Target Women Farmers' Structural Disadvantage to Improve Rural Productivity and Food Security in Cameroon

Despite Cameroon’s agricultural sector being dominated by women smallholders—who are responsible for 80% of food production and 60% of cash crop production—women’s access to productive resources is limited and thus they are less productive than men (FAO, 2011). Closing the gender gap is also vital for improving food security, with food insecurity being a largely rural concern in Cameroon. To help address this gender productivity gap and sustainably improve the crop yield, the government introduced a variety of policies to promote gender equality in agriculture, starting in 2010. These include policies to increase women’s access to productive resources. However, the gender gap persists across income levels, plot headships, and agroecological zones1.Furthermore, female farmers are not a homogeneous group and face a range of different constraints. Women farmers are often disadvantaged in terms of access to land (land size and soil richness), crop choice, tenure security, livestock, education, extension services, legal and social traditions, etc.