Publication Details

Larson, S., Giger-Dray, A., Cornioley, T., Thephavanh, M., Thammavong, P., Vorlasan, S., Connell, J., Moglia, M., Case, P., Alexander, K. & Perez, P. (2020). A game-based approach to exploring gender differences in smallholder decisions to change farming practices: White rice production in Laos. Sustainability, 12 (16),


© 2020 by the authors. What influences farmers' decisions to adopt agricultural technologies is an important question for international agricultural research projects. There are often interpersonal differences between women and men that influence the adoption of decisions and behaviours, but few studies in the literature focus on these factors. We describe a game-based approach to explore decision-making processes underpinning the adoption of new farming technologies and practices in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Sowing a different rice variety is the tailored technology. The game explored adoption behaviours influencing decisions on transitioning from growing glutinous rice, a traditional variety preferred for consumption, to "white" rice for commercial export to international markets. We conducted separate game-workshops with 36 women and 36 men in 4 villages of southern Laos that were transitioning from subsistence to commercial smallholder production. The gaming exposed various possible behaviours and decisions that women and men considered. Access to resources, both assets and information, was equal for all players, yet women were found to adopt new rice varieties more readily than men and to engage in cooperative behaviours in the game situation. The study highlighted the need for further gender-sensitive research into cooperation among women in the agricultural context-an understanding beneficial for countries and regions undergoing agricultural transition.


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