst the beneficiaries. The interaction between capitals builds "power with", "power within", "power to" and "power over" in an upward spiral. Specifically, the interaction between social, human and financial capitals is a key entry point to rural women's empowerment. Cultural capital intermediates the interaction and flow of capital assets during the empowerment process. We argue that empowering women requires an approach that enhances their capability to identify and systematically manage interactions among capitals that foster their voice and agency.

'A review of varietal change in roots, tubers and bananas: consumer preferences and other drivers of adoption and implications for breeding'

Thiele, G., Dufour, D., Vernier, P., Mwanga, R.O., Parker, M.L., Schulte Geldermann, E., Teeken, B., Wossen, T., Gotor, E., Kikulwe, E., Tufan, H., Sinelle, S., Kouakou, A.M., Friedmann, M., Polar, V. & Hershey, C. (2020). International Journal of Food Science & Technology. Open Access.

This review of the literature on varietal change in sub-Saharan Africa looks in detail at adoption of new varieties of bananas in Uganda, cassava in Nigeria, potato in Kenya, sweetpotato in Uganda and yams in Côte d'Ivoire. The review explored three hypotheses about drivers of varietal change. There was a strong confirmation for the hypothesis that insufficient priority given to consumer-preferred traits by breeding programmes contributes to the limited uptake of modern varieties (MVs) and low varietal turnover. Lack of evidence meant the second hypothesis of insufficient attention to understanding and responding to gender differences in consumer preferences for quality and post-harvest traits was unresolved. The evidence on the third hypothesis about the informal seed system contributing to slow uptake of MVs was mixed. In some cases, the informal system has contributed to rapid uptake of MVs, but often it appears to be a barrier with inconsistent varietal naming a major challenge.

'Estimating and Decomposing Groundnut Gender Yield Gap: Evidence from Rural Farming Households in Northern Nigeria'

Muricho, G., Lokossou, J., Affognon, H., Ahmed, B., Desmae, H., Ajeigbe, H., Vabi, M., Yila, J., Akpo, E., & Ojiewo, C. (2020). Sustainability, 12(21), 8923. Open Access.

Poverty among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa has been associated with low agricultural productivity emanating from gender yield gaps among other factors. Using data collected from smallholder groundnut producers in Nigeria, we analyzed the gender yield gap by applying the exogenous switching regression (ESR) model and Oaxaca-Blinder (OB) decomposition framework. Results from the two complementary approaches showed a significant gender yield gap in favor of male headed households (MHHs). The main and significant source of the gap was differences in resources/endowments. We found that involving female headed households (FHHs) in prerequisite yield augmenting activities like technology validation trials, testing, and demonstrations is critical in closing the existing yield gap.

'Beyond the sex of the holder: understanding agricultural production decisions within household farms in Uganda'

Hillesland, M., Slavchevska, V., Henderson, H., Okello, P., & Oumo, F. N. Beyond maize production: gender relations along the maize value chain in Tanzania. AgriGender, 5(1), 14-27. Open Access.

While gender equality is an integral part of the development conversation, there are still data gaps that inhibit the measurement and analysis of gender-related issues. In particular, traditional agricultural surveys are administered to a representative male "holder" and often do not collect information about who else in the household is managing the different agricultural activities. As a result, they risk misrepresenting women's participation in agricultural decision-making. This paper examines the extent of such misrepresentation using data from Uganda that included an agricultural decision-making module administered to both the holder and the holder's spouse. We find that within men's holdings many decisions are made jointly, and a notable number of decisions are made exclusively by women. We also find that male holders often underestimate their spouse's management of agricultural activities. The traditional approach thus may conceal the complexity of decision-making in agricultural households and may consequently limit the design and implementation of inclusive agricultural programs.

'Beyond maize production: gender relations along the maize value chain in Tanzania'

Adam, R. I., Mmbando, F., Lupindu, O., Ubwe, R. M., Osanya, J., & Muindi, P. Beyond maize production: gender relations along the maize value chain in Tanzania. AgriGender, 5(2), 27-41. Open Access.

Maize is an important staple crop for smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. Yet gender-based opportunities, constraints, and dynamics in maize value chains are under-researched. A better understanding is necessary for gender-sensitive policy and development interventions. This study thus examines gender relations across the maize value chain in Tanzania, looking at gendered participation, decision-making patterns, and resources in maize/seed production, marketing, and sales. Data were collected using mixed methods: a survey of 551 households, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. Our findings show that the higher nodes of the maize value chain are dominated by men. Women's participation is generally limited to maize production, and women face barriers to entry into higher nodes. Where they do participate in buying, trading, or retail, they face barriers to expansion of their business. Gendered decision-making patterns with regards to maize sales show regional variation, but overall men are primary decision-makers. Gender mainstreaming and gender transformative interventions targeted at higher nodes in the maize value chain are needed.

'Gender- and youth-sensitive data collection tools to support decision making for inclusive sustainable agricultural intensification'

Grabowski, P. P., Djenontin, I., Zulu, L., Kamoto, J., Kampanje-Phiri, J., Darkwah, A., Egyir, I., & Fischer, G. (2020). International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 1-17. Open Access.

To achieve equitable sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI), it is essential to understand differential access and control over agricultural resources by women and youth, and to assess how intensification interacts with gendered and age-dependent relationships. Existing packages for assessing women's empowerment in agriculture tend to be large-scale surveys that do not provide timely results, nor are they easily integrated into a gender-transformative process. This paper applies concepts from Kabeer on gender analysis and empowerment to evaluate promising tools available for assessing inequities in SAI and supporting a gender-transformative approach. We interviewed decision makers in Malawi and Ghana to understand their needs and practices for equity analysis. We evaluated, adapted and tested tools to detect inequities from SAI. Our results demonstrate the suitability of tools to decision makers' needs for ex-ante assessment and early detection of disparities. We synthesize information from the testing and adaptation of tools about the resources required, the equity issues they can reveal and their potential role in a gender-transformative approach. The use of the tools needs to be part of an inclusive and culturally specific process for identifying gaps and facilitating a more equitable sharing of SAI responsibilities and benefits through iterative cycles of action and learning.

'Gender dynamics in seed systems development'

Kramer, B., & Galiè, A. (2020). Gender dynamics in seed systems development. Intl Food Policy Res Inst. PIM Policy Brief. Open Access.

All agricultural production-whether of crops, trees, forages, livestock, or fish-starts with seeds,* making seed security vital to food security. Seed security means that producers-smallholder farmers especially have permanent and unrestricted access to adequate quantities of quality seed that is suitable to their agroecological conditions and socio-economic needs. Efforts to enhance seed security should be inclusive, without disparities related to in-come, social class, age, or gender. Yet, gender gaps reveal themselves across the seed system, including in the breeding, production, selection, and distribution stages, as well as in how the seeds are used and who reaps the benefits from this use.

'Unequal partners: associations between power, agency and benefits among women and men maize farmers in Nigeria'

Farnworth, C.R., Badstue, L., Williams, G.J., Tegbaru, A. & Gaya, H.I.M. (2020). Gender, Technology and Development, 24(3), 271-296. Access the article on the GREAT CoP Zotero group.

New agricultural technologies such as improved maize varieties (IMVs) promise important benefits - increased incomes, lower workloads, and better food security - among others. When such technologies are introduced, they can denaturalize and expose gender norms and power relations because the adoption of such technologies inevitably requires women and men to renegotiate the rules of the game. This article asks: How do women negotiate power relations and their expression in gender norms to secure benefits from improved maize varieties (IMVs), and more broadly, to expand their decision-making space? We draw on data from four Nigerian case-studies, two from the North and two from the Southwest. The findings are analyzed through a conceptual framework utilizing five different concepts of power. Findings are remarkably similar across all sites. Women are constrained by powerful gender norms which privilege men's agency and which frown upon women's empowerment. There is limited evidence for change in some contexts through expansion in women's agency. The implications for maize research and development is that an improved understanding of the complex relational nature of empowerment is essential when introducing new agricultural technologies.

'Measuring Time Use in Developing Country Agriculture: Evidence from Bangladesh and Uganda'

Seymour, G., Malapit, H., & Quisumbing, A. (2020). Feminist Economics, 26(3), 169-199. Open Access.

This paper discusses the challenges associated with implementing time-use surveys among agricultural households in developing countries and offers advice on best practices for two common measurement methods: stylized questions and time diaries. Using data from Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) surveys in Bangladesh and Uganda, it finds that stylized questions do not always produce shorter interviews compared to time diaries, and recall accuracy may depend on the regularity and saliency of the activity and enumerator abilities. The paper suggests that combining promising methodological innovations from other disciplines with mainstream time-use data collection methods would allow capture of both the quantity and quality of time and provide richer insights into gendered time-use patterns. Broadening the scope of time-use research to other aspects of well-being can help identify how time constraints contribute to gender inequality and inform the design of policies and interventions to relieve those constraints.

'Methods for measuring women's empowerment'

Seymour, G., Malapit, H., & Quisumbing, A. (2020). International Food Policy Research Institute, PIM Policy BriefOpen Access.

Women's empowerment is of paramount importance for multiple development goals. However, it is much easier to discuss the importance of empowerment than it is to define the methods and tools needed to measure it. This requires research focused on the conceptual understanding of how we should measure women's empowerment, in a variety of facets, and the creation of tools and methods for doing so.

The teams under Flagship 6: Cross-Cutting Gender Research and Coordination of the CGIAR's Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by IFPRI have been working to address this need and to develop a range of methods for improving gender analysis in agricultural research. The Standards for Collecting Sex-Disaggregated Data for Gender Analysis published by PIM colleagues in 2014 (Doss and Kieran) have been widely adopted across CGIAR. Much research has focused on how to measure women's ownership and control over assets, including women's land rights, along with a strong emphasis on how to analyze decision-making within a household.

This brief summarizes key contributions of this work to the discussion around the measures and methodologies for evaluating women's empowerment, including approaches to cognitive testing and determining who to interview.

'Gender Equity Considerations in Food Environments of Low and Middle Income Countries'

Twyman, J., Talsma, E., Togka, K., Ferraboschi, C., & Brouwer, I. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01991 (2020). Open Access.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a CGIAR Research Center established in 1975, provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition.IFPRI's strategic research aims to foster a climate-resilient and sustainable food supply; promote healthy diets and nutrition for all; build inclusive and efficient markets, trade systems, and food industries; transform agricultural and rural economies; and strengthen institutions and governance. Gender is integrated in all the Institute's work. Partnerships, communications, capacity strengthening, and data and knowledge management are essential components to translate IFPRI's research from action to impact.The Institute's regional and country programs play a critical role in responding to demand for food policy research and in delivering holistic support for country-led development. IFPRI collaborates with partners around the world.

'Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture'

Sachs, C.E., Jensen, L., Castellanos, P., Sexsmith, K. (Eds.). (2021). Routledge handbook of gender and agriculture. Taylor & Francis. Some open access content available.

The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture covers major theoretical issues as well as critical empirical shifts in gender and agriculture.

Gender relations in agriculture are shifting in most regions of the world with changes in the structure of agriculture, the organization of production, international restructuring of value chains, climate change, the global pandemic, and national and multinational policy changes. This book provides a cutting-edge assessment of the field of gender and agriculture, with contributions from both leading scholars and up-and-coming academics as well as policymakers and practitioners.

The handbook is organized into four parts: part 1, institutions, markets, and policies; part 2, land, labor, and agrarian transformations; part 3, knowledge, methods, and access to information; and part 4, farming people and identities. The last chapter is an epilogue from many of the contributors focusing on gender, agriculture, and shifting food systems during the coronavirus pandemic. The chapters address both historical subjects as well as ground-breaking work on gender and agriculture, which will help to chart the future of the field. The handbook has an international focus with contributions examining issues at both the global and local levels with contributors from across the world.

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