Agricultural transformation in Rwanda: Can Gendered Market Participation Explain the Persistence of Subsistence Farming?

Ingabire, Chantal; Mshenga, Patience M.; Amacker, Michèle; Langat, Jackson K.; Bigler, Christine; Birachi, Eliud A. (2018). Agricultural transformation in Rwanda: Can Gendered Market Participation Explain the Persistence of Subsistence Farming? Gender and Women's Studies, 2(1), pp. 1-18. Rivera

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Despite the efforts to agricultural transformation in Rwanda, farming systems are predominantly still in subsistence production. Women are more involved than men, and their number has even increased in the past decade. The reasons for this remain unclear, given the country’s efforts for gender mainstreaming towards market-oriented agriculture. Guided by the current debate on feminization of agriculture, we base this study on the thesis that higher market participation among women farmers could contribute to the so-called transformation. The study uses the case of the Northern Province of Rwanda. It involved 368 smallholder dual-headed households among which 208 and 160 were respectively producing beans and potato. It used a mixed method approach by sequential exploratory design, involving a quantitative survey households followed by Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Both Household Commercialization Index (HCI) and Thematic Analyses were used. Findings showed a high degree of commercialization for potato, with 75% of farmers participating in output markets, and 72% among them being market oriented. In contrast, only 26% of bean farmers sold their production. The commercialization of potato is in the hands of men, while beans are mainly sold by women. This was also confirmed with the findings from FGDs. Three issues were identified as hindrances to agricultural transformation and likely to keep households in subsistence production: the low participation of women in input and output markets; their limited control over agricultural income; and their increased workload that combines on-farm and reproductive works. Therefore, despite the efforts at policy level, there are still gender inequalities within dual-headed farming households, and the agricultural transformation risks increasing the gap through all or some of the three identified issues. Removing these inequalities could increase households’ market participation and contribute in the process of agricultural transformation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


09 Interdisciplinary Units > Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG)

UniBE Contributor:

Amacker, Michèle and Bigler Luhm, Christine








Nora Trenkel

Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2019 13:45

Last Modified:

25 Oct 2019 00:00

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