Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Tom B. Gill

Committee Members

David R. Ader, Carrie A. Stephens


In regions of East Africa, groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is cultivated as a common cash crop in areas of food insecurity and agricultural-dependent communities. Groundnut, also known as peanut, is a legume with a variety of important uses. This crop is especially popular with small-scale farmers and youth, who seek to harvest a crop which is affordable. As an expected 440 million young people enter the global labor market by 2030, those living in rural areas are at a disadvantage when searching for job opportunities. In Africa, this rural-urban divide has impacted the economic sector and the activities in which youth engage. Despite the importance of agriculture to both rural and urban communities, youth seldom engage in production agriculture or other types of agribusinesses. In addition to barriers for youth involvement, gender plays a role in the groundnut value chain by creating unequal responsibilities for labor.

The question then remains as to whether there are ways to empower and equip youth to remain in rural areas, particularly through provision of opportunities for youth in the agriculture sector. Viewing agriculture in terms of value chains from “farm to fork” is a beneficial approach to reframing agriculture as not simply “plows and cows.” The importance of this research is to understand the areas for improvement within value chains and reengage youth back into agriculture.

This study used a mixed methods approach to survey research participants and interviewed two groups of groundnut farmers in the Ugandan districts of Nwoya and Tororo. An innovative visual methodology, Photovoice, was used to facilitate additional qualitative research through the duration of the project. The research results indicate that gender is a key determinant for the tasks within the groundnut value chain that each person is expected to complete. Men typically participate in earlier stages of the value chain, like preparing the land. Women are heavily involved in the middle stages and end stages of the value chain, such as weeding, harvesting, shelling, sorting, and drying. Youth are at a disadvantage when accessing land and capital resources, with women facing additional societal biases. These disadvantages and biases create barriers for farmers to enter and remain engaged within the agricultural industry.

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