Northwestern University

Mon 4:00 PM

Agricultural Innovation in Africa: Gendered and Non-gendered Paradigm Shifts

When: Monday, November 18, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Conference Room, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


The Program of African Studies and One Book One Northwestern present:

Agricultural Innovation in Africa: Gendered and Non-gendered Paradigm Shifts

Anita Spring, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida

Abstract: Some argue that "women will be the next agricultural revolution." As enticing as that sounds for solving food security problems, can it be so given funding and the lack of political will to reach women farmers on a large scale? This presentation assesses gendered and non-gendered constraints and successes of women and men farmers in Africa.

Disadvantaged women and men smallholder farmers include those who are food insecure to those who are at subsistence level. They may lack adequate land (access and ownership), agricultural inputs (seed, fertilizers, agrochemicals), labor, credit/loans, and market access. They also may lack know-how of production techniques and irrigation needed for better yields. However, some have been recipients of funding and training programs, while others have benefited by programs that tout paradigm shifts and ITC usage. The latter include new production and marketing modes, as well as better financial capacitation.

There also is another category of advantaged, women and men commercial farmers. They range from small- to large-scale producers and contract farmers, to market traders and agribusiness entrepreneurs. Many have had extension advisory services training. Others have formal agricultural science degrees. Most of the farmers are involved in "the market," have access to resources (land, labor, and capital), and are linked to farmers' associations and business networks. Still others come from wealthy land-holding families. All of them may have benefited from agricultural innovations that include: new production modes, up-scaling to larger ventures, venture capital for commercial purposes, and enterprise diversification.

The presentation will explore case studies from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It will also discuss new conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification techniques to show ways women and men can restore their lands and soils, and make use of advanced agricultural techniques that impact household and community food security.

Bio: Dr. Spring received her bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley in chemistry, master's from San Francisco State University in anthropology, Ph.D. from Cornell University in anthropology. She is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Florida (UF). She was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UF. She served as Chief of the Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She has worked as a consultant for USAID, USDA, the Office of Technology Assessment (US Congress), FAO, GTZ, and private companies that carry out development assistance. She served as president of Culture and Agriculture (2008-10), Vice President of the International Academy of African Business and Development (2010-13) and Executive Secretary (2006-2010). Currently, she is president of the Association for Africanist Anthropology and president of the Retired Faculty at UF.

Her research topics are agricultural intensification and food security; business and entrepreneurship (micro to global); gender issues in international development; and policy and management styles. She carried out research and development in Zambia (3 years), Malawi (2 years), and Ethiopia (1 year), and also worked in Botswana, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Her work on natural resource management, participatory appraisals, and gender and development have also focused on Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad.

She is the author or editor of 10 books and over 60 articles and monographs. Currently, she is the director of SABER, the Sub-Saharan African Business Environment Project that provides business environment information on the major economic, business, political and social indicators, and trends for the 20 largest Sub-Saharan African economies. SABER 2011 and SABER 2012 have been published and are also available on the web. She has just returned from Haiti, Ghana, and Cambodia where she was evaluating agricultural intensification projects for women and men farmers.

Add Event to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in