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THE ROLE OF GUMUZ WOMEN IN AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES: THE CASE OF DOBI KEBELLE, BULLEN WOREDA, BENISHANGUL GUMUZ, WESTERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 1202-09]
Rural women play a significant role in agricultural production activities, while coping with a variety of challenges in Benishangul Gumuz western Ethiopia in general and Gumuz community in particular. This study was focused on the role of Gumuz women in agricultural activities using the case of Dobi kebelle in Bullen woreda Benishangul Gumuz western Ethiopia. A simple random sampling strategy has been used to get 126 households to gather quantitative data and of these 55 respondents were selected to collect qualitative data. The primary data used to conduct this study was obtained from household surveys, nonparticipant observation of women’s participation in agricultural activities, household decision making, and domestic activities in the study community. Simultaneously other data was collected through in-depth interview of elders of both sexes in the community and agricultural experts of the woreda. Lastly, focus group discussion and case study data collection instruments were used. Simple descriptive statistical analysis including frequency, percentage and graphs were used to analyze quantitative data and a narrative has been used to describe qualitative data. The result of this study revealed that women are integral to all agricultural activities related to crop production except plowing with ox among the Gumuz community in Dobi kebelle. In addition to this women carry out the clearing of agricultural land, hoeing, preparing threshing ground (locally called shich’a) and others agricultural activities in addition to reproductive and household chores in the study community. The results further show women in the study area have equal rights with men in the acquisition of new agricultural land through free land holding without any bias and dominate decision making on agricultural activities which relate to crop production in the community. However women have less access to productive resources such as extension services, finance, fertilizers, improved seed, and they lack inheritance rights to property in the study area. These factors limit their agricultural output production and productivity to subsistence farming and local markets rather than commercial production.