CASCAPE is committed to mainstream gender issues in its activities. There is a gab in the extent to which women and men have access to asset s (i.e. land, oxen, credit, inputs) and agricultural services.


Since women and men are both involved in agricultural activities, CASCAPE is committed to provide equal opportunities for men and women to benefit from the activities we and our partners undertake.


Enset processing


Box 1: Who is the farmer?
There is wide regional diversity in what is perceived as women’s tasks in agriculture. For instance, in Sidama (SNNPR state) ploughing is prohibited for women. There is also diversity by region and crop on what is perceived as a women’s crop and men’s crop. Even though numerous agricultural tasks are perceived as women’s tasks,  the view is widely held in Ethiopia that “women do not farm”.
In Ethiopia the term ‘farmer’ is used synonymously with the word for ‘man’. Women have long been perceived as marginal players. Many Extension Agents, bureau heads and peasant associations refused to acknowledge the importance of women’s role in agricultural production. A farmer in Ethiopian context is seen as someone who can independently engage in ploughing and sowing. Very few women sow and plough on their own; it is seen as inappropriate for a woman (“physically too demanding”).

Increasing opportunities for women in agriculture can have a powerful impact on productivity and agriculture-led growth. Furthermore, when women’s productivity and incomes increase, the benefits amplify across families and generations, because women are known to devote a large fraction of their income to their children’s health and nutrition.

CASCAPE aims to mainstream gender in all its activities. In order to do so, a concept note on gender issues in Ethiopian agricultural context has been developed. This forms the basis for gendered activities within CASCAPE. Furthermore, an action plan has been developed for gendered activities in CASCAPE. Based on experiences in the regions, this action plan is adapted on a yearly basis.

One of the actions is training of CASCAPE members and key partners on gender issues and gender mainstreaming; this will take place in 2013. Besides trainings, some innovation themes are specifically focusing on gendered activities. Below two examples are stated: one from the Southern region (enset processing) and one from Oromia-West (improving home-gardens).

In the Southern region of Ethiopia, enset is an important source of food for more than 15 million people. It is also a source of fibre, animal forage and construction material. Women are the main processors of harvested enset. Enset processing is a cumbersome job, especially with the time and energy consuming traditional processing methodologies used by most women in the region. The Southern Innovation Team therefore initiated activities to reduce the workload for women in enset processing through the introduction of more efficient processing technologies.  

The CASCAPE south team is currently evaluating the latest generation of enset processing tools along with the female farmers and institutions which generate the processing technologies. What makes this approach innovative is the participatory approach in which women enset processors set the criteria for the usefulness of the new technologies. This intervention is implemented in four highland kebeles in the Southern region, involving a total of 10 * 2 * 4 = 80 female farmers in 2012 and 2013.

Home gardens

Home gardening has potential to complement field agriculture in terms of improving the nutritional status of rural families. HomegardensTropical home gardens are ecologically sustainable systems that not only generate important household savings on food, medicine and spice expenditures, but provide subsistence farmers with a supplementary income and improve the nutritional quality of the families’ diet. They offer productive opportunities, and their food products provide badly needed energy, protein, minerals and vitamins to low-income peasant households.

To mitigate nutritional deficiency in diets of smallholder families, several options prevail. These include use of tablets, fortification of commonly used foods, dietary diversification and disease control. Diversification of dietary nutrients through increased productivity of home gardens is seen as one of the more holistic approaches that could improve nutritional status of rural families.

Since home-gardens are mostly managed by women, women are the main beneficiary and partner in activities under this theme. For instance, besides demonstrating new practices and technologies on the cultivation of vegetables, pulses and fruits, the Jimma team of CASCAPE will also organise trainings and field days focusing on food preparation. This is meant to raise awareness on the importance of nutritious food for children, men and women.


You can find more information regarding gender analysis in the CASCAPE project through this link.