Gender Roles and Relations in the Wheat Production of Nigeria: Strengthening the Participation of Women
Three main achievements at the institutional level through the integration of gender into the SARD-SC Wheat Project in Nigeria were realized. The first was to increase awareness of stakeholders on the role of women as producers of wheat and thereby importance of targeting them for production interventions (grain and seed growing). The second was to come up with innovative approaches to value addition, a subject largely marginalized from extension systems programing yet of significance to women. The third achievement involved institutions gaining experience in integrating rural women into their programming. In addition to gaining the acceptance of male leaders and household members, the experiences of women in value addition, grain production, and micro-credit access, challenged institutional and community gender norms which seldom see women as farmers or as a target for6 agricultural extension programs. In particular, women benefitted through an increased ability to generate income (for over 50% of those who participated in the value addition training as well as increased yields and areas planted with wheat); a reduction in workload through the introduction and/or increasing the availability of five main interventions (mechanization (harvester, thresher, planter); pesticide use; use of whole wheat in cooking; oil addition to pasta making; and short wheat varieties); and an increase in decision-making power through leadership strengthening in key meetings and organizations, sustained control over income related to wheat value addition profits, and access to technologies and more informed decision-making in adoption of new agronomic practices and wheat varieties on own farms. Taken together, the project addresses practical and strategic gender gaps to overcome obstacles for women in wheat production and processing.