08.12.2017

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Phones has led to a surge of mobile tools that allow users to access health, education and finance services. In agriculture, these tools can be used to obtain price data, weather reports and technical advice. While there is widespread consensus about the opportunities for economic growth and social empowerment that mobile tools offer users, one area has received limited attention so far: the potential to use mobile tools for research and for project monitoring and evaluation purposes.

During the last decade, mechanisation has received renewed interest among private actors, governments and development practitioners alike, especially in Africa. However, its intra-household effects are unclear. On the positive side, households using tractor services, for example, may be able to cultivate more land and achieve a higher yield. Yet, the expansion of land may increase the burden of labour for activities that are not yet mechanised, such as weeding and harvesting, which are often done by women and children. At the same time, activities that tend to be seen to more by males, such as land preparation, may be substituted by mechanisation services which are typically provided by male tractor operators. The potential changes of female time use may then alter the nutrition status of the household. So much for the hypotheses. To understand how mechanisation affects farm families in reality, we required data on time use and nutrition from different household members over an entire cropping season.

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