Gender and Agricultural Mechanization: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of the Impacts of Multi-Crop Reaper-Harvester Service Provision in Bangladesh

IFPRI Discussion Paper 1837, 2019

48 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2019

See all articles by Sophie Theis

Sophie Theis

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Timothy J. Krupnik

International Maize And Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

Nasrin Sultana

Independent

Syed-Ur Rahman

Cereal Systems Initiative

Greg Seymour

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Naveen Abedin

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: May 14, 2019

Abstract

Farmer hiring of agricultural machinery services is common in South Asia. Informal fee-for-service arrangements have positioned farmers so they can access use of machinery to conduct critical, time-sensitive agricultural tasks like land preparation, seeding, irrigation, harvesting and post- harvesting operations. However, both the provision and rental of machinery services are currently dominated by men, and by most measures, it appears that women have comparatively limited roles in this market and may receive fewer benefits. Despite the prevailing perception in rural Bangladesh that women do not participate in agricultural entrepreneurship, women do not necessarily lack a desire to be involved. Using a mixed methods approach involving literature review, secondary data collection, focus groups and key informant interviews, and a telephone survey, we studied the gendered differences in women’s and men’s involvement in emerging markets for rice and wheat reaper-harvester machinery services in Bangladesh. We find that women benefit from managing and sometimes owning machinery services, as well as from the direct and indirect consequences of hiring such services to harvest their crops. However, a number of technical, economic, and cultural barriers appear to constrain female participation in both reaper service business ownership and in hiring services as a client. In addition, women provided suggestions for how to overcome barriers constraining their entry into rural machinery services as an entrepreneur. Men also reflected on the conditions they would consider supporting women to become business owners. Our findings have implications for addressing social norms in support of women’s rural entrepreneurship and technology adoption in South Asia’s smallholder dominated rural economies.

Keywords: gender, farm equipment, agricultural mechanization, technology, role of women, rural women

Suggested Citation

Theis, Sophie and Krupnik, Timothy J. and Sultana, Nasrin and Rahman, Syed-Ur and Seymour, Greg and Abedin, Naveen, Gender and Agricultural Mechanization: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of the Impacts of Multi-Crop Reaper-Harvester Service Provision in Bangladesh (May 14, 2019). IFPRI Discussion Paper 1837, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3392384

Sophie Theis (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

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Timothy J. Krupnik

International Maize And Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) ( email )

Apdo. Postal 6-641
Texcoco, El Batan 06600
Mexico

Nasrin Sultana

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
United States

Syed-Ur Rahman

Cereal Systems Initiative ( email )

Greg Seymour

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Naveen Abedin

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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