Patricia Zambrano
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC
Melinda Smale
Michigan State University
Jorge H. Maldonado
Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
Sandra L. Mendoza
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH), Sweden

Although the literature on gender in agriculture is extensive, gender has been under studied in the published literature about biotech crops in developing countries. To explore whether gender affects access to and use of biotech cotton, we developed and tested a participatory, qualitative approach. Despite the perception that women participate little in cotton production in Colombia, some women manage their own plots, and many share production responsibilities with their spouses. Men and women perceive the costs and benefits of biotech cotton differently. Female farmers who managed their own plots stated that they preferred insect-resistant varieties over conventional varieties primarily because these reduce the number of laborers they must hire to spray pesticides, a task performed solely by men. Both male and female farmers identified the lack of adequate and timely information about biotech cotton as a major disadvantage, but the problem appeared to be more limiting for female farmers.

Key words: Colombia, gender, GM cotton, qualitative research, perceptions, women.