Patterns of agricultural production among male and female holders in Ethiopia


by Evgeniya Anisimova | October 1, 2015

The new report "Patterns of Agricultural Production among Male and Female Holders: Evidence from Agricultural Sample Surveys in Ethiopia" by the Research for Ethiopia's Agriculture Policy (REAP) project explores gender differences in how Ethiopian farmers engage in agricultural production.


Gender inequality presents a significant barrier to increasing agricultural production and food security in Ethiopia. The lack of nationally representative sex-disaggregated data and analysis has hindered the development and implementation of evidence-based policies. This report aims to contribute to filling this gap by presenting a gender analysis of the Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency’s Agricultural Sample Survey (AgSS) data, collected between 2010 and 2013.The analysis reveals clear gender gaps between male and female holders in terms of human capital, natural capital, financial capital, agricultural input use, and participation in crop production and livestock husbandry. Specifically, female holders are less educated, have less family labor, own and manage less land, and are less likely to cultivate rented land compared to male holders. Concurrently, female holders have limited access to extension and advisory services and, therefore, to knowledge and information concerning best agronomic practices. Compared to male holders, female holders are less likely to cultivate commercial and economically valuable crops. This difference substantially contributes to the gender resource gap since these crops generate a higher market value than traditional staple crops.

Moreover, a significantly lower proportion of female holders reported ownership of livestock, especially oxen and equines, which are the primary sources of draught power for plowing and transportation in rural Ethiopia. Overall, this report identifies significant differences in the patterns of agricultural production of male and female holders in Ethiopia and calls for closing these gender gaps, because it would yield enormous benefits at the individual, household, and national levels. The report also puts forward policy priorities for prospective interventions.

Read and download the report>> (pdf)

This research is an output of IFPRI’s Research for Ethiopia’s Agriculture Policy (REAP) project that provides analytical support for ATA. Financial support for REAP is graciously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This work was undertaken with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Featured Image: Beautiful Smile, Tigray. Flickr, photo credit: Rod Waddington