Cultivating opportunities for women in agriculture
This blog by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) explores opportunities for women in agriculture using two national surveys of smallholder households in Mozambique and Tanzania. These suggest that women face several barriers, which may prevent them from diversifying their sources of income both within and away from agriculture. Their lack of access to formal financial services may be one of these barriers. In both Tanzania and Mozambique, female smallholders appear to be as active as men in the use of financial services, when considering both formal and informal finance mechanisms. However, women rely almost exclusively on informal options. This implies that it is harder for them to access financial products that informal providers do not offer, such as insurance and long-term loans. This, in turn, limits their financial options to make important investments and improve livelihood management strategies. However, the opportunity exists for financial services providers to design products and delivery channels that allow women to seize opportunities and thrive beyond what current financial options make possible. The national surveys also show that smallholders who use digital financial services are more educated than those who do not. Also among smallholders with mobile money accounts, fewer women use their accounts to access additional digital financial services. Policy makers must take note of such results and they must also consider the constraints women face in land and property rights.