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Gender Differences in Adoption of Improved Wheat Variety Technology in Kenya.

Studies have shown that women farmers are worse off than the male counterparts in terms of adoption of improved varietal technology and hence they experience low productivity. This technology adoption gender gap affects agricultural development considering that women in Kenya play a significant role in agriculture and food production. The link between gender and adoption is likely to vary across cultures and over time. The hypothesis of significant gender differences in access to and use of productive resources and adoption of improved wheat varieties was tested. Based on bivariate analysis, significant differences in access and use of productive resources between men and women farmers were observed. Men were more likely to access credit, extension services, own and cultivate more lands compared to women. Similarly, women in female-headed households were less likely to access the productive resources compared to women in male-headed households. The factors that affect adoption of improved wheat varieties among smallholder farmers were analysed with a specific focus on women. In contrast to the conventional model of using gender of the household head, gender and plot levels analyses were conducted. The results show that the gender of the field owner had a negative effect on adoption of improved wheat varieties. This indicates that, men were more likely to adopt improved wheat varieties, compared to women farmers. Moreover, the level of education of the household head, household size, and access to credit and extension services were observed to significantly increase the likelihood of farmers adopting improved wheat varieties. In the same framework, female farmers in male-headed households who had access to credit were more likely to adopt improved wheat varieties while there was greater probability of adoption of improved wheat varieties among female farmers in female-headed households who had access to agriculture extension and belonged to a farmer organization

Godwin Macharia, Bernice Ngina
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Research for development (R4D) approaches to minimize the threat of new Pgt races to wheat production in Ethiopia

Recurrent outbreaks of rusts debilitated mega wheat varieties in major production areas in Ethiopia. Projects to accelerate seed multiplication of rust resistant varieties funded by USAID, BMGF and others contributed to the replacement of the widely grown susceptible varieties Kubsa and Galama. In 2013/14, a new Pgt race (TKTTF) - unrelated to Ug99 - caused 100% yield losses on bread wheat variety Digalu. The continuing epidemic calls for fast replacement of the now susceptible varieties by accelerated seed multiplication to scale-up new varieties with durable rust resistance, and demonstrations to promote their adoption. In 2014, CIMMYT initiated a short term R4D project ‘Emergency Seed Support and Demonstration of Rust Resistant Wheat Varieties in Stem Rust Affected Areas of Ethiopia’. The project was financed by USAID and implemented in collaboration with EIAR, regional agricultural research institutes, and the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture. In collaboration with DRRW, CDL, and WSU, technical assistance was given to research centers to phenotype and genotype their breeding lines and commercial cultivars. A total of 352 Development Agents (15% female) were trained in rust identification, seed technology and crop management. Eight rust resistant varieties were demonstrated on 430 model farms in 16 districts in Oromia, Amhara and SNNPR. Awareness was created through field days organized by the Kulumsa and Sinana research centers in Arsi and Bale, respectively. Technical and financial support was given to four federal (Kulumsa, Werer, Debre Zeit, and Holetta) and three regional (Mekele, Sinana, and Adet) research centers for early generation seed multiplication. A total of 2,000 resource-poor farm households (10% female headed) selected on the basis of having suffered heavy losses to stem rust in the previous season, received technical assistance and 165 tonnes of seed of rust resistant varieties. Assisted farmers recorded above average zonal yields in 2014/15.

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