Gender disparities in livestock production and their implication for livestock productivity in Africa
Keywords:Gender, Livestock, Africa
Livestock is a dominant agricultural activity in Africa, which is generally considered a key asset for most rural livelihoods and food security. This discussion is a synthesis of counter productive gender disparities in livestock production, focusing on issues of ownership, decision making and access to productive resources, and how these may influence livestock production. Livestock production in general, offers advantages over other agricultural activities and has been used as an entry point for promoting gender balance. However, the contribution of livestock production to household welfare in most cases has been insignificant due to various gender disparities. There are many measures which need to be explored with the aim of making the livestock systems become driving forces of rural household economies. Through the ‘gender lens’ the discussion also examines the roles, activities, responsibilities, opportunities and constraints of women in livestock production which compromise the achievement of greater equality between women and men within their spheres of interaction in household livestock production. One of the major factors responsible for the declining livestock productivity in rural areas is the relegation to the background of the contributions of women in the issues of livestock production. In this discussion, some of the strategic steps that can be adopted for future viable livestock production, include and not limited to the following: promotion of gender equality and equity in livestock production systems in terms of equal access to productive resources and empowering women in livestock production decision making. Therefore, it is imperative to make a distinction among the types of responsibility that women have over livestock: ownership, control over decision-making, use rights and provision of labour in livestock production. Strategies and planning of livestock developmental models that take account of a gender dimension in livestock development policies, should be reference guide for future rural sustainable livestock development programs and projects.
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