Gender based constraints and opportunities influencing farmer participation in coffee IPM groups in Bugisu sub region, Uganda
Studies in various countries have found that gender influences participation in farmer group activities with men and women experiencing varied opportunities and constraints. However, the situation in Uganda was likely to have a different manifestation given that gender is a dynamic concept which varies over time and space. A study was therefore conducted to determine the factors (gender based constraints and opportunities) influencing small holder farmer participation in Coffee IPM group processes in Bugisu sub region, Uganda. A total of 120 (60 men and 60 women) coffee IPM group members selected through purposive sampling technique were interviewed. The participation and knowledge levels of group members was computed using indices and differences between men and women farmers compared using chi-square & independent t-tests in SPSS. An ordered Probit model in STATA was used to analyze the factors influencing farmer participation in coffee IPM group processes. Results indicated that, a higher proportion of men (38%) compared to women (28%) reported high participation in coffee IPM group processes with a significant chi-square difference between participation and gender (χ2 (9) = 7.537a, p< 0.05). The lower participation level by women was due to their subordinate position to men in society. In addition, a higher proportion of men (33%) compared to women (28%) reported high level of knowledge of the CSB IPM practices although this was not significant. Gender of the respondents, coffee production information seeking; quantity of coffee harvested, farmer’s duration in the coffee IPM group, rating of benefits obtained from the coffee IPM group, and knowledge of CSB IPM practices significantly influenced farmer participation in Coffee IPM group processes. Men who sought coffee production information, harvested large quantities in their coffee fields, have spent at least 4 years in coffee IPM group and obtain high group benefit which is knowledge of CSB IPM practices participated more. Men’s position in the society gives them a greater opportunity to attend group meetings, contribute ideas during meetings that are taken up and obtain more knowledge of CSB IPM practices. The study recommends that a gender analysis be carried out to identify women’s strategic gender needs and underlying causes, deliberately target and empower women to participate actively in coffee IPM group processes. Reaching women with IPM information with special consideration to their needs would greatly boost their knowledge level. Innovative ways of reaching women with poor coffee production information seeking behaviors, those with low coffee harvests and those who recently joined the coffee IPM group would increase their participation in group processes.