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Overcoming gender gaps in rural mechanization

March 6, 2018
A new publication suggests strategies to improve rural women's access to agricultural machinery. Photo: CIMMYT/ Martin Ranak

A new publication suggests strategies to improve rural women’s access to agricultural machinery. Photo: CIMMYT/ Martin Ranak

A new research note published for International Women’s Day, details current gender gaps in rural mechanization in Bangladesh, and outlines plans to overcome these challenges.

Using simple technologies, such as multi-crop reaper-harvesters can reduce the time farmers spend harvesting by up to 80 percent and can reduce the costs of hiring field labor by up to 60 percent. The problem is that women may face cultural constraints to working in the field, running machinery service provision businesses, and do not have equal access to financing, which is a huge barrier, as the technologies can cost $500-2000 up front.

The authors suggest a number of gender-balanced approaches to scaling-out technologies such as use of targeted, selective and smart subsidies and access to finance to women-headed households, methods to spread investment risks, and prioritizing joint learning, with husbands and wives attending field courses together and jointly developing business plans.

View the new research note here.

The research note is a result of joint efforts between the USAID/Washington and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), the USAID/Bangladesh CSISA – Mechanization and Irrigation Project, and the the USAID/Washington funded USAID funded Gender, Climate Change, and Nutrition Integration Initiative (GCAN) project, all of which involve collaborations between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, the International Food Policy Research Institute, International Development Enterprises, the International Rice Research Institute and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.