The agriculture sector supports the livelihoods of the majority of the population in Rwanda. Currently, the sector is dominated by smallholder farmers most of whom are women. In order to modernize and transform agriculture to market orientation, the government has put in place agriculture sector development programs for instance the Crop Intensification Program. One of the targeted crops in the program is the common bean. Nearly all households in Rwanda produce the common bean. Though there are potential welfare gains from participating in common bean output markets, the level of market participation in common bean market is still low. There are gender disparities in the ownership and control of productive assets in Rwanda. This study therefore was a gendered assessment of determinants of market participation among smallholder common bean farmers in Rwanda. The specific objectives of the study were: to characterize the socio economic attributes of the smallholder common bean farmers by gender, to assess the determinants of market participation and extent of market participation in common bean markets among the smallholder common bean farmers by gender and to determine the factors influencing choice of common bean marketing outlets in Rwanda. Multistage sampling procedure was used to select 385 respondents. Data was analysed using Excel, STATA and SPSS computer programs. Descriptive statistics, Heckman two step model and Multinomial logistic model were used to analyse the said objectives. The results revealed disparities in market participation and extent/level with female headed households lagging behind. The age, labour used in selling and group membership significantly influenced male headed households’ market participation. Education, bean type and land under beans were important in influencing female headed households’ bean market participation. Age, marital status and land size significantly influenced extent of bean market participation among the male headed households. Age, land under beans, credit access, group membership and distance to the market influenced the extent of market participation among the female headed households. Household size, labour used in selling, education level, group membership, credit access and road type were important in explaining the choice of common bean market outlets. The findings showed disparities in market participation across male headed and female headed households. In order to improve common bean market participation especially among women, efforts to streamline land entitlement, price marketing and education policies should be made in a gender considerate manner. There should also be promotion of farmer cooperation, provision of agricultural credit and improvement of rural roads.

Background of the Study 
For most economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture remains a critical sector for attaining economic growth. The sector is a source of livelihood to the majority of the rural population. In Rwanda, the sector occupies 79.5 percent of the labour force (most of whom are women), contributes one third of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generates more than 45 percent of the country’s export revenues. Agriculture is also important for national food self- sufficiency, accounting for well over 90 percent of all food consumed in the country (Republic of Rwanda, 2012a). 

Consequently, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) recognizes agriculture as an important sector in the pursuit of realizing the country’s vision 2020. This vision envisages Rwanda becoming a middle income economy by the year 2020. The realization of this calls for transforming commercialization of subsistence agriculture. This constitutes one of the five pillars of the vision (Republic of Rwanda, 2000). Moreover, this is emphasized in the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy Phase two (EDPRS 2). The strategy points to the agriculture sector as a key to inclusive growth for the country as well as poverty reduction. Furthermore, the strategy encompasses four broad programme areas: agriculture and animal resource intensification; research, technology transfer and professionalization of farmers; value-chain development and private-sector investment; and institutional development and agricultural crosscutting issues. Part of the EDPRS 2 is the Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation phase three (PSTA III) and it’s guided by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) the Africa’s roadmap to economic development via agriculture (IFAD, 2014). 

As part of agricultural intensification, the government of Rwanda has placed beans as one of the target crops in the Crop Intensification Program (CIP). CIP was launched in September 2007 with the objective of increasing productivity in selected food crops while improving food security and self-sufficiency. CIP has been investing heavily to increase hectares under consolidated production and productivity of the target crops. Among the staple crops, common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) have had the largest area under production in the country and have remained relatively stable at around 330,000 hectares (Republic of Rwanda, 2011). The other crops targeted by the program are maize, wheat, rice, potatoes and cassava. 

The common dry bean is the most important food legume for direct consumption in the world. Dry beans are produced in a range of crop systems and environments in regions as diverse as Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, China, Europe, the United States, and Canada. The leading bean producer and consumer is Latin America, where beans are the traditional, significant food, especially in Brazil, Mexico, the Andean Zone, Central America, and the Caribbean. In Africa, beans are grown mainly for subsistence, where the Great Lakes region has the highest per capita consumption in the world (Gepts, 2001). 

Common beans are also a staple food in the Rwandan diet, with the average Rwandan consuming 60 kilograms of dry beans annually making Rwanda rank the highest in per capita bean consumption in the world (Republic of Rwanda, 2012b). Cultivation of common beans in Rwanda is dominated by smallholders who are concentrated in rural areas. Most of them have land holdings of below 0.9 hectares (Republic of Rwanda, 2012c). In the rural areas, poverty and food insecurity continue to be a major challenge especially for the female headed households. Many of these smallholder farmers practice subsistence production of dry beans despite the high demand of dry beans in Rwanda (Ann, 2012). 

In Rwanda, common beans are an important crop that is grown by almost 90% of households (FAO, 2012; Republic of Rwanda, 2012c). In the traditional planting system, women do more than 60% of the land preparation, more than 75% of the weeding; and more than 70% of the harvesting. Women are also more involved than men in transporting, drying, winnowing, storing and marketing beans (60%, 57%, 79%, 65% and 61%, respectively). When common beans are planted in lines, men do the majority of the weeding (86%) since weeding is done using the normal hoe (76.5%) (Dusengemungu et al., 2006). Generally, marketing of common bean in Rwanda is still low, at 12% though this national average includes the households that do not produce common bean. 

In recent years, the demand for beans has been on the rise owing to the growing population. According to FAOSTAT (2015a), the production of common bean in Rwanda was 432.857 million kilograms in the year 2012. In the preceding year, the country produced 331 million kilograms of common beans, imported 4.854 million kilograms of common beans and exported 2.485 million kilograms of common beans (FAOSTAT, 2015b). This shows that the imports were more than the exports. The prices of beans have also been increasing. For instance, in 2013, among the CIP crops, beans recorded the highest growth in price having risen by around 20%. In the same year, dry beans exports were valued at USD 7.6 Million (Republic of Rwanda, 2011). 

In most developing countries Rwanda included, there are gender disparities in agriculture and in market participation. In Rwanda, the agriculture sector is mainly dominated by poor women (about 86%) with very low levels of schooling and high illiteracy levels (23.3%). Consequently, most women remain in subsistence agriculture. In case they participate in markets, they receive low prices for their products due to inadequate market intelligence and limited capacities to participate in agribusiness. About 30% of households are female headed and most of them are very poor and are concentrated in the rural areas where agriculture is the main economic activity. In addition, most female headed households also have less labour making labour intensive agricultural technologies not appropriate for them (GoR, 2010). 

There is therefore a gender gap in agricultural market participation. This gap is propagated by limited access to market information, limited knowledge, skills and technologies for processing and storage, limited access to credit to support secondary agribusiness and lack of entrepreneurship skills. In particular, female headed households do not benefit from market participation at the same level as male headed households. There are also gender disparities in the value addition and marketing of agricultural commodities where more economic commodities are controlled by men. Women are associated with marketing small quantities of produce while larger quantities are marketed by men who also control the income from the sales (ibid). There also exists a gender inequality in accessing land and land ownership rights where women often have lower access to land and are restricted in accessing land rights whereby they access these rights through relationship with a male relative (FAO, 2010). Rural women in developing countries, Rwanda included are more disadvantaged in access to as well as control over land and capital relative to men (Peterman et al., 2009; Fletschner, 2006). Women are further disadvantaged with respect to labour because they have less access to labour saving technology and to hired labour needed for lucrative, labour intensive agricultural production (Meinzen-Dick et al., 2011). 

Women access to output markets may have more constraints compared to that of men (World Bank, 2012). There are several constraints that impede women access and/or increases cost of entry to output markets (OECD, 2004). These include mobility constraints that limit their ability to travel as well as sell at distant output markets, lack of certification to trade in certain markets thus limiting their entry to output market and lack of market information. Women participation in market oriented activities is also reduced because of combination of activity regulating social norms and reduced mobility due to their domestic responsibilities (Fletschner, 2008). 

In this study therefore, it was postulated that market participation among smallholder common bean farmers in Rwanda presented different opportunities and challenges for men and for women. These differences stemmed from the different roles and responsibilities of men and women as well as the different challenges they faced with women being more likely to be disadvantaged. Apparently, therefore, there exist inequalities between male headed and female headed households’ involvement in agriculture particularly concerning agricultural markets. Households were defined as female headed households (FHHs) if they were headed by single, widowed, divorced, separated women, or where there was a husband who was not physically present, because for instance he was working elsewhere. 

Statement of the Problem 
Strengthening the abilities of smallholder farmers in developing countries, particularly women farmers, to produce for both home and the market is currently a development priority. This is due to the fact that market participation is an avenue of generating more household income as well as improving the welfare of households. In Rwanda, the government has over the years through its various programs emphasized the need for transformation of rural agriculture from subsistence to producing surplus that can be marketed. 

In as much as there is an increase in market participation especially among the smallholder farmers, market participation among common bean farmers remains low and has not yet reached its full potential. Moreover, the existing gender inequalities in access to productive resources and empowerment impact on market participation and intensity of participation across gender. Further, it is not clear whether the factors that influence market participation among male headed households are the same as among female headed households. Although incorporation of gender issues in other agricultural analyses has been on the increase, women market participation has received minimal attention. This study sought to fill this knowledge gap by disaggregating by gender of the household head the underpinning factors that influence market participation and intensity of participation. The study also assessed the factors that influence the choice of marketing outlets. 

General Objective 
To contribute to the improvement of common bean farmers’ livelihoods through enhanced market participation. 

Specific Objectives 
1. To characterize the socio economic attributes of the smallholder common bean farmers by gender. 
2. To assess the determinants of smallholder common bean market participation and the extent of market participation by gender. 
3. To determine the factors influencing the choice of common bean marketing outlets in Rwanda. 

Research Questions 
1. What are the socio economic characteristics of smallholder common bean farmers by gender? 
2. What are the determinants of smallholder common bean farmers’ market participation and the extent of market participation by gender? 
3. Which factors influence the choice of common bean marketing outlets by smallholder farmers in Rwanda? 

The Government of Rwanda has a strong focus on staple crops including common beans based on their importance for food and nutrition security. Owing to the growing population in Rwanda and expanding urbanization, there is potential increase in demand for common beans which is one of the major staple foods. The government of Rwanda also aims at increasing productivity of agriculture and transforming agriculture to be market oriented. The government also aims at improving rural livelihoods through increased rural incomes. The rural population makes up 83.5% of the total population and agriculture is the main economic activity in the rural areas (Republic of Rwanda and NISR, 2012). Output market participation by farmers is one of the avenues that can achieve this. Markets have been recognized for their potential to unlock economic growth and development. This study therefore is in line with the policy direction taken by the government of Rwanda since it sought to unveil the determinants of market participation among smallholder common bean farmers. This provided an insight on the critical factors that influence smallholder market participation as well as the extent of participation. This is important to the government and policy makers who could use the results of the study to target interventions that are aimed to enhance market participation and also the intensity of market participation. The study also focused on the factors that influence the choice of marketing outlets for common beans. The results thereof would be useful to the government, policy makers and development partners in designing appropriate interventions to link the smallholder farmers to the markets. 

One of the cross cutting areas of Rwanda’s vision 2020 is gender equality. This study recognizes that there are usually some differentials in participation in markets across the male and the female gender and therefore took account of these differences in the analysis. Disparity in market participation across gender has consequences on the potential benefits of market participation across gender for instance improved livelihoods and welfare. This would further widen the inequality gap across gender. This study therefore would be useful in providing of a clearer picture of market participation from a gender point of view. This would be important in design of gender responsive and efficient market policies. The study could also enrich the stock of existing but thin literature regarding smallholder farmers’ participation in common bean marketing on a gender approach. 

Scope and Limitations of the Study 
The study used a gender based approach on market participation among smallholder common bean farmers in Rwanda. The study was confined within Rwanda and it used survey data collected in the year 2014 thus limiting the possibility of capturing changes in the areas of focus after 2014. The gender issues explored were only concerned with the gender of the household head in terms of male headed and female headed households. 

The study was also constrained by lack of longitudinal data which limited the ability of generalizing of the results. It is also important to note that the production of the common bean is susceptible to weather changes and therefore seasonal. This implies that it was difficult to determine the exact extent of market participation especially in situations where there were low yields due to adverse weather patterns. 

Definition of Terms 
Gender – The behavioural, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex. In this study gender is used to refer to the household head’s sex where one is either male or female. Therefore, there are male headed and female headed households. 

Head of Household- The person that the members of a household are answerable to, in this case on common bean production and marketing. 

Household- defined as an individual or a group of people with the same arrangements for providing themselves with food and other essentials for living. 

Market participation - refers to involvement in production that is market oriented as opposed to the traditional subsistence production. In other words, it involves producing with an aim of having a marketable surplus and actually going ahead and selling the surplus. 

Smallholder farmers – farmers who are characterized by land holding less than two hectares. 

Socio-economic factors- factors that influence both the social and economic wellbeing of an individual.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 61 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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