Gender inequality in smallholder onion (Allium cepa l.) production in the far north region of Cameroon

The objective of the study was to investigate how the roles of men and women affect onion productivity in the north region of Cameroon. Our mixed-methods research design included field observations, key informants group discussions, gender analysis, and one-on-one structured interviews with a total of 210 respondents. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analyzing data. Results indicate that onion is the most profitable crop for both men and women in the region compared to other crops such as groundnuts. Onion production is mostly characterized by a youthful cohort of farmers, with most of the respondents aged between 26 to 36 years. Although the respondents had less education than farmers in the western region of Cameroon, they demonstrated strong farming capabilities, with more than 50 percent having 10 years of experience in onion production. Onion is perceived to be a “man’s crop” in the study region with only 22 percent of onion producers being women. Women mentioned difficulties in acquiring land and storage facilities as the main constraints to successful onion production. Men had more and easier access to fertilizers and extension services than women. Women’s average onion productivity at (7.9 t/ha) was found to be lower than the national average of 10 t/ha and is also lower than that of men at 11 t/ha. The low onion productivity of women is a result of social and economic constraints such as lack of funds to ensure timely field operations and lack of time to supervise work in their fields. The study suggests that women farmers should be sensitized on the gender-related inequality they encounter that results in inefficiencies to improve their empowerment status while building their self-confidence.

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Regine Tchientche Kamga, Isaac Roger Tchouamo, Ronal Chendjou, Jean Claude Bidogeza and Victor Afari-Sefa. 2016. Gender inequality in smallholder onion (Allium cepa l.) production in the far north region of Cameroon. Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security, 1(3), 85-103. 10.19268/JGAFS.132016.5