Although farmer organizations are acknowledged to link their members to markets, enhance their business skills and enable access to services, there is need for evidence that ascertains if all members benefit equitably. This paper examines benefit distribution and sources of gender differences in mixed-sex collective marketing farmer organizations in Uganda and Malawi. Through a cross-sectional survey, key informant interviews and gender segregated focus group discussions, data were pooled from 10 farmer organizations and 492 individual members. An independent samples t-test revealed that in both countries, men benefited more than women. In Uganda, significant differences existed in skills training, planning meetings, business networks, and impromptu general meetings. In Malawi, significant differences manifested in extension training and decisions regarding investment and marketing. In both countries, men were significantly more dissatisfied with the collective marketing initiatives than women, which resulted in side selling in Malawi. On the other hand, women were significantly more satisfied than men with the collective marketing and, in Malawi, they sold significantly higher quantities through their organizations than men. We conclude that collective marketing farmer organizations connect women members to markets but neither address gender inequalities nor stimulate women empowerment. We propose strategies that can improve gender responsiveness in mixed farmer organizations.
Key words: Farmer organizations, gender differences, benefit distribution, smallholders, Uganda, Malawi.
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