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Un/associated: accounting for gender difference and farmer heterogeneity among Peruvian Sierra potato small farmers

Patel-Campillo, Anouk ORCID: 0000-0002-9841-4310 and Bitia Salas García, Vania (2018) Un/associated: accounting for gender difference and farmer heterogeneity among Peruvian Sierra potato small farmers. Journal of Rural Studies, 64. pp. 91-102. ISSN 0743-0167

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2018.10.005


Recognizing the challenges faced by small farmers, international institutions have encouraged national governments to foster the collective organization of small farmers and farmer membership through policy interventions that target rural populations, and more specifically ‘women’ and ‘marginalized farmers’. Yet, access to membership continues to elude the most disadvantaged small farmers. Based on Peru's 2012 National Agricultural Census, we conduct a comparative analysis of small Peruvian potato farmers to identify the social markers that influence membership status. We conduct cross-group (women versus men) and intra-group (among women and among men) comparisons to tease out gender difference and farmer heterogeneity and the social markers that account for exclusion. We suggest that considering women and marginalized farmers as homogeneous and residual populations obscures the social markers that differentiate small farmers homogenizing women as a group and rendering some men and masculine gendered practices analytically invisible. This study contributes to the literature on gender and the collective organization of farmers by highlighting gender difference and farmer heterogeneity and points to gender-based inequality as well as other forms of inequality that influence the membership status. Our analysis shows that men comprise a larger proportion of potato farmers, yet the membership status of women and men is nearly equal and that associated women farmers hold the highest percentage of land titles while unassociated men hold the lowest. We also find a large number of districts without the presence of associated women potato farmers indicating the existence of gender-based spatial inequality. Our analysis of household composition points to the feminization of women farmer households due to the absence of male partners and a large presence of elderly women in comparison to men farmer households. Unlike for men, the presence of a partner and/or elderly household members has no effect on women's membership status. Similarly, the presence of girls (and not boys) under six years of age has a negative effect only for women's membership. We also find that for women, it is more important to have higher levels of education than men to participate in farmer organizations. Our intra-group comparisons indicate unassociated and associated women are differentiated based on a combination of social markers including education, economic and domestic partnership, language and land ownership. Overall, our analysis shows that while gender-based inequality persists, there are other cross-cutting markers of social differentiation among women and men that influence farmer membership status.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2018 11:39
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 11:36

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