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Technology addresses gender inequality in wheat farming

Male and female farmers in Ethiopia and India face different challenges to accessing new wheat varieties, discovers CIMMYT researchers.

Despite the development of improved wheat varieties with increased productivity, farming systems in the Global South are still marred by inequitable access based on gender and other social characteristics.

At the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), scientists present a case for wheat varietal improvement programs to include gender-sensitive technology development, dissemination and evaluation in order to remove barriers for women, poor and marginalized farmers.

Focusing on Ethiopia and India due to their large wheat economies and challenges with inequality, researchers assessed the barriers preventing male and female smallholders from using modern wheat varieties. Issues covered through evaluation could include wheat varietal trait preferences, adoption of technology, and decision-making and labor-use changes associated with new varieties.

Concluding the paper is the argument that institutional arrangements in research and development (R&D) programs must transform to address gender equity and inclusivity in wheat improvement.

Read the study: Gender, wheat trait preferences, and innovation uptake: Lessons from Ethiopia and India

Cover photo: Rural farmers associated with JEEViKa-Bihar attend a public wheat harvest activity organized by the Cereal Systems in South Asia (CSISA) project in Nagwa village, India, to encourage conservation agriculture practices in the region. (Photo: Nima Chodon/CIMMYT)