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Commercialization of agriculture in Nigeria : a gender analysis of cash crop production in Yekemi, Osun State

Afolabi, Monsurat Mojirayo


Monsurat Mojirayo Afolabi


Suzanne Clisby

Rachel Alsop


The commercialization of agriculture is seen as a cornerstone of processes of development and modernisation and the incorporation of rural farmers into this economy shows their importance as a major pillar in the economy. In Nigeria, cash crop production is highly significant for farmers in terms of raising their income and improving their economic status. It tends to be the case that within Nigerian contexts, broadly speaking, there continues to exist patriarchal forms of social organization and normative gender relations. In Yorubaland, even though the word ‘farmer’ as a term for involvement in agriculture is gender-neutral, the societal job demarcations, coupled with cultural expectations, makes the word ‘farmer’ become synonymous with ‘male’ and women are seen as farmers’ wives. Little attention or recognition is paid to women farmers within agricultural production and their economic contribution to national economies through commercial agriculture, with little or no gender-segregated data on agricultural outputs.

This thesis examines the impact of women’s involvement in the commercialization of cash crop production on gender relations at inter and intra household levels, focusing on Yekemi. It examines the effects of men migrating from Yekemi on cash crop production; the phenomenon of a shift in gender roles in the Yekemi community; the causative factors; the reactions of men to the shift; and the future prospects and lessons of the shift. An ethnographic approach was used, involving observations, interviews, visitations, walking the land and focus group discussions to gather detailed data about the change in status quo in gendered power relations.

This study reveals the power dynamics associated with female cash crop farmers. It shows that Yekemi, though a traditional rural setting, has overcome some of these traditional gender divisions and gender segregation in agricultural labour. I discovered that women in Yekemi empower themselves through their involvement in agricultural commercialization of cash crop production, which incurs recognition of their status as farmers in the village and ability to exercise agency in decision making within their households.

From the findings the thesis concludes that if participation in agricultural commercialization could be responsible for sustained economic independence and shifts in gender power dynamics beyond traditional norms in Yekemi, this could be seen as a critical example for use elsewhere. It could have significant implications for other female farmers and help to develop ways to empower rural women to gain a more visible and recognized foothold within commercial agriculture.


Afolabi, M. M. (2015). Commercialization of agriculture in Nigeria : a gender analysis of cash crop production in Yekemi, Osun State. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Social sciences
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Social Sciences, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2015


Thesis (2.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Afolabi, Monsurat Mojirayo. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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