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Wageningen University (2013)

The empowerment of women farmers in the context of participatory plant breeding in Syria : towards equitable development for food security

Galiè, Alessandra

Titre : The empowerment of women farmers in the context of participatory plant breeding in Syria : towards equitable development for food security

Auteur : Galiè, Alessandra

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : PhD thesis 2013

Résumé
This study explored changes in the empowerment of 12 women farmers from ten Syrian rural households as affected by their participation in a participatory plant breeding (PPB) programme, and by multi-level institutions regulating the governance of seed at ground level. The study aimed to i. provide in-depth information on the involvement of the respondent women in the barley value chain and in farming in selected PPB programme villages ii. examine the inter-relation between the respondent women’s roles in farming and seed governance and iii. analyse the potential and actual contribution of PPB in these villages to supporting and enhancing the respondent women’s roles, and to providing empowering opportunities for them. This study is framed within the overarching concepts of social justice and gender equity, and analysed through the frame of reference of food-related rights and empowerment. It interlocks issues of empowerment, participatory plant breeding, gender analysis, and governance of seed based on in-depth and empirical exploration of the issues and their interconnections. The study was designed as exploratory small-N research with 12 women farmers and 24 male farmers from three villages involved in the PPB programme. It provides qualitative findings that can be further explored and tested across a wider population. The findings show that the respondent women farmers have key roles in food provision, production and in food cultures related to both manual and mechanised, and food and feed crops. These roles vary depending on household as well as individual circumstances. However, the respondent women were also shown to have disadvantaged access to and control of productive resources such as land, water and seed in particular, and limited decision-making power about farm management. The study argues that the access of Syrian women farmers to relevant seed is vital for them to successfully perform their food-related roles, and to have equal access to development opportunities towards food security enhancement. The study shows how gender-sensitive PPB can provide participating women with seed relevant to their needs. It can also provide them with opportunities for empowerment by increasing their recognition as farmers, by supporting their access to relevant seed varieties and information, by providing access to opportunities (e.g. variety selection, income-generating activities, exposure to new contexts and life-paths) and also by enhancing their decision-making in agriculture. It also shows three events that had negative impacts on the respondents. Finally, the study discusses the impact that gender-biased contextual and institutional circumstances might have on the empowerment of the respondents. It analyses the interface between governance regimes regulating the right to access and control genetic resources at international and national levels, and the actual ability of the respondent women to access and control the seed varieties they had developed under the PPB programme.

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Page publiée le 3 novembre 2013, mise à jour le 29 mai 2022