Gender implications of agricultural commercialisation: The case of sugarcane production in Kilombero District, Tanzania

May 2015
Helen Dancer and Emmanuel Sulle (Future Agricultures Consortium Working Paper 118)

Since the global food crisis of 2008 the Tanzanian government has made food security through increases in agricultural productivity a policy priority. The emphasis is on commercialisation, with a particular focus on large-scale rice and sugarcane production. Gender equity within African agricultural production is a critical issue; yet limited empirical research exists on the gender implications of agricultural commercialisation now taking place in the region. Presents findings from fieldwork in Kilombero District in 2013-14. Takes the country’s largest sugar producer – Kilombero Sugar Company Ltd – as its focus and analyses the socio-economic implications of the commercialisation of sugarcane production from a gender perspective. Findings demonstrate the significance of gender relations in the development of commercial agricultural business models, local socio-economic development and land titling measures. Also illustrate the pressures and benefits for relationships and resource-sharing within households in the transition from food crops to sugarcane production.