Authors: Rebecca Witinok-Huber*, University of Idaho, Steve Radil, University of Idaho, Dilshani Sarathchandra, University of Idaho
Topics: Africa, Gender, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Liberia, gender, agricultural extension, smallholder farmer, mixed-methods
Session Type: Poster
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Liberia received an influx of foreign aid following the end of its 14-year civil war in 2003. The Liberian government, led by Africa’s first elected female head of state, prioritized reconstruction of the agricultural sector and improving women’s rights in that rebuilding process. Thus, Liberia was an appropriate setting to study the intersection between gender and agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) for smallholder farms. As part of a USAID program, a mixed-methods approach was used to collect baseline data on the current agricultural challenges of smallholder farmers, specifically women, to accessing AEAS and adopting new practices and technology. Research was carried out in 23 purposefully selected communities within the three counties considered to be Liberia’s breadbasket. Initial analysis reveals statistically significant variations in the size of land (acres) that women farm by county. Additionally, a statistically significant relationship was found between farmer county of residence and access to AEAS provided by the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture. Further, qualitative coding of focus groups illuminates place-based challenges for women related to accessibility of markets and cultural gender norms. In combination with rich qualitative data, spatial relationships found in the study present new geographic discoveries related to the place-based needs of Liberian smallholder farmers, specifically women. Study results have the potential to improve policy recommendations and community outcomes based on combined gender and geographically specific agricultural insights.