In southern Honduras, cashew nut cultivation is the main source of income for many families. The women are responsible for maintaining the cultivated land as well as household tasks and childcare. The abundance of tasks often limits their ability to generate income.
As part of the project "New Market Opportunities through Efficient Production in the Gulf of Fonseca" funded by Global Affairs Canada, Swisscontact conducted a study on the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) in cooperation with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). This indicator measures gender gaps and women's participation in decision-making processes, their membership in groups and other indicators. The study revealed a gender imbalance in workload, i.e. women farmers spend more time on agricultural and household-related activities than their male counterparts.
To close this gender gap, the project provided women cashew farmers with agricultural implements for tending their plots to reduce their time and workload. These included weed cutters, electric pumps for crop spraying, saws and handcarts to facilitate the transport of heavy equipment and crops.
The introduction of technical equipment made it easier for women to do agricultural work. This also reduced their working time in tending the land and they earned a higher income from their services.
Since the pilot project began, there are signs that point to a change in traditional gender roles and greater trust in women; much more often today, it is they who decide what to do with the money generated by the services.