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Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt

Professor, pro dean


Agricultural intensification and gender in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia


  • Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt
  • aida isinika
  • Miriam Joshua
  • Wisdom Kaleng'a
  • Audrey Kalindi
  • Elibariki Msuya
  • Wapulumuka Mulwafu
  • Mukata Wamulume

Summary, in English

The SAIRLA-supported AFRINT IV project has been collecting data on agricultural intensification from23 farming communities in seven regions in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia since 2008. Policies in allcountries have a strong focus on maize intensification and also target women as recipients ofsubsidised farm inputs. During this time, data on maize shows that only in the Zambian region hasthere been a sustained increase in yields, but this has been tied to a persistent gender gap. In theother two countries, yields have been stagnant. In the case of Malawi this is explained by poverty, landfragmentation and a gradual depletion of natural resources. In the case of Tanzania, withdrawal ofsubsidy schemes for maize in combination with new commercial opportunities in rice and tree cropsappear to be changing land use patterns.Despite these differences, women are united by some common characteristics: generally womenexperience mobility constraints as a result of domestic chores and socially restrictive norms. Moreover,the condition for co-financing to access subsidies disadvantages poorer households – many of whichare headed by women. Finally, women’s access to labour is limited, both that of men in particular, butalso the drudgery of their own domestic tasks and care burdens imposes restrictions on their time. Theseasonality of smallholder agriculture means that the effects of these shortages on intensification areaggravated.Policies need to redress all of these aspects, for instance through rural electrification and expandingbasic healthcare for children, encouraging small scale enterprises among women and gendersensitisation campaigns that involve men as well as women.


  • Department of Human Geography

Publishing year




Document type



  • Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries