Gender and Soil Fertility Management in Mbale District, Southeastern Uganda


  • Abe Goldman
  • Kathleen Heldenbrand


This paper explores gender-related aspects of agriculture and agricultural change in a densely populated, high potential area in eastern Uganda, particularly in relation to declining productivity in the region.  Much recent literature has investigated the impacts of specific agricultural policies and projects on women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.  In many cases, these policies and projects have resulted in unexpectedly negative consequences for women – and often failed in other objectives as well – to a large extent because they did not adequately consider the critical and complex roles that women play in most African agricultural systems.  Far less often examined in the literature on gender, have been the chronic but pervasive impacts of persistently low agricultural productivity throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa.  This stagnation is one of most striking and widespread features of agriculture in Africa today, and it stands in sharp contrast to the experience of most developing regions in Asia and Latin America.  The impacts of this stagnation and decline in agricultural productivity are likely to be particularly severe for African women farmers, whose economic livelihoods are so closely linked to the production and sale of agricultural products and services.