The incorporation of gender issues in the DFID NARP 11 project of Kenya Agricultural research institute-KARI
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In the traditional Kenyan societies, agricultural production responsibilities were divided along gender lines with men clearing land, tending large farm animals and sometimes helping in planting and harvesting. Women were responsible for planting, weeding, harvesting, storage, processing of food and keeping small animals in additio!l to all other domestic work (World Bank, 1989). This division of labour changed in the 1960s with the introduction of cash crops. Men took over the growing of cash crops while women continued to grow food crops for subsistence and still contribute labour in their husband's plots. The increase of population over the years and the decreasing farm sizes has led to out migration of males to the urban areas and others engaging in non-farm income generating activities leaving women as the main small-scale agricultural producers (Mutoro, 1997 Ndubi 1997 World Bank 1989). As Whitehead (1992) observes, the out migration of men has been an important feature of some rural areas during the 19th century leading to what she refers to as "feminisation of food production", 1992). This has led to further evolvement of sex division of labour making it less clear as that reported elsewhere in Africa by Boserp (1970) and others (Ndubi, 1997). Gender division of labour by task is now breaking down and rural women are increasingly undertaking tasks previously performed by men such as land preparation (Saito, 1994). A study in dry land areas of Eastern Kenya shows that this change is a one way phenomena in that women are taking over men's responsibilities but not vice-versa (Ndubi, 1997). Gender division of labour by crop is still common though both men and women farmers grow food and cash crops, only a few crops are now being grown exclusively by men or women. Where husband and wife live on the farm, they operate different plots. Jointly managed plots are becoming rare, less than 5% of the surveyed farms (Saito, 1994). Decision making patterns depend on the type of household. Where both husband and wife live on the farm and manage separate plots each makes most of the decisions on their own plots, however each has some influence on their spouses' plots. Husbands have more influence on their wives' plots than vice-versa. Such influence is more on farm issues that require less cash inputs (what to plant) than on others such as use of fertiliser. Each usually keeps the proceeds of his or her own plots (84% of men and 76%of women) (Saito, 1994). In female headed households, most of the farm day-to-day decisions are made by the women except the few that require major cash outlay which are made by mature sons. Women make most of the decisions in female managed households but a final consent is sought from the husband on major issues such as sale of livestock (Berg, 1997 Ndubi, 1997). Such households with reliable remittance income from husbands are considerably better off than those without. Although agricultural development/research has been underway in most Sub Saharan African since before independence, its outcomes are gendered. Some of the available technologies have proved social-culturally unacceptable or ineffective in reducing time/energy required in agricultural production (Mgonja 1996). Such failure is attributed to lack of gender awareness during the technology development process (Koijman and Mbabu 1998). Women in general are less consulted in research as scientists and extension tend to talk to men. As reported by Mutoro, (1997), women in Kenya are not officially recognised as farmers but as housewives who get government institutional support and financial benefits through the male house heads forgetting that some women are household heads themselves. Only in 1995 that the process of incorporating gender issues in KARl's research was started as will be discussed latter. As Ndubi (1997) reports, women farmers are willing to participate in agricultural research activities when invited to do so. In technology adoption, women are better in adopting labour-based technologies than cash-based due to their limited access to credit. Their concern to maintain household food security makes them reluctant to diversify out staple crops until they are confident that the new technical change will meet this need (Saito 1994).