Market oriented dairying and its impact on women’s decision making in the North rift, Kenya
Interest in gender roles, decision making and control of income in a specific society has been growing for more than ten years, driven by the realization that women often do not benefit from development activities and in some cases become even poorer and more marginalised. Commercialisation leading to increased incomes could have negative consequences for women and as intra-household gender dynamics in Africa have shown, when a crop enters the formal market economy, men are likely to take over from women. On a balance women are more vulnerable in a market-oriented production than men. This study investigated how commercialisation resulting from market formalisation in the dairy sector has influenced gendered patterns in; division of labour in livestock production and marketing, milk marketing, dairy income management and decision making over dairy resources and benefits. The overall objective of this study was to analyse dairy commercialisation and its effects on gender in terms of division of labour, participation in markets, income control and decision making. The specific objectives were to analyse the effects of commercialisation of the dairy sector on gender roles in the dairy value chain, to determine the effect of dairy commercialisation on women’s and men’s participation in dairy marketing, to analyse the influence of dairy commercialisation on gender control over dairy income and to determine the effect of dairy commercialisation on household decision making on dairy resources and benefits as result of dairy commercialisation. The study was guided by a combination of the cooperative and non-cooperative bargaining household models in order capture the complex and dynamic realities embedded in household relationships and interactions in terms of division of labour, market participation, income control and decision making. This study was conducted in Nandi and Uasin Gishu Counties situated in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Structured interviews were conducted where 147 households were interviewed from Nandi County and they represented the actors in the formal market and 143 households from Uasin Gishu County, who represented the actors in the informal set up. In each household both husband and wife were interviewed. Focus group discussions as well as Key informant interviews were held. Survey data subjected to bivariate and multivariate analysis which provided associations between and among variables. Qualitative data were sorted out and assembled around themes according to the study objectives. The results revealed that both husbands and wives in commercialised and non-commercialised dairy households were involved in livestock production, but the roles, marketing patterns, income control and decision making varied between men and women and among women. When compared to husbands, wives from both commercialised and non-commercialised households were more disadvantaged and when compared among themselves wives from commercialised households were more constrained than those from non-commercialised households. The negative effects resulting from commercialisation were in form of increased labour demand for women, decreased participation in formal dairy markets by women, reduced level of control of the increased incomes from milk and decreased decision making ability regarding main livestock resources and benefits. The study concludes that commercialisation of the dairy sector has some negative effects on women in terms of increased labour, reduced participation in formal markets, reduced control of milk incomes and reduced decision making ability. The study, therefore, recommends that research projects should incorporate the potential impact of any livestock technology on gender with monitoring and evaluation indicators for commercialisation focussing on changes in production system and distribution of the income. Gender trainings challenging the status quo in livestock production and marketing should be held to help erode some of the negative cultural practices which are oppressive to women and lastly market interventions should aim at improving the informal markets where women are mainly involved in addition strategies aimed at increasing women’s participation in the formal markets.