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Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics



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In this paper, we argue for the importance of incorporating a gendered perspective for the effective development of sustainable agricultural biotechnology systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Priority setting for agricultural policy and project development requires attention to gender issues specific to the demands of agricultural biotechnology. This is essential for successfully addressing food security and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There has been a great deal of debate and literature on the implications of gender in agricultural development and policy. However, the implications of gender in agricultural biotechnology and have received relatively less attention, especially in SSA. Based on interviews with key stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology across SSA, review of pertinent literature and field observations, we have found that incorporating a gendered perspective is critical for the sustainable development of agricultural biotechnology and requires attention in five areas: the inclusion of women, particularly women farmers, in decision-making around biotech/genetically modified (GM) crop and trait selection; equal representation of women as men in education for agricultural science and in agricultural biotechnology research and development professions; greater involvement of women in extension services and farmers’ associations for successful delivery of information about biotech crops equality between men and women in access to resources for biotech/GM crop cultivation; and increased control for women farmers over biotech/GM crop management and income generation. We explain the consequences of failing to include such gender-responsive considerations into priority setting for agricultural biotechnology development and policy in SSA and provide recommendations for how policy makers and project partners of development initiatives can avoid such oversights.

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