Maize is grown by an estimated 80% of farmers in Tanzania and about 20% of those farmers are in female-headed households. Most of these females were widowed or divorced and are disadvantaged compared to male-headed households with respect to knowledge of production practices, land holdings, use of improved inputs, yields, and prices received for marketed maize. Better understanding of these female maize farmers and their characteristics and endowments could help Government, NGOs, and donors provide better services such as extension, access to inputs, and information on marketing and business practices with the objective of raising incomes and reducing poverty. Higher incomes would also contribute to increased food security among this vulnerable segment of the rural population.
The USAID-funded Tanzania SERA Policy Project and the Finance & Markets Global Practice of the World Bank Group engaged TNS Social Research in Nairobi, Kenya, to survey 600 male and 600 female maize farmers in four regions of southern Tanzania’s maize producing regions. The results of that survey are presented in this report along with recommendations of how to better support female maize farmers. The findings may have implications for female farmers producing other crops in Tanzania who face similar circumstances and for female farmers throughout the region.