Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 4/13

Women, Social Capital and Collective Action –
The Case of NERICA Rice Technology in Benin

Claudia Schroeder and Manfred Zeller
University of Hohenheim, Germany

Afiavi R. Agboh-Noameshie
Africa Rice Center, Cotonou, Benin


Women rice farmers in Africa are often constrained in accessing resources and technologies adapted to their requirements. AfricaRice has targeted women in disseminating NERICA to consider their needs. Along with top-down strategies, also processes that strengthen women rice growers at the grassroots are essential. Farmer groups’ social relation networks and collective action might open opportunities for women. This qualitative case study examines the interplay of technology adoption, social capital, collective action and women’s empowerment by focusing on women’s perceptions in the context of NERICA in Benin. Findings show that social capital and collective action enhance women’s economic and social position and their personal advancement. The study indicates what kind of external support might be useful to exploit, in the best possible way, the potential of collective action as a means for promoting women’s holistic development. The results can help in the design of strategies for women’s empowerment within NERICA dissemination activities.

Keywords: Benin, women, collective action, social capital, NERICA

JEL: Q16, Q19

Vol. 52 (2013), No. 4: 329-356