New Seeds and Women's Welfare - The Case of NERICA Upland Rice and Labor Dynamics in Hoima District, Uganda
African women farmers do not always benefit from and are sometimes adversely affected by the introduction of new technologies, including high-yielding varieties and their often-associated improved management systems. This paper seeks to further this claim in the wake of what has been referred to as "the NERICA Revolution" in Uganda, by providing an illustration of the impact the introduction of NERICA upland rice has had on the gendered labor dynamics in smallholder households in Hoima District. The concrete effects on women farmers are particularly considered. To date, "the success" of the dissemination of NERICA has mainly been measured econometrically in terms of production growth or household income gain. This type of analysis allows for capturing shifts in physiological deprivations on household level. But it omits the dimension of social deprivation that, on the individual level, considers the prevalence or absence of empowering elements such as time, influence on decisionmaking, access to information and education, etc. Having researched women’s experiences of the introduction of NERICA both qualitatively and quantitatively, we conclude that while households that have adopted NERICA have, as units, become better off in economic terms (their physiological deprivation reduced), the extreme labor burden NERICA induces on women exacerbates their social deprivations, particularly in terms of time poverty and drudgery. This has policy implications. If NERICA is going to become a sustainable powerful poverty fighter in Uganda, as many hope, it is imperative that this aspect is addressed so as to avoid farmers opting out of the production over time.
- Human Geography
International Rice Research Conference 28, 2010