Gendered differences in crop diversity choices

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Crop choice, including the conservation of traditional crops and the uptake of novel ones, is a central issue in agricultural development. This paper examines differences between male and female farmers’ motivations for growing diverse crop portfolios in Papua New Guinea, a highly agro-biodiverse context facing rapid social change. Q methodology, a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach, is used to examine how alignment with different viewpoints related to crop diversity differs across male and female farmers.

We show that, of five distinct ‘types’ of farmers identified with regards to crop diversity choices, all include both men and women, and three of five groups show no significant gender-related differences. However, there are also significant gender differences. A large proportion of women farmers associate with being highly motivated by crop marketing, whereas male farmers are more likely to favor agricultural diversity due to tradition or status motivations. Overall, strict gendering of crops does not appear highly salient. The results confirm earlier work in the region on women’s roles in marketing but contrast to those on crop gendering.

Altogether, they underline the complexity of gender and identity in agricultural choices. The results also have implications for the targeting and implementation of crop conservation and promotion policies and programs, including those aiming for improved nutrition or agricultural development.

Nordhagen, S.; Pascual, U.; Drucker, A.G.

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