Factors driving the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Uganda
In Uganda, as elsewhere in the eastern and southern African region, women and men farmers do not always face the same production conditions, nor do they always make the same production choices. As a result they may not have identical levels of agricultural productivity. This recognition was a key reason underlying a joint investigation by the United Nations and the World Bank, which in 2015 produced the report The Cost of the Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. This report showed that male farmers had higher productivity than female because they grow higher-value crops and employ better technologies. The current study affirms this result, but digs deeper to identify the key drivers of this gender gap. In Uganda, social norms — often reinforced by gender-based violence— assign women responsibility for providing household maintenance. This produces “time poverty” for most women relative to their own agricultural activities. Policies designed to alter the terms and conditions by which women operate in input and product markets may have a limited impact on their agricultural productivity, because such recommendations do not address the underlying forces that result in women’s lower agricultural productivity.