Gardening Matters: a Political Ecology of Female Horticulturists, Commercialization, Water Access, and Food Security in Botswana

Citation:

Fehr, Rachel, and William G. Moseley. 2017. “Gardening Matters: a Political Ecology of Female Horticulturists, Commercialization, Water Access, and Food Security in Botswana.” African Geographical Review 38 (1): 67-80.

Authors: Rachel Fehr, William G. Moseley

Abstract:

The Government of Botswana and its partners have sought to address household food insecurity and poverty by experimenting with gardening initiatives of various sizes and commercial orientation. We use a multi-method approach, incorporating both econometric analysis and qualitative data, viewed through the theoretical lens of feminist political ecology, to determine how effective these women’s gardening initiatives are in addressing household food insecurity. We compare the relationship between commercial orientation and food security for women who rely on borehole water, tap water, and river water. We find that food security status improves with commercial orientation only when women are already experienced with the commercial market and/or when commercialization helps cover unavoidable water costs. When women have access to a reliable source of inexpensive water (as the river water users do), they can sustainably pursue subsistence-oriented horticulture and may in fact see greater food security benefits from consuming what they grow than from selling it. This study’s results call into question claims that commercialized horticulture will improve food security without first addressing the gendered dynamics of water access.

Keywords: commercial agriculture, feminist political ecology, food security, horticulture, water access, Botswana

Annotation:


 

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Botswana

Year: 2017

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.