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Economic Analysis on Irrigated Rice Production by Women in Edo State




Rice production stands as a cornerstone of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, serving as a critical component of both food security and economic stability. In Edo State, similar to other regions across the country, rice farming not only ensures food supply but also sustains livelihoods for numerous households. Traditionally, agriculture in Nigeria, including rice cultivation, has predominantly been the domain of men. However, recent trends indicate an increasing participation of women in various agricultural activities, particularly in irrigated rice production.

Background Study

The involvement of women in agriculture has undergone significant evolution, influenced by economic imperatives, shifting household dynamics, and changing societal roles. Women in Edo State, like their counterparts in other agricultural regions of Nigeria, contribute substantially to irrigated rice production. This shift has implications for household income, food security, and the broader socio-economic landscape. Understanding the specific roles and economic contributions of women in irrigated rice production is pivotal for crafting informed policies and interventions that promote sustainable agricultural development and gender equality.

Women’s participation in agriculture, particularly in Edo State, is a testament to their resilience and pivotal role in the rural economy (Terwase & Madu, 2022). Historically marginalized from formal agricultural sectors, women have increasingly taken on central roles in rice farming, driven by economic necessity and the need to enhance household food security (Kandeel et al., 2023). Their involvement spans various stages of rice production, from land preparation to harvesting, where they demonstrate expertise and dedication (Familusi & Oranu, 2020).

In Edo State, as in many parts of Nigeria, women’s participation in irrigated rice farming contributes significantly to household income diversification (Obianefo et al., 2021). By engaging in agricultural activities traditionally dominated by men, such as land preparation and planting, women not only bolster agricultural productivity but also mitigate economic vulnerabilities within their households (Kathiresan et al., 2020). This economic empowerment is crucial for improving livelihoods and reducing poverty levels among rural communities (Chandio et al., 2019).

Research indicates that women’s involvement in rice production goes beyond labour; they often make crucial decisions that affect farm management and productivity (Rao et al., 2023). These decisions are influenced by their understanding of local agricultural practices and their roles in ensuring food security for their families (Miassi et al., 2023). Empirical evidence suggests that when women have access to resources such as land, credit, and agricultural inputs, they can significantly enhance farm productivity and household food security (Nkwabi et al., 2021).

Policies aimed at enhancing women’s participation in agriculture can yield substantial benefits for sustainable development and gender equality (Omiunu, 2022). By recognizing and supporting women’s roles in irrigated rice production, policymakers can foster inclusive growth and economic resilience within rural communities (Onuche & Oladipo, 2020). This recognition is critical not only for achieving food security but also for promoting broader socio-economic development in Edo State and beyond (Gujarati, 2022).

Moreover, women’s involvement in agriculture intersects with broader issues of rural development and poverty alleviation (Kazeem, 2020). Studies show that empowering women economically through agriculture can lead to improved nutrition outcomes and better health for their families (Shahbandeh, 2023). This empowerment is multifaceted, encompassing not just economic gains but also social benefits such as increased self-esteem and community leadership (Obih & Baiyegunhi, 2023).

In essence, the role of women in irrigated rice production in Edo State underscores their indispensable contribution to agricultural productivity and rural development (Ogunleke & Baiyegunhi, 2019). Their participation enhances household income, improves food security, and promotes sustainable agricultural practices (Ojo et al., 2020). Moving forward, it is imperative to implement policies that support women’s access to resources, decision-making roles, and technological innovations in agriculture (Olukosi & Erhabor, 2023). By doing so, Edo State can harness the full potential of its agricultural sector to achieve inclusive growth and gender equality (Omiunu, 2022).

Statement of Problem

In the context of women’s involvement in irrigated rice production in Edo State, Nigeria, several critical gaps remain in the existing research literature that warrant further investigation. While existing studies acknowledge the significant contributions of women to agricultural activities, including rice farming (Familusi & Oranu, 2020), there is a need for deeper exploration into the specific challenges and constraints faced by these women in accessing and utilizing agricultural resources effectively (Chandio et al., 2019).

One notable gap is the limited understanding of the socio-economic dynamics that influence women’s decision-making power within rice farming households (Rao et al., 2023). Although women play pivotal roles in various stages of rice production, from planting to post-harvest activities, their access to and control over productive resources such as land, credit, and modern agricultural technologies remain inadequately studied (Miassi et al., 2023). This gap impedes efforts to design targeted interventions that could enhance women’s agricultural productivity and economic empowerment (Nkwabi et al., 2021).

Furthermore, while some studies highlight the economic benefits of women’s participation in agriculture, there is limited research on the specific impact of these activities on household food security and nutritional outcomes (Omiunu, 2022). Understanding how women’s roles in irrigated rice production contribute to broader nutritional well-being and health outcomes within their households is crucial for developing holistic policies that address both food security and gender equality concerns (Onuche & Oladipo, 2020).

Lastly, the intersectional challenges faced by women from marginalized communities, including Indigenous and low-income groups, in accessing agricultural resources and support systems have received scant attention in the literature (Gujarati, 2022). Exploring these intersectional dynamics is essential for ensuring that agricultural development policies and programs are inclusive and equitable, reaching all women farmers in Edo State (Kazeem, 2020).

Addressing these gaps through empirical research will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the barriers and opportunities faced by women in irrigated rice production. It will also inform evidence-based policy recommendations aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural development and advancing gender equality in rural Nigeria (Shahbandeh, 2023).

 Objectives of Study

The specific objectives of this study include:

  1. To assess the economic contributions of women engaged in irrigated rice production in Edo State.
  2. To analyze the factors influencing women’s decision to participate in irrigated rice production.
  3. To evaluate the socio-economic impacts of women’s involvement in irrigated rice production on household welfare in Edo State.

Justification of Study

This study is justified by the critical need to address a significant gap in empirical research concerning the economic roles of women in irrigated rice production specifically within Edo State. While existing literature acknowledges the general contributions of women to agriculture, there remains a distinct lack of detailed analysis focused specifically on their roles in rice farming. Therefore, this research seeks to fill this gap by conducting a comprehensive investigation into how women contribute to agricultural productivity and household welfare through their engagement in irrigated rice production.

The primary objective of this study is to provide comprehensive insights into the nuanced economic roles that women play within the rice farming sector in Edo State. By examining factors such as their involvement in farm management, decision-making processes, and access to agricultural resources like land and credit, the research aims to highlight the specific challenges and opportunities faced by women in this context. This analysis is crucial for developing a deeper understanding of the socio-economic dynamics that influence women’s participation and impact within agricultural settings.

Furthermore, the findings of this study are expected to have significant implications for policy and intervention strategies. By illuminating the economic contributions of women in irrigated rice production, the research will inform evidence-based policies aimed at enhancing gender equality, promoting women’s economic empowerment, and fostering sustainable agricultural development in rural Edo State. These insights can guide policymakers in designing targeted programs that address the specific needs and challenges faced by women farmers, thereby facilitating their greater participation and leadership in agricultural activities.

Ultimately, through a detailed and rigorous empirical analysis, this study aims to contribute substantively to the existing body of knowledge on gender and agriculture. By filling this research gap, the study endeavours to advocate for inclusive agricultural policies that recognize and support the pivotal role of women in driving agricultural productivity and rural development in Nigeria.

Hypotheses of Study

Based on the objectives and research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated:

  1. Women’s participation in irrigated rice production does not significantly contribute to household income in Edo State.
  2. Socio-economic factors such as access to resources and market opportunities do not influence women’s decision to engage in irrigated rice production.
  3. There is no positive correlation between women’s involvement in irrigated rice production and household food security in Edo State.


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  • Shahbandeh, M. (2023). Total global rice consumption 2008/09-2022/23. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/255977/total-global-rice-consumption/
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