Gender Dynamics in the Access to and Control of Benefits Accrued from Tea Farming in Kiganjo Division, Gatundu District. Kenya
Kibere, Esther Njeri
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Agriculture is the cornerstone of Kenya's economy with most households depending on it for food and livelihood. Women provide the largest share of agricultural labour in many households. Despite the important role that the women play, they are discriminated in the area of access to and control over the agricultural benefits. In agriculture, tea farming is the main foreign exchange earner. But despite the important role tea farming plays in Kenya, there are gender inequalities in the access to and control of the benefits accrued from tea. The existing gender inequalities have not been adequately investigated and documented. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the gender dynamics in the access to and control of the tea benefits. The area of this study was Mundoro location, Kiganjo division, Gatundu District. Mundoro location was purposively selected as the locale of this study because tea farming is the main agricultural economic activity in the area. Through simple random sampling two sub-locations out of four in Mundoro location were selected. Random sampling technique was used to select five per cent (5%) of the households from the two sub-locations in proportion to the population. Respondents were the household heads and two tea factory officials. Data was collected using an interview schedule for the household heads and interview guide for the factory officials. Observation checklists were used to confirm the gender dynamics in the access to and control of tea benefits within the households and at the tea factory. Data collected was analyzed according to emerging themes based on the research objectives. The major finding of this study was that women are discriminated in the area of access to and control of tea benefits and especially in finances. However, the study established that female household heads had access to and control over the tea benefits within their households. The study identified money as the key benefit and the source of all discrimination within the households. The factors that determined the access to and control over the tea benefits were identified as biased tea registration by KTDA, culture of the people, widowhood and the level of education-,These factors encouraged gender stereotypes and discrimination. Based on these findings, it was recommended that barriers that hinder women from accessing and controlling tea benefits be eliminated by putting in place gendered strategies within KTDA. Deliberate efforts should also be put in place to sensitize the stakeholders in tea farming on the need to equitably share the tea benefits. The study recommended that strategies that enhance gender equity be put in place to enable all women and men to equally access and control benefits accrued from tea farming.