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Opportunities and Constraints in Agriculture: A gendered analysis of cocoa production in Southern Cameroon

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Cocoa is one of Cameroon’s most important agricultural commodities and exported cash crops, and women are particularly active in the sector. In order to gather more gender sensitive information, GTZ conducted a survey among 1000 Cameroonian male and female producers. The aim of the survey was to determine the extent and consequences of gender inequality in this key agricultural sector, with the rationale that gender inequalities in the agricultural sector hamper potential economic growth in a country where agriculture is so crucial for the economy. Contrary to initial expectations, the survey showed that the number of women in cash crop production is increasing. Women can purchase and own land of similar size to men and this provides incentives to invest in cocoa farming. Additionally, women farmers’ productivity is at least as high as men’s. However, there are still restrictions on women’s access to land, particularly for unmarried women. The survey found that despite their presence as landowners and cultivators, female cocoa farmers suffer from serious disadvantages when it comes to the opportunity to access agricultural extension services. Additionally, women can often devote less time and expenses to land preparation due to competing commitments, including household chores and food crop production. The paper concludes that these inequalities reduce efficiency in the cocoa sector, and that women could play a far more active and independent role in the agricultural sector if the right policies were in place. It recommends: • Equal access to formal land ownership, including for married women through promotion and use of co-ownership clauses • Equal or, initially, preferential access to extension services for women producers • Support in terms of credit access and the adoption of new technologies for women • Greater control over the marketing process through support for dedicated marketing channels for female producers

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