Addressing gender and social inequality

N. Palmer (CIAT)

Understanding the production choices of Peru’s male and female rice farmers

Latin America
Climate-Smart Technologies and Practices

Rice farmers in Peru are very exposed to the effects of climate change, yet there has been little research exploring this topic. Relevant studies with a gender focus are rarer still. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has responded to this knowledge gap, in partnership with CCAFS, the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), the National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA) in Peru, and the USA’s University of Florida. Their research collaboration is helping to build understanding of how and why rice farmers adopt improved rice varieties, the gender division of labour, and differences in men and women’s perceptions of the changing climate.

Researchers discover that women in Peru own or manage fewer rice plots than men and, where they do, their rice yields are lower

Researchers discover that women in Peru own or manage fewer rice plots than men and, where they do, their rice yields are lower. N. Palmer (CIAT)

The study’s geographical focus is Peru’s northern coast and its Amazon region, the areas where the country’s rice farming is concentrated. Researchers interviewed almost 500 farmers with plots of land between 0.5 and 10 ha.

So far, the study has shown that only 23% of women manage rice plots, while even fewer (9%) grow rice on land that they themselves own. However, women make up 31% of hired labour and up to 60% of family labour once tasks such as cooking are included. On average, plots managed by women yield 4.5% less rice than men’s plots. Researchers attribute this to women’s relatively poor access to resources such as hired labour, credit and extension services. The researchers also found that agricultural households use different coping mechanisms to respond to climate stress, depending on the form it takes. The adoption of new rice varieties is one way of coping with climate stress; other possible coping strategies include reducing the size of the rice area or diversifying the crop.

The researchers plan to publish their findings in the near future.

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