Gender mainstreaming in sweetpotato breeding and dissemination in Ghana and Malawi

Gender responsiveness in breeding programs to meet client and end user preferences for crops is essential. This case study analyzes the implementation experience of gender-responsive breeding and variety dissemination in Malawi and Ghana, focusing on good practices and challenges encountered. In Malawi, a training-of-trainers approach was employed to share knowledge among trained farmers. In Ghana, a research study was conducted to identify gender-based preferences for sweetpotato to define breeding objectives. The participation of social scientists, food scientists, and sweetpotato breeders in the GREAT (Gender Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation) team provided a multidisciplinary perspective, addressing questions and responses in the field. Research efforts were strengthened by focusing on food quality through the establishment of an analytical laboratory for rapid evaluation of nutrition and food quality, including sugars. This helped develop sensory analytical capacity to better understand quality attributes and market segments, guiding breeding and improving market opportunities for women. Breeding outcomes resulting from gender inclusion led to the release of some sweetpotato varieties meeting end user and consumer preferences, as well as adoption of OFSP varieties by men and women. Other good practices for gender inclusion and responsiveness include providing funds for gender-based research and activities, engaging gender specialists and social scientists in trans-disciplinary teams, designing program activities with gender considerations, and incorporating traits in seed multiplication and dissemination decisions. Application of these gender inclusion practices resulted in adoption and development of acceptable sweetpotato varieties.

Citation: Utoblo, O.G.; Abidin, P.E.; Dery, E.K.; Bidzakin, J.K.; Mudege, N.N.; Dorgbetor, I.K.; Ebregt, M.; Carey, E.E. 2024. Gender mainstreaming in sweetpotato breeding and dissemination in Ghana and Malawi. Frontiers in Sociology. ISSN 2297-7775. 9.