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Brewing (and distilling) constitute a major economic sub-system throughout rural and peri-urban sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps holding the prime function in the circulation of money. Brewing is important in resource decisions, in sales and consumption of grains, and as a significant consumer of fuelwood. It remains primarily a female function and skill; yet this unique sector, with its gender issues, is barely acknowledged by development agencies in their projects or in the extensive literature on gender and rural development.

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