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    Emanating from the receiver attitudes highlighted above, was suspicion between participating and non-participating farmers, with those not participating feeling those participating had certain material or financial gains. This caused tension between them, resulting in jealousy, envy and even hatred.

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    In Zimbabwean customary law following the death of a member of a family, close relatives of the deceased get a small share of the deceased’s belongings, such as clothing. Contil research equipment quickly became wealth to be shared, following the death of participating farmers. Issues and concerns of witchcraft soon set in.

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    Many farmers indicated that they spent as many as 30 days (25% of their working time), attending funerals and were therefore unavailable for participatory research.

It was therefore clear that development of new technologies in small-holder farming areas was affected by serious non-technical problems and constraints. Awareness of these constraints led to farmers being adequately informed and accommodated to feel true ownership of research projects. It was noticed that when farmers knew the objectives of the research, they were more co-operative and useful.

They highlighted the reality that, in many societies in Africa south of the Sahara, male labour migration into towns had resulted in a situation where more female than male-headed households prevailed in the rural areas.

Among the many facets of gender weaknesses and as they affected efficiency in development the following points were put forward:

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    Weak communication between the Actors: where communication within the families, within the communities and between farmers and extension workers turned out to be weak.

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    Communication in the families: where extension workers chose male farmers who often were also members of the farmers' club and extension training programmes. The male head of household was not obliged to inform the other household members, whereas the wives and the children etc. were accountable to the male head and therefore information flowed smoothly in this other direction. The same applied to communities, where farmers complained that their leaders never report back from meetings and courses they attended. It was also realised that communication among female members of the household was better than the flow

Box 5: Gender roles in conservation tillage and technology transfer

The implication for extension would be to facilitate the problem and needs identification with the presence of both, men and women, rank the priorities together and according to gender and then develop the extension programme together. A choice of technological options should be developed together in order to correspond to farmers (male and female) criteria which are very diverse and situation specific.

In a time of rapid socio-cultural change gender roles and relations are highly dynamic. Therefore, it is important to build a platform on which rural people themselves can negotiate for new roles, functions, norms and for new power relations. It is more favourable to negotiate roles via technical issues rather than via discussions on gender as the advantages of any changes must be concrete and obvious in real life- situations. The process requires skilled facilitators at various-levels. This new competence is a real challenge to the conventional agricultural research and extension institutions.

Hagmann et al. (1997)

between the sexes.


Problems of a Male-Dominated Extension: where male domination in extension limited the attraction of extension for women.


Decision making: where men and women stressed that the husband makes most of the

3.1 Gender issues in conservation tillage and technology transfer

Hagmann et al. (1997) reported on an assessment of socio-cultural constraints in agricultural research and extension. They noted that this is often a male-dominated domain and that the introduction of the gender perspective was frequently taken as a fashion rather than as a substantial contribution to rural development.


This paper is published in: Kaumbutho P G and Simalenga T E (eds), 1999. Conservation tillage with animal traction. A resource book of the

Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA). Harare. Zimbabwe. 173p. A publication supported by French Cooperation, Namibia. For details of ATNESA and its resource publications, see http://www.atnesa.org

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