Plantwise is a global programme, led by CABI, to increase food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. Sustainable networks of local plant clinics run by extension staff trained as plant doctors provide farmers with practical plant health advice. Plant clinics are reinforced by the Plantwise knowledge bank, an online and offline gateway to plant health information. Working in close partnership with relevant actors (mainly government extension and plant protection workers), Plantwise strengthens national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less and feed more.
Based on the guidelines set out in the Plantwise Gender Strategy, CABI commissioned a study to identify key ongoing barriers to equitable delivery of extension support services to both women and men, focussing primarily on four case study countries (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan) but drawing lessons for application across all Plantwise countries of operation. The study aimed to identify, in detail, what the key gender challenges are both for Plantwise and extension services more generally, drawing on the experience and knowledge of Plantwise staff, service users, and partners. It then focussed on pinpointing practical next steps that can be taken to further realise the programme’s commitment to equitable service delivery, in particular through a gender outreach process.
While focussing primarily on ensuring equality of service to both men and women, the study also identified where lessons could be generalised to support improved service delivery to other groups who may experience problems in accessing support, such as young farmers, or those from ethnic minorities.