The impact of women's access to agricultural extension on cropping practices in Timor-Leste

Sonia Akter, William Erskine, Luc Spyckerelle, Lucia Viana Branco, Julie Imron

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    Agricultural development programs are increasingly aiming to boost women’s engagement in agricultural extension in countries and regions where women are marginalized and their access to extension is constrained by socio-cultural and institutional barriers. Studies examining the impact of such programs on women’s participation in extension and households’ agricultural practices are limited. Using the midterm evauation data of a nationwide agricultural intervention program (Seeds of Life) that aimed to augment women’s access to extension service through a community-based seed multiplication initiative, our study identifies a significant gender gap in access to extension in Timor-Leste. We find that an agricultural program with a conscious effort and clear target to engage women significantly improves women’s access to extension. Additionally, our results reveal that women’s access to extension changes households’ cropping practice by increasing the cultivation of the number of major and minor crops and the number of plots. Interestingly, we find a significant negative correlation between women’s access to extension and adoption of improved variety in the program villages.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)449-463
    JournalFood Security
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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