Date & Time: Thursday, October 24, 2019 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Venue: Room 105, Research and Lecture Building, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Theme: Gender Aspects of Agrarian Reform in Post Genocide Rwanda: Understanding the Benefits of Land Use Consolidation Program for Women Smallholder Farmers
Speaker: Ms. Fortunée Bayisenge (Lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Development Studies at PIASS)
In the 41st ASC Seminar, the speaker began by explaining that the presentation to be delivered was part of the preliminary findings of her ongoing Doctoral research. The speaker addressed the topic of the seminar by providing a contextual background of the agricultural modernisation policies introduced in Rwanda, focusing on the Land Use Consolidation (LUC) program aimed at increasing agricultural productivity. Among the main changes introduced by this policy to farmers, it was mentioned the modernisation of agricultural means of production and the shift from subsistence to commercial farming. The speaker also pointed to the gap in research regarding the gender relations within agrarian change which inspired her ongoing study. The main findings of this study, divided in five themes, were presented as follows: the respondent women farmers were in majority between the ages of 40 to 50, only attended primary school, were married and cultivated small land as their primary source of income and this social conditions restricted their opportunities and benefits from the LUC program. Furthermore, their limited agency, the size of the land, the low prices of the crop, the limited access to agricultural inputs and credit as well as patriarchy represent additional barriers. As concluding remarks, the speaker reiterated that although women are benefiting from some opportunities of agricultural inputs and market access, gender and class still impose some limitations. In the Q&A section of the seminar, the audience and the speaker discussed patriarchy and the perception of gender roles, political representation and lack of gender specific policies, research methodology, and the specificities of women's land tenure rights in Rwanda.