Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inequality affects food production in Zimbabwe

25.10.2011
A shortage of land in Zimbabwe leads to greater inequality between the sexes. However, an indirect consequence has also been that opposition to polygamy has increased. This has been shown by Karin Steen of Lund University, Sweden, in her recent thesis in Sustainability Science.

Karin Steen has studied the relationship between men, women, land and labour from a gender perspective. Women do not really have a right to land, but through marriage they can gain access to a garden plot where they can grow vegetables for their family and to sell.

The men do have control over the women’s labour, but the pieces of land have given the women a certain degree of financial independence. However, the already uneven power relations between men and women are worsening: a shortage of land has meant that a woman’s proportion of the family’s total land has shrunk dramatically. Women’s independence has thus been reduced, as well as the opportunities for them to work to support their family by alternative means.

“In Zimbabwe, access to land is intimately linked with male identity”, says Karin Steen. “It is a highly political issue and a lot of time is now spent on land disputes with neighbours instead of food production.”

The region which Karin Steen has studied is called Chiweshe. It is one of many ‘communal areas’, where African peasant farmers were gathered together to make room for the colonial settlers. Still today, 80 per cent of Zimbabwe’s subsistence farmers farm 40 per cent of the country’s arable land, which lies within these areas.

The shortage of land was remedied to a certain extent in the early 2000s when peasant farmers occupied large-scale commercial farms belonging to white farmers. However, ownership of the occupied farms is still unclear, which means that many peasant farmers do not dare to leave their old plots of land, despite the fact that they are too small.

Karin Steen explains that the shortage of land has also had other, indirect consequences. Combined with the influence of ideas on gender equality from the cities, the shortage of land has meant that opposition to polygamy has increased:

“Women are less able to provide for their children if the land has to stretch to another family”, says Karin Steen.

Many peasant farmers, both men and women, have also started to recognise that polygamous marriage leads to a lot of conflicts within the family.

After her PhD, Karin Steen will continue to study how gender affects production and food security in developing countries.

“There is a lot of research being done on gender and agriculture, but there is a lack of studies that examine in detail how power is expressed in the relationship between men and women and how this in turn affects food production.”

Karin Steen’s thesis is entitled Time to farm. A qualitative inquiry into the dynamics of the gender regime of land and labour rights in subsistence farming: an example from the Chiweshe communal area, Zimbabwe.

It was presented at LUCSUS – the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.

Karin Steen can be contacted by telephone, +46 46 222 80 83, or by email, Karin.Steen@lucsus.lu.se

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>