Gender Effect on Banana Production in Kikagati subcounty Isingiro district
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Women in Uganda play a vital role in banana production, especially on a small-scale. Most of the women however face challenges in owning banana plantations. They are mainly able to access banana plantations user rights by virtue of relationship to their fathers, husbands or sons. Despite the active participation of women in banana production, a number of gender-based constraints are still predominant in major banana growing areas of the country. These ranges from lack of ownership rights and control over resources like land and banana plantations, which greatly affect their participation in banana production. Evidence on the extent to the inclusive participation of women in banana participation continues to be curtailed in Uganda by various gender based constraints is still limited. This study therefore makes a contribution to literature by establishing gender roles along banana value chains. The study analysis examines the farmer perceptions and causes of variation in gender roles along the banana value chain, and further assesses gender related constraints involved in banana production. A mix of methods was used in data analysis, and these include: field observation, field photography, literature review and administration of questionnaires through face to face interviews. Data was collected from Kikagati Sub-county located in Isingiro District in South-Western Uganda from a sample of banana farmers and traders. Data was processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Results of the study show that members of household play different roles in banana management activities. Men do more of the off-farm activities and are found to enjoy more control than women with regards to decision making on the far. Women are also actively involved in the banana value chain. Major factors that explain the underlying variations in gender roles along the banana value chain include: culture that continues to limit decision making potential of women with regards to banana production and marketing, low levels of knowledge of banana productivity among women compared to men, limited access to collateral for securing credit, domestic work overload, and misunderstanding of religious teachings that regards fathers the head of the family and decision maker among others. The gender related constraints involved in banana production are also identified as: high costs of available banana production technologies, limited skills and knowledge of banana production activities, high interest rates on credit, and unreliable electricity among others. This study therefore concludes that both men and women play many roles in the banana value chain, however the roles played by women are not very much recognized and appreciated.