Africa must increase its domestic food production in order to feed its growing population. The importance of increasing food production in the context of national development programs has been widely recognized by both African policy makers and aid donors. Aside from land, labor is the major factor of farm production in most African countries, therefore, the efficient allocation and utilization of household labor is a key consideration in programs attempting to increase farm output. It was estimated by the Economic Commission for Africa that women do between 60 and 80 percent of work in agriculture across Africa. Women are thought to be of central importance in the production and marketing of food crops. In contrast, men are believed to concentrate on cash crop production. Recent studies have shown that African women contribute the majority of labor involved in food production in many African countries. Studies have also shown that males and females put in roughly similar amounts of labor into agriculture, although there is a definite division of labor on basis of crops and type of work. This paper has approached the topic of the role of women in rural development not simply because they are women but because there may be a serious loss of resources and potential due to neglecting women in African agricultural development. The purpose of this paper is to formulate a descriptive micro level analysis of rural household labor allocation by sex, age, region, and income groups in Sierra Leone.


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