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Fostering collective action amongst smallholder farmers in East Africa: Are women members adequately participating?

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Farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered important vehicles for rural development, promotion of agricultural productivity and improved economic growth of communities especially women. However, weak institutional mechanisms put in place during formation and subsequent evolution processes has potential of exposing women members to the danger of alienation. This study addressed constraining factors and opportunities for women in groups, as well as their contribution to effectiveness and proper functioning of groups. The survey engaged a total of 40 groups and 305 members from two East African countries (Kenya and Uganda). The study revealed there were twice as many women, in Kenya and Uganda, as there were men in farmer groups. However, women were inadvertently excluded in decision making roles. Despite their small numbers men, were found to hold key leadership positions in farmer groups than women members in Uganda. In spite of limited representation in decision making, group members perceived women to be more trustworthy, more cohesive, better leaders in the group than men in Uganda (p

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