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Input Utilization and Agricultural Labor Productivity: A Gender Analysis (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-76222-7_4

Published onJun 02, 2023
Input Utilization and Agricultural Labor Productivity: A Gender Analysis (lay summary)

Few female farmers in Nigeria use chemicals to control weeds or pests

Researchers said female farmers in Nigeria used fewer inputs like pesticides, herbicides, machines and hired labour than males. They said the government should do more to balance inputs, labour and production in agriculture between men and women. 

Agriculture employs and feeds many people in Africa, but farm productivity is affected by the quality and amount of labour, as well as other inputs. Inputs include land, new technologies or loans. In Nigeria, men and women have unequal access to inputs. 

Agriculture thus contributes very little to the country’s economy despite so many people involved in farming.

In this study, researchers wanted to see how exactly the inputs and labour that a Nigerian farmer has access to affects their productivity, and if there were differences between men and women farmers.

The researchers looked at available survey data about male and female farmers. They focussed on household characteristics, literacy rates, income generating activities, employment, agricultural practices and output, labour, salaries and farm characteristics.

They found that no more than 45% of male farmers used fertilisers, and only 25% of females used them. Fertilisers help to add nutrients to the soil so that plants grow better.

Less than 10% of the farmers used pesticides in their farms, but women used them more often than men. Only 30% of females and 25% males used herbicides on their plots. Herbicides are used in farms to control weeds or unwanted plants, while pesticides are used to control pests. 

Less than 25% of both males and females used machinery like tractors, planters and water pumps. Only about 20% of the farmers, mostly women, used animals to pull farm equipment like ploughs. 

In general then, women used less pesticides, herbicides and machinery, than men. Women also used less family labour and more hired labour, said researchers.

More men, as compared to women and children, were hired to work in farms. They said male-headed farms were more productive and used more labour. 

The researchers observed that productivity in the farms increased when more inputs like pesticides, herbicides, and machinery were used. They also said that in such instances, the farmers needed less labour. 

This work gives valuable insights about the link between inputs, labour and productivity in Nigeria’s farms. 

The researchers recommended that Nigerian male and female farmers should be given more inputs and trained to help increase farm productivity. They also recommended farming policies that focus on women.


In Sub-Saharan Africa, the low performance of labor remains a barrier to the growth of the agricultural sector. Women are an important source of labor; however, they face great setbacks in terms of access to inputs. The influence of input utilization on labor productivity differentials among male- and female-managed plots was assessed using the 2013 General Household Survey (GHS) data for Nigeria. Results revealed that input use was generally low among the farmers. Females in south-east and south-west zones used more of hired labor when compared to males. While labor productivity was higher on plots managed by males, the use of inputs was found to have a significant negative relationship with labor productivity in the highest quantile on plots owned by both gender. ]


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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