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 Researchers double sorghum grain yield to improve food supply
31.10.2019 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Game changer: New chemical keeps plants plump
25.10.2019 | University of California - Riverside

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: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

Im Focus: A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

The algorithm represents a first step in the automated learning of quantum information networks

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Volcanoes under pressure

18.11.2019 | Earth Sciences

Scientists discover how the molecule-sorting station in our cells is formed and maintained

18.11.2019 | Life Sciences

Hot electrons harvested without tricks

18.11.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>