Embodied Livelihoods and Tomato Farmers’ Gendered Experience of Pesticides in Tuobodom, Ghana

L. Zseleczky, M.E. Christie, J. Haleegoah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In the pursuit of technical goals such as improved yields or reduced pest damage, agricultural development programs—and the technologies they introduce—can alter or reinforce gender roles and relations with clear implications for gender equality. This case study explores the experiences of tomato production and pest management of men and women farmers in Tuobodom, Ghana. A primary goal of the research is to better understand the farmers’ current dependence on pesticides and identify gender-based constraints to, and opportunities for, the introduction of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. The findings reveal how contact with pesticides becomes part of tomato farmers’ embodied experiences and how different roles played by men and women in agriculture, coupled with the differences in their knowledge, perceptions, and access to resources, result in differential exposure to and experiences of pesticides. Analysis using an embodied livelihoods framework reveals that men and women face a paradox in which their dependence on pesticides for tomato production reduces their body capitals, which they need to sustain their corporeal existence through their livelihoods as tomato farmers. The IPM programs could introduce alternative technologies of pest management that reduce dependence on toxic chemical pesticides, but these alternatives will be successful only if they are developed in collaboration with farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-274
JournalGender, Technology and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Agriculture
  • Development
  • Embodiment
  • Gender
  • Ghana
  • Integrated pest management (IPM)
  • Masculinity
  • Pesticides


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