-SSi;.'1:" W ,A. ...7. -'."..' ~" ir ". ....-'"r'"""-
at the nivers.f j Florda- -
GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
Participation and Training of Egyptian
Farm Women in Agriculture
Ms. Coleen Brown, Dr. Yeldez Ishak,
Dr. Zeinab El-Tobshy and Mrs. Naima Hassan
The Egyptian Major Cereals Improvement Project (EMCIP) is a USAID-
financed Project under a Grant Agreement between the Consortium for In-
ternational Development (CID) and the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture
and Food Security. Active work has been underway since 1980.
The focus has been to develop research and extension programs and
to build one team with an institutional linkage. With their combined
efforts the goal was to increase agricultural production by:
25% in maize, sorghum, wheat and barley
15% in food legumes and forages
Maize is an important cereal used in bread in the rural area where
wheat is more popular for use in the urban area. Food legumes when com-
bined with cereal products are important when considering human nutri-
tion because the combination makes a diet rich in protein, lysine and
methionine. There is an increasing demand for red meat and dairy pro-
ducts and this creates a shortage of forage feed for animals especially
in the summer months.
There are approximately 3 million farm households averaging 3.5
feddans in Egypt. Because of the climate, they can raise two crops per
- 2 -
year. The Government requires crop rotations where the farmer is strong-
ly urged to grow wheat and rice and he must grow cotton every 2 or 3 years.
EMCIP staff have demonstrated through on-farm demonstration trials
that it is possible to increase crop production and net income of farmers.
Women's role in agriculture has often been disregarded but recent
studies have documented the Egyptian women not only participate greatly
in the major tasks of production but they also take part in the decisions
that are being made concerning the agricultural practices. Men have been
migrating to other countries or the cities and this makes it necessary
for more women to manage the farms. Governorate agricultural extension
women staff are trained and willing to work with farm women. However,
they seldom contact the farmers because they have limited transportation
and resources. Although some of the farm women know the male extension
agent, cultural restrictions make it difficult for him to provide con-
tinuous services to the female farmer. Also new programs may need to
be implemented which are more relevant to farm women's needs.
In January 1984, Dr. A. Momtaz, Egyptian Director General, became
concerned at the lack of information reaching the women farmers. He
and Dr. Keith Roberts, Chief of Party, appointed a committee to study
the role of Egyptian farm women in agriculture.
The Committee has been conducting research in four areas. These
are described in some detail in this paper.
- 3 -
SURVEYS CONDUCTED IN TWO GOVERNORATES RELATING TO TASKS PERFORMED BY
FAMILY MEMBERS AND THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN DECISION MAKING
A questionnaire was conducted in 1984 in Gharbiya Governorate in
northern Egypt and in Menya Governorate in southern Egypt to document:
Specific tasks that men, women and children are performing in
the production, storage and marketing of maize, wheat and for-
ages. Rice was covered in Gharbiya Governorate and soybeans in
Utilization of products.
Types of agricultural decisions in which women are involved.
A random sample was drawn and 418 respondents were interviewed from
farm households in these two Governorates. Extension staff women co-
ordinated and conducted the survey with farm women in those households.
Half of those interviewed were selected from farms which were in the
EMCIP Production Demonstration Program and the other half were non-
participants with EMCIP. Pictures were taken to document the tasks per-
formed by women.
An EMCIP report "Role of Women in Field Crops Production and Related
Information" (Ishak et al., 1985) reported the findings concerning the
participation of each member of the family in agricultural tasks., care
of animals and household tasks. Data was reported on the use for food
within the family, for livestock on the family farm, or for sale for
wheat, maize, berseem clover, rice and soybeans. Contrasts between
EMCIP and non-EMCIP demonstration program participants and between
Gharbiya and Menya Governorates are identified by statistical tests
and discussed. Part of the findings are reproduced here.
Survey In Gharbiya Governorate (Lower Egypt)
On average, 68% of the women were married and 30% were widows.
The majority of them (95%) were illiterate. Of those who were literate,
most had less than six years of schooling. The majority (74%) were 40
years old or older, with about half of them in the 40-49 year old group.
The remaining 26% were in the 30-39 year old group. On average, 51% of
the families consisted of 5-9 persons, 25% varied from 10-19 persons,
while 20% had 1-4 persons. A few (4%) had 20 or more. Nearly two-thirds
(62%) owned or possessed 1-3 feddans (equivalent to about 1-3 acres),
22% had less than one feddan, and 15% had more than 3 feddans. Wives
owned 44% of the farms while 52% were owned by husbands, leaving 4% for
other family members. Laborers were hired for field work by 82% of the
families. Extension specialists are a source of agricultural information
for 80% of the families. Radio and television also are important sources.
A larger proportion of the EMCIP families in the survey involved
widows Likely because of this, a larger proportion of the farms were
owned by wives. Less used hired labor for field work while a larger
proportion (91%) of the EMCIP families obtained at least some agricul-
tural information from the extension specialist.
Women participate more than men in marketing and storing the wheat
crop. Although the role of men in other agricultural tasks is obvious,
more than 50% of the women participate in fertilizing, crop weeding, har-
vesting, sacking, marketing and storage. About 1/4 1/3 of the boys and
1/10 1/4 of the girls participate in weeding and harvesting and related
* There is a 5% chance that this was an accident due to sampling.
Results for maize are similar to those for wheat. Women partici-
pate more than men in marketing and storage. More than half of the women
participate in planting, re-planting, fertilizing, thinning, weeding, har-
vesting, sacking, transporting, marketing and storage. Boys and girls
play an active role in crop production activities such as planting, re-
planting, fertilization and thinning, as well as in weeding and harvesting
and related operations. A larger proportion of the women participate in
such operations for maize than for wheat. As for wheat, statistically
significant differences between EMCIP and non-EMCIP families were iden-
tified for only a few tasks, with no logical explanation apparent.
The percentage of women participating in rice storage exceeds that
of men, but the women are equal to the men in marketing. However, a
larger proportion of the women work in crop production for rice than for
wheat or maize. Participation rates for women equal 75% or more for
planting, fertilizing, weeding, harvesting, sacking and storage. Men
also have an important role in all agricultural tasks except storage.
Boys and girls also participate more actively for rice than for wheat
or maize. Both play important roles for planting, weeding, and harvesting
and related operations. About 1/3 of the boys assist with fertilization,
and 1/4 of the girls assist with storage. Again differences between
EMCIP and non-EMCIP families are significant for only a few tasks.
Women dominate in storage and marketing of berseem clover. However,
they also helped in all other tasks, especially in harvesting, sacking,
transporting and fertilizing. While men have an obvious role in all
tasks except marketing and storage, boys and girls participate mostly
in harvesting and related operations. Significant differences between
EMCIP and non-EMCIP families were found for only three tasks.
Women do most of the milking, marketing and processing of milk and
milk products, with some assistance from girls and less from boys. More
women than men participate in cleaning the fold and feeding and watering
cattle, sheep and goats. They are about equal in terms of care of sick
animals. Men predominate only in taking animals to the farm. A fifth
to a third of the boys and girls assist with cleaning the fold, feeding
and watering, and taking to the farm. No significant differences were
found between EMCIP and non-EMCIP families.
Women and girls predominate in taking care of all kinds of poultry
and animals for transportation, although half of the men and 14% of the
boys work with donkeys, horses and camels.
Women and girls dominate in baking and in handicrafts. All family
members share in rat control. Women (83%) dominated in decisions on
household budgets but 56% of the men share in the decisions. Women also
play an important role in decision making for most activities for the four
crops studied maize, wheat, berseem clover and rice.
Sixty percent of the families use more than half of their wheat for
bread baking at home. Some families (19%) sell some wheat and 21% feed
some of the wheat to poultry. About half of the families use maize for
food but the bulk of them use over 50% of the crop in this way. One
third of the families use maize mostly for poultry feed, while 18% sell
some. Half of the families sell over 50% of their rice. About 30% of
the families sell berseem clover, but only 12% sell half or more of the
crop. Sixty five percent feed more than half on their own farms.
- 7 -
Survey in Menya Governorate (Upper Egypt)
Findings are similar to those in Gharbiya Governorate. Hence they
are not reproduced here. Information on decision making was not obtained.
Contrast Between Results in the Two Governorates as Representatives of
Lower and Upper Egypt
Women participate more in Gharbiya than in Menya for many wheat
operations and boys participate less. Fewer men work on marketing and
storage in Gharbiya than in Menya. Differences also exist for girls,
but some are higher and some lower depending on the task. Women also
participate more for maize and clover for most tasks in Gharbiya than
for Menya. In general men more frequently work on maize in Gharbiya
than in Menya but not for all tasks. Statistically significant results
show boys and girls work less often on both crops in Gharbiya than in
More men participate in care of cattle, sheep and goats in Gharbiya
than in Menya, but none were involved in marketing milk and milk products
whereas about a tenth participated in these activities in Menya. Fewer
women and girls in Gharbiya worked in cleaning the fold but more took
animals to the farm. More women did marketing of milk and milk products,
reflecting the lack of participation by men in this activity. Fewer
women and girls work with poultry and rabbits in Gharbiya than in Menya.
To bring out more clearly the type of information obtained, typical
tables from this Publication are reproduced at the end of the paper. For
most of these a test for significant differences between means was made
as follows: The confidence interval for each mean within each pair was
obtained based on Snedecor (1956), Table 1.3.1. If these fail to over-
lap at the 95%, a is shown. If they fail to overlap also at the wider
99% level, a ** is shown. The symbols are shown on each of the involved
means by rows for "EMCIP" versus "Non-EMCIP" farmers and for Gharbiya
versus Menya Governorates. This test is based on the definition of
a confidence interval. If repeated samples are drawn from a given
population and for each a 95% confidence interval is computed, then
95% of these confidence intervals will include the true mean. Thus, if
two 95% confidence intervals fail to overlap, they could have come, with
95% probability, from populations with different means.
The percentages in this report relate to the proportion of cases
that did not fall within a specified category. Thus they follow the
binomial distribution. The table used from Snedecor applies in such
cases. This test has been used by Foote (1983, pp. 21-22) in EMCIP.
Table 2 from the original report shows participation in agricul-
tural tasks relating to wheat in Gharblya Governorate. Similar tables
are given for maize, rice, and berseem clover. In Menya Governorate,
similar tables relate to wheat, maize, soybeans and clover.
Table 6, 7 and 8 relate respectively to (a) care of cattle, sheep
and goats, (b) care of poultry, rabbits and animals for transportation
and (c) household activities, all in Gharbiya Governorate. Similar
tables are available for Menya Governorate.
Table 9 shows the extent to which women participate in decision
making for maize, wheat, clover and rice by operations in Gharbiya
Table 10 shows the utilization of the four crops in Gharbiya Gover-
norate. A similar table is available for Menya Governorate.
Table 20 shows a comparison between Gharbiya and Menya Governorates
in the participation of men, women, boys and girls in specified tasks
for wheat. Similar tables are available for maize, clover, care of
cattle, sheep and goats, and care of poultry, rabbits and animals for
CASE STUDIES ON TIME SPENT ON AGRICULTURAL AND HOUSEHOLD TASKS
These were started in Gharbiya Governorate in December 1984 in two
villages. Two women extension village agents who live in the villages
collected data on the amount of time spent by members of four families on
14 agricultural tasks involved in wheat,clover, maize and rice. The amount
of time spent by the women in household tasks and care of animals was also
documented, together with personal histories of themselves and their
The involvement of women in the different processes within the
family has been documented by video and slides.
These studies have been completed and data analysis is underway.
QUESTIONNAIRES FOR WOMEN EXTENSION STAFF AND FOR RURAL WOMEN
Questionaires were distributed in mid-1985 in the two Governorates
used previously. All women extension workers and 50 farm women in each
were surveyed to find:
Constraints facing the Extension women in working in rural areas.
Types of extension programs needed or desired by the women.
- 10 -
Results Relating to Extension Staff
82% of the extension women's work is related to rural women. Al-
though the majority of them (76%) reported that they work in villages,
24% visited villages in the last year less than 10 times. Half did not
declare the number of their visits.
For training courses, 60% had training before or during their work in
extension. Gharbiya extension women received more training than Menya
extension staff. The training courses included extension training in
poultry, food preparation, Home Economics and milk processing. The ex-
tension women will accept training on mechanization if monetary incentives
are available About 92% of them would welcome this kind of training.
More than 40% of them preferred to train rural women on animal and
poultry production, motherhood and child care, food processing, literacy
and field crop production. All preferred to conduct training by demon-
The first constraint they face is lack of transportation. Quality
training plus monetary incentives are considered important tools to en-
courage tham to do a better job.
Results Relating to Rural Women
Of the rural women interviewed, 90% participate in agricultural
tasks. Most of these take care of animals and poultry. They believe
* Government salaries are very low in Egypt. Most are supplemented by
"incentives", payments for particular tasks such as attending a work-
shop, a committee meeting, or carrying out a specific activity such
as an EMCIP Production Demonstration Program for a given crop in their
- 11 -
tha family income could be increased by receiving training on poultry
production (96%), food preparation (68%) and field crop production (65%).
A surprising result, in spite of the restricted tradition of rural
women in Upper Egypt, was that more than 50% of those in Menya Gover-
norate were willing to have training courses in the villages, while 93%
of those in Gharbiya Governorate prefer having training in their homes.
Most (91%) would accept training on mechanization if it is easy to
This study can be considered as a pre-test for the needs of rural
and extension women. But for full verification, the questionnaires
should be distributed in the rest of the 10 Governorates that are part
of the EMCIP Project. Extension women and rural women of each Gover-
norate likely will vary in their needs.
A SURVEY TO ASCERTAIN KNOWLEDGE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDED
AGRONOMIC PRACTICES BY WOMEN HEADS OF FARM HOUSEHOLDS
Since our research demonstrates..that women are becoming increasingly
involved in farming, EMCIP needs to conduct studies to determine the
knowledge that woman farmers have corrcerning new technology and the
effect this has on the implementation of recommended practices. Studies
need to be implemented both with women who are heads of households and
families where both the man and women are actively working on the farm.
- 12 -
Studies will be designed to survey women heads of households and
women who are actively working with their husbands in agricultural tasks.
The specific objectives of the proposed research is to:
Determine the woman's knowledge of new technology and her source
Assess the gap between recommended practices and present prac-
Determine if extension advisors are used to gain new technolo-
gical information and whether they prefer male or female advisors.
The survey will determine whether the women has knowledge and im-
plements the recommended practices such as proper variety, planting date,
etc. Extension male and female staff will conduct the survey in villages
A large proportion of women farmers.
A small proportion of women farmers.
A random sample will be drawn from these groups of villages of the
following type of woman.
Type A who are female heads of household from the first group
Type B who are female heads of households from the second
group of villages.
- 13 -
Type C who are women that jointly farm their farms with their
An equal number of women will be sampled. When the sample women
head of household is interviewed, she will be asked for the name of two
male farmers who provides advice to her about farming procedures. One
of these men will be interviewed. Type C's husband will be interviewed.
Comparisons will be made between:
Type A women versus type B women versus type C women.
Women in relation to their associated man by sets.
OTHER COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
A proposal was submitted to USAID/Cairo in 1985 to develop pilot
programs in selected Governorates with farm women and their families.
Women Extension Advisors would be trained to transfer new technology
to the farm family.
Two committee members have attended 6-week training courses in
Washington D.C. to further their management skills of projects.
The committee has been working with a variety of other committees
concerning women and they helped prepare material for the 1985 Inter-
national Women's Conference in Nairobi.
EMCIP is scheduled to terminate in 1986 and to be replaced by
a broaded USAID-financed agricultural research program. We hope that
- 14 -
our work will have stimulated enough interest and have provided sufficient
evidence of the problems involved so that new funding will be provided
to continue such activities in the future. Emphasis should be placed
initially on pilot programs to study how best to provide extension -
type activities to rural women who are actively involved in agricultural
production as both workers and decision makers.
Foote, Richard J.
1983 Factors That Affected Yields and Net Income From Wheat
in 1980/81 In Specified Governorates in Egypt and Charac-
teristics of Sample Farmers. Publication No. 64. Cairo,
Egypt: Egyptian Major Cereals Improvement Project.
Ishak, Y., Z. El-Tobshy, N. Hassan and C. Brown
1985 Role of Women In Field Crops Production and Related Informa-
tion. Publication No. 91. Cairo, Egypt: Egyptian Major
Cereals Improvement Project.
Snedecor, George W.
1956 Statistical Methods, 5th ed. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State Univer-
- 15 -
Table 2. Wheat, Gharbiya Governorate: Participation in specified tasks
by men, women, boys and girls, 1984+
Task Men Women Average
EMCIP Non-EMCIP EMCIP Non-EMCIP Boys Girls
Ploughing 80 83 46 46 6 -
Levelling 81 84 44 43 1 -
Planting 94* 94* 49 44 -
Irrigation 75, 47, 36 32 -
Fertilizing 90, 97, 56 62 1 -
Crop weeding 69 81 50 59 33 24
Pest control 68 75 29 30 6 -
Harvesting 77 86 58 51 28 16
Sacking 77 86 57 53 26 10
Transporting 75 83 49 49 26 18
Marketing 34 35 51 59 14 -
Storage 20 17 83 85 15 9
+ A dash (-) indicates 0.5% or less.
A indicates a statistically significant difference at P=0.05 and
a ** at P=0.01.
Table 6. Care of cattle, sheep and goats, Gharbiya Governorate: Parti-
cipation in specified tasks by men, women, boys and girls, 1984+
Men Women Average
Task Non- Non-
EMCIP EMCIP EMCIP EMCIP Boys Girls
Cleaning of fold 48 52 71 73 19 17
watering 31 37 81 79 20 21
Taking to farm 55 60 42 47 36 25
Milking 1 1 81 84 1 9
and products 0 0 55 61 2 2
Care of sick
animals 69 69 62 68 3 4
products 0 0 81 84 0 9
+ No statistically significant differences were found between the EMCIP
and non-EMCIP averages.
- 16 -
Table 7. Care of poultry, rabbits and animals for transportation,
Gharbiya Governorate: Participation in specified tasks by men,
women, boys and girls, 1984+
Men Women Average
Task Non- Non- Boys Girls
TaskEMCIP EMCIP EMCIP EMCIP Boys I Girls
Chicken 1 0 59 68 2 18
Ducks and geese 1 3 50* 65* 2 16
Pigeons 1 0 32 39 2 10
Rabbits 0 0 20 17 1 3
and camels 49 49 62 71 14 14
+ A indicates a statistically significant difference at P=0.05.
Table 8. Household activities, Gharbiya Governorate: Participation in
specified tasks by men, women, boys and girls, 1984
TaskMen Women Boys Girls
Baking 1 96 1 32
Handicraft 1 7 0 1
Rat control, 69 52 20 17
of budget 56 83 1 1
- 17 -
Table 9. Decision making on crop production activities for maize,
wheat, berseem clover and rice: Participation by women, 1984+
N/A = Not applicable...
+ A indicates a statistically significant difference at P= 0.05 and a
** at P=0.01.
Table 10. Gharbiya Governorate: Utilization of crops, 1984
Crop and Average
use* Less than 25% 25-50% More than 50% Total
Selling 7 6 6 19
*Consumption 1 3 60 64
Feeding 17 2 2 21
Selling 7 7 4 18
Consumption 4 7 37 48
Feeding 13 11 12 36
Selling 1 2 49 52
Consumption 16 22 10 48
Selling 10 8 12 30
Feeding 3 4 65 72
Consumption relates to use in foods by the family. Feeding of wheat
and maize is mainly for poultry.
** Families who used at least some for the purpose indicated.
- 18 -
Table 20. Wheat: Comparison between Gharbiya (Lower Egypt) and Meny?
(Upper Egypt) of participation in specified tasks by men, women, boys
and girls, 1984+
Men Women Boys Girls
Task Ghar- Ghar- Ghar- en Ghar-Mea
Menya Menya Menya Menya
biya biya biya biya
Ploughing 82 90 46** 4** 6** 6** 1
Levelling 82 88 44 .4 1 12 2
Furrowing N/A N/A N/ N/Ah NA N/. N/ -
Planting 94 98 46 28 20 12
Irrigation 61 72 34 24 26 10
Re-planting N/A N/A N/A N/A* N/A N/A N/A N/A
Fertilizing 94 89 59** 22 1** 40** -* 8**
Thinning N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A, N/A N/A
Crop.weeding 75* 62* 54* 30 33 56 24** 8
Pest control 72 78 30, 16, 6** 20,, 11
Harvesting 82 89 54,, 31*, 28*, 56** 16, 26,
Sacking 82 83 55** 25** 26** 64* 10,, 2**
Transporting 79,, 82*, 49,, 30*, 26 57 18 3
Marketing 34,. 72*, 55 18 14 24 1
Storage 8 36 84 78 15 21 9 1
+ A dash (-).indicates_0.5% or less. N/A Not applicable.
NIA Not pplicable.
A indicates a statistically significant
** at P=0.01.
difference at P= 0.05 and a