I am a farmer. I own land. I play a vital role as an agricultural producer and an agent of food security. Farming has educated me. But most important of all, I am a woman. That’s what I how I wish to be addressed. Perception bias that “women are not farmers” makes it more challenging to provide agricultural extension services—to women. Such instance leads to inequality in service provision, typically to the disadvantage of women and the poor. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and communities themselves are alternative providers of these services, but they often also fail.
Women are predominantly engaged in the agricultural sector and in subsistence production in most of developing countries. Trade liberalization has often had the effect of increasing the production of export (cash) crops, while increasing imports of food crops that compete with locally produced crops and therefore depress their prices. Women and men are affected differently. Most of the women are small scale food crop farmers whereas men engage in production and marketing of products traded in regional and international markets.
Three out of four poor people in the developing world live in rural areas, and most of them depend— directly or indirectly—on agriculture for their livelihoods. Providing agricultural extension, is essential for using agriculture for development. However, such services are difficult to provide in rural areas, because they are subject to the triple challenge of market, state, and community failure. With failures in the market, the private sector is unable to provide desirable extension services. The state is not very effective in providing these services. Leading to a clientelism state, this refers to the tendency of politicians to provide public services to citizens in exchange for political advantage.
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