Documentation of Research and Evidence on Gender and Conservation Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Period

October 2017 - March 2018

Project Partners

  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation

The concept of conservation agriculture (CA) involves three core principles of minimum tillage, permanent organic mulch cover, and nutritive and resilience crop rotations. Conservation agriculture was introduced a decade ago to provide resource-efficient agricultural crop production methods based on an integrated management of soil, water and biological resources, combined with purchased external inputs. As with any adoption packages, the implementation of CA involves a variety of components that may or may not be fully adopted, which then affects its efficiency and longer-term sustainability.

In general, CA improves soil fertility and quality and has been widely reported to have far-reaching potential to mitigate climate change variability, allow timelier preparation of farmlands relative to traditional practices, and facilitate early planting and improved retention of soil moisture. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called for the scale up of CA in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) based on its potential to increase yields for small-scale farmers and promotion of ecological sustainability.

Some existing evidence reveals significant gender differences concerning the adoption of CA.  There however has been little systematic documentation of emerging critical evidence on the interactions between conservation agriculture interventions and gender in SSA, and indeed globally. As a result, our project will conduct a desk review of existing research and literature on the linkages between CA and gender, with specific reference to both the gendered impacts of CA and the impacts of farmers’ sex on the environmental effects of CA in SSA. More specifically, the review will:

  1. Collate and synthesize existing research evidence on the gendered impacts of CA in SSA;
  2. Systematically review and document existing research on the impacts of farmers’ gender on the environmental effects of CA in SSA;
  3. Review and document the available evidence on the sources of resistance or social challenges faced by women in CA programs and on ‘what works’ to facilitate women’s participation in conservation agriculture.

The review will rely primarily on published and unpublished information and materials (where obtainable), including research papers, existing data, reports and other pertinent documentations on gender and CA.  The review will be registered with the international prospective register of systematic and scholarly reviews (PROSPERO) database. A scholarly systematic review paper published in an open-access scientific journal will be the main product of this exercise.

Partner Institutions: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Project Period: October 2017 – March 2018