Access and control over agricultural income and labour in smallholder farming systems: a gendered look from Chipata, eastern Zambia.

Thumbnail Image
Pelekamoyo, Joan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
This study sought to investigate access to and control over agricultural income and labour in smallholder farming households in Chipata district, Zambia. The objectives were to investigate the agricultural practices employed by smallholder farming households in Msandire and Mkanda areas of Chipata District, investigate decision making over agricultural income by men and women in Msandire and Mkanda smallholder farming households and examine the gendered aspects of household labour allocations among smallholders in Msandire and Mkanda agricultural camps. Methods of data collection that were used in this study included household and key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a desk analysis of publications on gender in agriculture. The HAF was used to identify the roles and assess the access to and control over agricultural resources by men and women farmers in the study area. Descriptive analysis such as means and percentages were used to analyse quantitative data, while qualitative data from the focus group discussions, the key informant interviews, and answers to the open-ended questions of the semi-structured interviews were analysed using content analysis. Results show that agricultural practices which were commonly employed by smallholder farming households were flat culture being the most practiced tillage by both male-headed households (71%) and female-headed households (91%). Ploughing was more common among the households headed by men (16%) and in households headed by women, it only occurred in 7%. Then ripping only occurred in male-headed households with none of the women ripping their fields. Only men had access to and control over cattle resulting in a high prevalence of women using the flat culture system due to limited access to draught animals. Decisions were made jointly in male-headed households (48%) over agricultural income while for female-headed households, joint control occurred only in 19% of the cases. The most frequently made joint decisions concerned harvesting, planting, and crop sale. Over half (58%) of the women in female headed households controlled their household‟s agricultural income as compared to only 15% of women in the male-headed households. In the male-headed households only 37% of the men controlled their agricultural income as compared to 23% of the men in the female-headed households. Men allocated most of the labour activities in the male-headed households and women only took charge in the absence of men or in female-headed households. Both men and women in male and female-headed households were involved in manual weeding and harvesting. This study concludes that women generally have access to agricultural resources but do not have control over them. Mostly men have control unless in households where the woman is the head of the household. Hence, to ensure equitable access to and control over agricultural income and labour, this study recommends that Government in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, NGOs and community based organisations should ensure continued strengthening of gender mainstreaming strategies by identifying and addressing gender inequalities in relation to income and labour resources through the use of gender analysis, and gender-responsive budgeting processes.
Thesis of Masters of Science Degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Management.