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24% women own land—World Bank

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Tamani Nkhono Mvula

By Wezzie Gausi:

The latest World Bank Poverty and Gender in Malawi Report has revealed that only 24 percent of women solely own land for cultivation across the country.

This is against the background that the proportion of women working in agriculture is at 59.6 percent compared to that of men.

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The report shows that most land is inherited, owned and operated by men.

“Thirty three percent of plots owned by households are owned by men. 43 percent are owned jointly by men and women, and 24 percent are owned solely by women.

“At the same time, in almost half of households, only men have the right to sell and to bequeath land,” the report reads.

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According to the report, lower levels of productivity among women farmers in the country are attributed to lower levels of education and input use, among other factors.

It says female farm managers are 25 percent less productive than their male counterparts.

“Not only do fewer women own and make decisions over land, but women are also less productive,” the report states.

Agriculture policy expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said the report has revealed the truth about land ownership in Malawi.

He said the disparities come in due to cultural and traditional beliefs across Malawi.

“This is a sad development as women are kept in a disadvantaged place to develop themselves agriculture wise. If you can do a survey, most women in the country are not into business farming as, mostly, they lack capacity to do the same,” Mvula said.

Statistics from the National Statistical Office show that agriculture accounts for 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and generates over 80 percent of national export earnings.

The agriculture sector employs 64 percent of the country’s workforce and contributes to food and nutrition security.

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