APRA Working Paper 88: Agricultural Commercialisation, Gender Relations and Women’s Empowerment in Smallholder Farm Households: Evidence from Zimbabwe

Written by: Godfrey Mahofa, Chrispen Sukume and Vine Mutyasira

Agricultural commercialisation has been identified as an important part of the structural transformation process, as the economy grows from subsistence to highly commercialised entities that rely on the market for both inputs and for the sale of crops. However, this process is likely to leave some sections of society behind, particularly women. Little empirical evidence is available in sub-Saharan Africa that examines the relationship between commercialisation and women’s empowerment. This paper fills this gap and uses data from two rounds of surveys of smallholder farmers conducted in Zimbabwe to show that agricultural commercialisation reduces women’s empowerment, while crop diversification improves women’s empowerment.

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