Contract farming in Mozambique: Implications on gender inequalities within across rural households
This paper (PDF) by UNU-WIDER analyses the implication of contract farming on gender inequalities, both within and across households, in rural Mozambique. Contract farming is often considered one of the major tools of agribusiness development: it broadly includes those arrangements under which producers commit to provide a pre-defined quantity of crop to a buyer firm. When looking at the participation of female-headed households in contracts, results reveal that a selection out of contracts in rural households where a woman is the household’s head. Further, when analysing intra-household women empowerment, a positive correlation of contract farming with women control over land and production, and a negative one with access to services (extension and associations). After controlling for selection bias, the positive effect on control over resources disappears, as well as the negative effect on the participation in producers’ associations. Contracts, at the same time, have a negative impact on the probability that women receive extension services when their household does. This can have an inequality-increasing effect since extension services can be a source of empowerment and relative bargaining power within the household. In terms of policy this work does not aim at reaching a conclusion on the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of contract farming. It simply underlines that emerging market opportunities per se do not mean that women will be necessarily included and empowered, or that gender inequalities will be reduced. Deliberate actions are likely to be needed in this direction. The analysis of possible actions is an important line of research for future works.