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Bridging the Gender Gap in Integrated Pest Management: Managing Fruit Flies in Mango Crops

As we get ready for the launch of our 2023 Women as IPM Leaders Webinar Series, Leandra Fernandes, reflects on what was shared in the 2022 series.

Three experts from Kenya, Indonesia, and the Philippines shared their insights on the roles and responsibilities of men and women farmers in the management of fruit flies in mango farming in our 2022 Women as IPM Leaders Webinar Series. They highlighted the crucial contributions of women in mango production and marketing, and shed light on women's involvement in decision-making, and the impact of new technologies.

The importance of training

Dr Beatrice Muriithi from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) highlighted the urgent need to prioritize women's empowerment from the very inception of IPM programs. She emphasized the importance of enhancing women’s access to training to ensure they can be fully involved in programmes. This is critical because the findings from a study conducted in Kenya revealed a 21.2% decrease in women's involvement and influence in household decision-making in mango production and marketing after the uptake of any particular IPM programme. Hence, it's important to involve both women and men farmers in the design and implementation of programmes to ensure that there are positive outcomes for all. Observations from projects in Indonesia and the Philippines also showed that the household responsibilities of women often hindered their participation in organised training sessions, which could limit their access to the latest technologies and information.

Recognition of women’s role in contractual farming

A study conducted in the Island Garden City of Samal, Philippines, by Mitchiko Lopez from the University of the Philippines Mindanao revealed that women are often the key decision-makers in the choice of whether to choose a contract farming model where the family share the profits with a contractor who provides the farming services. This highlights the importance of considering women's needs and perspectives in designing and implementing IPM programs for sustainable mango production.

Find out from farmers - what empowerment means to them.

Dr Handewi Purwati from BRIN (Research and Innovation Agency) in Indonesia stressed the need to reduce the burden on women by implementing strategies that empower women along the entire mango value chain, without adding further pressure to their existing responsibilities.

This webinar emphasized the critical importance of adopting a gender lens when designing IPM projects. By understanding the role of women farmers in mango production and their unique challenges in farming, we can better design and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that benefit the whole community. You can watch the webinar here.

Links to some of the studies covered in the webinar:

We hope this discussion sparks further research and action to bridge the gender gap in sustainable agriculture and pave the way for inclusive and impactful IPM programs. This webinar was one of three in the 2022 Women as IPM Leaders Gender and Agriculture Webinar Series. The 2023 Women as IPM Leaders Webinar Series under the ASEAN FAW Action Plan starts soon! Find out more information and join us by going to:

The ASEAN FAW Action Plan would like to thank the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their generous support of this programme.

About the author

Leandra Fernandes enjoys working in the space of plant biosecurity, Integrated Pest Management and gender inclusivity. Outside of work, she is an avid reader and rock climber that loves the outdoors and hanging out with friends. You can connect with her on LinkedIn


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