Gendered Effects of Participation in Agricultural Subsidies on Rural Household Dietary Diversity in Zambia

Gender inequalities attributed to rural women's unequal access to and control of productive resources and services impact negatively on household food and nutrition security. Yet, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20% to 30%, since they contribute as high as 60% to 80% of their time towards agricultural activities. According to Johnson et al. (2016), households with higher involvement of women in decision making on agricultural activities and incomes have better nutrition outcomes. However, in Zambia, the majority of female-headed smallholder farmer households (28%), who rely on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, are identified as mostly poor, living on less than US$ 1.25 per day and are also likely to be food insecure. It is therefore imperative to understand the interplay between gendered access to FISP inputs and rural household food security in order to help policy makers streamline FISP to achieve its food and nutrition security outcomes. This policy brief presents evidence on: the extent of the gender gap in FISP participation; its effect on household dietary diversity score (HDDS); and the key factors that influence households of FISP participants to have high HDDS in Zambia.