Innovation by Tunisian Women in Dryland Farming
             Posted on:21-10-2011 11:28:55

Written By: Noureddine Nasr, Bellachheb Chahbani and Ali Ben Ayed

At the beginning of the Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation (ISWC) project, training was given in Participatory Rural Appraisal and Participatory Technology Development (PRA/PTD) in different regions to facilitate identification of farmer innovators, men and women. One-day workshops were also held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s regional department headquarters. Some 160 staff members took part. After these workshops, most of the innovators identified were men.

Identifying women innovators

In the local culture, it is difficult and often unacceptable for men to talk with village women. The ISWC team at the Arid Zones Institute consisted of men, so 15 women were recruited and trained to make a special study. These included teachers and students returning to their villages for the summer holidays. They collected data on women’s role in farming and food processing and identified 31 women innovators. Most were found in Gafsa and Sidi Bouzid regions, where population density is highest and agriculture diverse and intensive.

The 31 women were all married and between 23 to 84 years old. Most were in their 30s and 40s and had little formal education. Most came from mountainous areas where, until recently, there were few opportunities – especially for girls – to go to school. Over 70% (all those over 40) were illiterate. However, with the recent spread of electricity and education in rural areas, the women have more contact with a new culture through radio, TV and their school-going children.

To read more, please log on to http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/grassroots-innovation/innovation-by-tunesian-women-in-dryland-farming

Source: Agricultures Network

Noureddine Nasr, Bellachheb Chahbani and Ali Ben Ayed Institut des Régions Arides, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia (nasr_nour@yahoo.fr) 

  Mrs Mbirika incubates chicken eggs in cattle dung, Photo: Chris Reij  
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