“Women are more worried about the money:” Gender-responsive, integrated pest management solutions in southern Vietnam

Authors: Maria Elisa Christie*, Virginia Tech, Daniel Mark Sumner, Virginia Tech, Hanh Tran Thi My, Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI), Vietnam, Truc Ngo Thi Thanh, Cần Thơ University, Vietnam, Tien Doan Huu, Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI), Vietnam
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Gender, Development
Keywords: Vietnam, agriculture, IPM, gender, research-for-development, mixed methods, labor, access, decision-making
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This presentation explores gendered aspects of a USAID-funded agricultural research-for-development project working with three fruit crops in southern Vietnam: dragon fruit, mango, and longan. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic and sustainable approach to abate crop losses from pests and reduce dependence on chemical pesticides. The design, development, and dissemination of IPM practices and packages requires an understanding of the broader socio-economic and agro-ecological landscape, questioning where, when, why, and for whom such pest management approaches are most appropriate. We utilized a mixed methods approach to document gender impacts from IPM adoption, including focus group discussions, a survey of male and female fruit producers, and semi-structured interviews with farmers, vendors, and leaders of women’s organizations. We find that there are gendered differences in the ways men and women experience the advantages and disadvantages from applying IPM, including differences in the time and effort they spend on pest management and gendered differences in the ways men and women benefited (or not) from capacity development programs. Likewise, we document how intra-household decision-making, including decisions linked to investing and applying new agricultural technologies or management practices, is rooted in conventional gender norms. The study found women’s participation in pest management to be linked primarily to market and financial aspects, and led to a series of workshops that directly target women’s priorities in this realm alongside technical IPM components. Our findings support the need for gender-responsive research-for-development informed by an understanding of women’s and men’s problems and priorities.

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