Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics, February 7, 2018,


Copyright 2018 University of Nebraska


Agriculture comprises around 9.5 percent of GDP for all developing countries, 26.0 percent for the least developed, 17.6 percent in South Asia and 17.4 percent in Sub -Saharan Africa compared with only 1.1 percent in the United States (World Bank, 2018). Agriculture is the main source of employment and livelihood for many, especially in Asia and Africa where about 60 percent of workers (both men and women) are employed in the agricultural sector (Agarwal, 2015). Globally, about 43 percent of workers who are engaged in agricultural activities are women (Akter et al., 2017), and across Asian and African countries, about half of all agricultural workers are women (Agarwal, 2015). Additional information on the role of women in agriculture in low-income countries can be found in Table 1. Women perform a wide range of activities including the majority of weed control and harvesting (FAO, 2011). They also do transplanting, cleaning of grain, processing, sowing, clearing of fields, and much more. In Benin and Mali, for example, women are heavily involved in land clearing, tillage, harvesting, threshing, and the marketing of staple food crops (Adétonah et al., 2015).