Participatory Gender Analysis of Sorghum Value Chain: the Case of Konso District, Ethiopia Implication for Sorghum Research Improvement


Abayneh Feyso*

Citation: Participatory Gender Analysis of Sorghum Value Chain: the Case of Konso District, Ethiopia Implication for Sorghum Research Improvement. American Research Journal of Business and Management. 2018; 4(1): 1-11.

Copyright Thisis an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Abstract:

This study was designed to analyze gender role in sorghum production and processing in the case of Konso District with specific objectives to identify gender role for sorghum production and processing, to identify gender labor contribution for sorghum production and to identify sorghum production and utilization constraints and gender preferences for sorghum. Qualitative data collection and analysis method was employed to achieve aforementioned research objectives. Sex-segregated FGDs held and helped women and men felt free to share their perspectives on gendered culture. Data were analyzed using participatory qualitative data analysis method. The analysis result shows that around 90% male headed house hold and 100% female headed and polygamy women do not get any sorghum production related trainings. Data analysis result indicates that apart from the household chores, working in the farm is the responsibility of the Konso women. Men in Konso testify that “our women are very strong and hardworking.’’ Also the result indicated that female headed households have limited access to and control over resources, which is crucial to effectively and efficiently meeting their strategic and practical needs due to social and cultural biases in the society. Women in Konso spend more than 15 hours a day performing the household activities, but men spent only around 8 hours a day. Due to cultural taboos and believes, community work and public decision-making activities are areas, in which women do not have an active participation.

In Konso sorghum grain is consumed in different forms of food items like Cheqa, kurkufa, genfo and qita. Only two improve sorghum variety were introduced and around 95% farmers are using local varieties and each variety has its own local name and preference of utilization. Food security is hot issues of farming communities of Konso and they get high food shortage during April to August every production year. 

Keywords: Konso, sorghum, gender, male headed, female headed


Description:

INTRODUCTION

Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal globally and the dietary staple of around 500 million people. It is an important food crop in many parts of eastern and southern Africa. Sorghum is tolerant, relative to other major cereal crops, to adverse growing conditions. Some early-maturing sorghum cultivars require less than two months of rainfall to produce grain, and the species is genetically very diverse with preferred cultivars for different uses [2]. Ethiopia is the 2nd largest producer of Sorghum in Africa and globally ranks 6th in production (3.6MMT), 5th in area harvested (1.7MM Ha), but 34th in yield (2.1MT/Ha). Sorghum is the single most important cereal in drought prone areas which is serves as food security crop because sorghum is a resilient crop requiring less than 600mm annual rainfall [3]

Konso district is characterized by rugged and stony soil. The main agricultural area ranges from 1400m to 2000m above sea level. Sorghum is the staple crop of the Konso and is said to be ancient in the district. A wide spectrum of varieties has been found and at least 24 cultivars are named and distinguished by farmers [4]. Sorghum forms the basic diet of the Konso, seeds are ground, the flour formed into balls (called kurkufa) and then cooked in water and they make drink from flour called Cheqa while Labor division in Konso is more egalitarian. Men and women often work together in the fields, but the main labor burden falls on the women [9]. Activities like terracing, building, fencing and dispute settling were done by men whereas collecting water, carrying, looking after children, cooking, grinding, collecting firewood, fetching water, brewing Cheqa were done by female. Also digging, sowing, weeding, harvesting, scaring birds, looking after animals, were performed jointly by male and female, but the level of gender labor contribution for sorghum production, processing and utilization were not known therefore this study was designed to analyze gender role in sorghum production and processing in the case of Konso District with Specific objectives To identify gender role for sorghum production and processing, to identify gender labor contribution for sorghum production and to identify sorghum production and utilization constraints and gender preferences for sorghum.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Description of Study Area

Konso district is one among the five districts of segen people’s zone, occupying area of 650km2 and located at 700km south of Addis Ababa. The main agricultural area ranges from 1400m to 2000m above sea level. Temperature varies from 15°C to 33°C. Rainfall distribution follows a bimodal pattern. Average total annual rainfall is only 551mm, with annual rainfall variation between 300mm and 900mm. The rains are split into two rainy seasons. The big rains are concentrated at the end of February until May and the small rains occur around October and November. They practice an integrated crop-livestock system. Konso farmers are known by art of terracing. The terraces cover hillsides over hundreds of kilometers and over a height of 700m, which is built with stonewalls. The main function of this structure is to maximize water retention, infiltration and preventing soil erosion. They keep cattle, goats, sheep and sometimes chickens and donkeys. Cattle are either kept on pastures in the lowlands or on uncultivated areas near the periphery of the villages. But the largest number of the livestock is kept in stables in the homesteads. The animals are fed stalks of sorghum and maize or the leaves of trees planted in part for this purpose.

Konso district is densely populated and population is growing rapidly. The pressure on land is increasing, resulting in marginal lands to be taken into production and problems resulting from overstressing the farming system. The erratic climate and harsh conditions make agriculture in the region very difficult.

Traditionally, the Konso were monogamous, but now Konso can have three or four wives. Their social-economic system divides their society into two groups: Ententa and Xauta. Generally the Ententa are farmers and the Xauta are artisans, including hide workers. Membership in Ententa and Xauta is ascribed at birth [6].

The Konso are organized in nine exogamous clans: Keertitta, Arkaamayta, Sawɗatta, Paasanta, Tookmaleeta, Eelayta, Ifalayta, Tikissayta and Mahalayta. Except for the Keertitta clan, each clan has its own chief [8].

Design of the Study

Among sorghum producer Kebeles of Konso district three clusters namely: Fasha cluster, Karat zuria a cluster and Arifeyide cluster were selected purposively after consulting with District agriculturalists due to their sorghum production potential and agro-ecology inclusion. Finally from each cluster one kebele: Kamele kebele from Fasha cluster, Arifeide kebele from Arifeide cluster and Sorobo Kebele from Karat zuria cluster were selected randomly. Then, sorghum producers of selected kebeles were stratified based on household head and marriage type in to three strata; namely: Male headed household, 1 female headed house hold and polygamy marriage. Among each stratus 10 and totally 90 household heads were selected randomly and participated in the focus group discussion. Focus group discussions were held separately with male headed households, female headed households and polygamy married females.

Qualitative data were collected from FGD participants using check list. One of strengths of this gender analysis field work is that sex-segregated FGDs helped women and men felt free to share their perspectives on gendered cultural and social stereotypes. To strengthen primary data collected via FGD from participants key informant interview was held with district Farm and Natural Resource development office heads and extension expertise, women and youth affair office heads and expertise, tourism and culture development office head and expertise and kebele level extension and development agents.

Finally collected data were analyzed using qualitative data analysis methods like pair-wise ranking, proportional pilling and direct matrix ranking participatory.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Participation of Women and Men in Sorghum Production

The agricultural cycle is very much dependent on rainfall. Land preparations start with the first rains in January. Generally, the fields are only worked on once before sowing. Sowing starts as soon as the big rains begin in February. Cereals (sorghum and maize) and pulses are broadcasted in a seed mixture. An extensive period of weeding and scaring off birds follows. Harvest takes place in the dry months in May onwards, first roots and tubers, then cereals and pulses, finally in mid-September sorghum. The harvested grain is stored in granaries and selected heads are hung in the houses for next season seed. Men and women in Konso often work together in the fields, but the main labor burden falls on the women [9].

Farming in Konso, as elsewhere in other parts of Africa, is said to be men’s activity. Even if, it is said to be men’s work, women do the majority of the farm work in Konso. Konso Women do more than 95% of the farm work. The women in Konso are involved in digging, planting, weeding, harvesting, transporting and storage activities. It is only at the stage of storing that men have the relatively greater share. At this stage, the women would assist them carrying the product to the granary and the men performed the accumulation activity [7].

1. Female headed household is defined as a household in which a male decision maker is absent. Female headed household is one in which the woman owns the land and makes all decisions (e.g., widows, divorced women and single mothers).


As proportional pilling result indicates in (Table 1) above and (Table 2) below apart from the household chores, working in the farm is the responsibility of the Konso women. In the morning after fetching water, they tending the cattle and serving breakfast in the house, the women go to the field for weeding, and digging till late in the afternoon. Then, they collect firewood and fodder for the cattle and return home to prepare dinner for the family. Except plowing using oxen (64% done by men and 36 was done by boys) and fertilizer application (62% was done by men and 38% by boys) women play key role and carry major activities of field management and sorghum production activities. As indicated above 66% of threshing activity, was done by women and 34% done by girls, which major value grain value adding activity done by female house hold members.