Comparing the role of women in sheep and goat dairy value chains in Al-Karak, Jordan and Ontario, Canada

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Alqudah, Amneh
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University of Guelph

Some women who are smallholder farmers face challenges that prevent them from achieving their full potential as sheep and goat farmers. This is especially true in some areas of the world, such as the Middle East, but not necessarily in other regions such as North America. This study finds that the sheep and goat dairy industry in Jordan is almost exclusively a family operation. Sheep and goats are raised in Jordan for multiple purposes such as milk products, meat, wool, and hides. Jordanian rural women play an important role in the sheep and goat production systems. They are more often engaged in feeding, milking, processing and annual harvesting of forages while the control over decisions and income, marketing and distribution of sheep and goat dairy products are taken by men. This is not the case in Ontario, Canada where sheep and goat dairy production is both a lifestyle choice and business venture in which women and men are equally active. This study examines why cultural differences such as gender are important aspects to be understood for small scale livestock production systems. Specifically, the research paper addresses knowledge and cultural aspects of the value chains for dairy goat and sheep products in Al-Karak, Jordan with a comparison to those value chains in Ontario, Canada. Findings include the roles of men and women, their access to resources and participation in household decision making, all of which can impact resource allocation, technology adoption, and marketing and food consumption. The approach to this research project is based on exploratory approach involving mainly literature review and qualitative methods used in farm visits (Ontario) and key informant interviews with producers in Jordan.

women, sheep, goats, dairy production, value chains, culture, gender, livestock production system