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Agriculture

Lost and Found Crops: Agrobiodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and a Feminist Political Ecology of Sorghum and Finger Millet in Northern Malawi

Citation:

Kerr, Rachel Bezner. 2011. “Lost and Found Crops: Agrobiodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and a Feminist Political Ecology of Sorghum and Finger Millet in Northern Malawi.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104 (3): 577-93.

Author: Rachel Bezner Kerr

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
This article tells the story of two indigenous, drought-tolerant grains, finger millet and sorghum, once grown in northern Malawi. Sorghum essentially disappeared from the landscape, replaced by maize. Finger millet persisted, despite being discouraged by colonial and postcolonial governments, but is now in decline. This case study of these two crops in northern Malawi uses data from in-depth interviews, focus groups, archival documents, and observations. I suggest that sorghum almost disappeared due to a combination of maize promotion, male migration, and pest problems. An upsurge of tobacco production, in part due to neoliberal policies, combined with gender dynamics that favor maize are reducing finger millet production. Drawing on theories of feminist political ecology, resilience, and indigenous knowledge, I argue that agrobiodiversity and related indigenous knowledge are situated in material and gendered practices. Efforts to improve social resilience in these vulnerable regions need to pay attention to processes and the intersectionality of gender, class, and other subjectivities at different scales that produce particular agricultural practices and knowledge in a given place.

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Este artículo relata la historia de dos granos indígenas adaptados a la sequía, el millo (mijo) perla y el sorgo, que tradicionalmente han sido cultivados en la parte norte de Malawi. El sorgo esencialmente desapareció del paisaje, remplazado por el maíz. El millo perla persistió, pese a que su cultivo fue desestimulado por los gobiernos colonial y poscolonial, pero ahora está en declive. El estudio de caso sobre estas dos cosechas en el norte de aquel país utiliza datos generados en entrevistas a profundidad, grupos focales, documentos de archivo y observaciones de campo. Pienso que el sorgo casi desapareció debido a las campañas de promoción del maíz, combinadas con otros factores como la migración de varones y problemas de plagas. En lo que se refiere al millo perla, su producción se ha reducido por la competencia de la reactivación de cultivos de tabaco, debida en parte a políticas neoliberales, combinado todo esto con dinámicas de género que favorecen el cultivo del maíz. A partir de teorías de ecología política feminista, resiliencia y conocimiento indígena, arguyo que la agro-biodiversidad y el conocimiento indígena pertinente son factores situacionales en las prácticas de materialidad y género. Los esfuerzos para mejorar la resiliencia social en estas regiones vulnerables deben poner atención sobre los procesos y la interseccionalidad de género, clase y otras subjetividades, a diferentes escalas, que producen prácticas agrícolas particulares y conocimiento en un lugar dado.

Keywords: feminist political ecology, gender, indigenous knowledge, Malawi, resilience, ecología política feminista, conocimiento indígena, resiliencia

Topics: Agriculture, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2011

Land-Use Change, Nutrition, and Gender Roles in Indonesian Farm Households

Citation:

Chrisendo, Daniel. 2020. “Land-Use Change, Nutrition, and Gender Roles in Indonesian Farm Households.” Forest Policy and Economics 118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2020.102245.

Author: Daniel Chrisendo

Abstract:

Many tropical countries are experiencing massive land-use change with profound environmental and socioeconomic implications. In Indonesia, oil palm cultivation is rapidly expanding at the expense of more traditional crops – such as rubber and rice – and forest land. While environmental effects of the oil palm boom were analyzed in many studies, much less is known about social effects. Here, we analyze how oil palm cultivation by smallholder farmers is associated with nutrition through changing income and gender roles. The analysis uses panel data collected in Jambi Province, Sumatra, one of the hotspots of Indonesia's recent oil palm boom. Regression models show that oil palm cultivation is positively associated with nutrition and dietary quality. These associations are related to income gains that improve smallholders' access to nutritious foods from the market. Oil palm requires less labor than traditional crops, so a switch to oil palm could potentially free family labor for off-farm economic activities. We find that oil palm cultivation is positively associated with off-farm employment of male but not female household members, which may be related to unequal opportunities and social norms. Independent of oil palm cultivation, female off-farm employment is positively associated with nutrition, even after controlling for household income.

Keywords: oil palm, smallholder livelihoods, gender roles, female empowerment, nutrition, dietary quality

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2020

Securing Meaningful Life: Women’s Work and Land Rights in Rural Myanmar

Citation:

Faxon, Hilary. 2020. “Securing Meaningful Life: Women’s Work and Land Rights in Rural Myanmar.” Journal of Rural Studies 76: 76–84. 

Author: Hilary Faxon

Annotation:

Summary:
"It is in this context that I draw on data from a participatory photography project and a household survey to examine rural women's own accounts of daily life on the land, as well as evidence that they are excluded from new land reforms. I show how women's work sustains their families and communities and argue that the women's exclusion from land governance is especially problematic in an era in which their labor produces an increasing share of land's value. I build on scholarship of agrarian change to argue for a feminist approach to theorizing land rights that starts from social reproduction and asserts that the normative aim of land reform should be to secure meaningful life. Such an approach transcends a focus on statutory or customary rights or even broader notions of access, centering the ability to reproduce oneself and one's family through cultivation, care, and community engagement. I demonstrate that studying these processes benefits from epistemic flexibility and mixed methods inquiry capable of interrogating both gendered land tenure and everyday practices of land use in ethnically and agriculturally diverse communities, and suggest that realizing this project in practice will require changing the aims and assumptions of scholarly and policy debates on land reform."
 
"This article continues with a conceptual framing before introducing the study's context and methodology. I then turn to the everyday processes of making meaningful life, analyzing rural women's own photographic accounts to highlight the ways in which women's productive and care work sustains families and communities materially and socially. Next, I turn to the question of securing rights, assessing both household survey and photographic data to ask how changing systems of formal land rights are reshaping women's abilities to hold onto land. Finally, I discuss the implications of these findings for understanding land reform and smallholder persistence"(Faxon 2020, 77).

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2020

Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation

Citation:

Kang, Munsu, Benjamin Schwab, and Jisang Yu. 2020. “Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation”. World Development 125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104669.

Authors: Munsu Kang, Benjamin Schwab, Jisang Yu

Abstract:

Recent research has increased interest in the intersection of land tenure and gender roles in African agriculture. While formalization of land ownership has been found to have important gender impacts, time use and management remain critical to both the productivity of agricultural operations as well as the welfare of household members. Thus, it is important to understand how gender intersects with the relationship between the ownership and operation of plots. We use plot level data from nationally representative household surveys in Ethiopia and Malawi to characterize the structure (sole male; sole female; or joint) and domain (plot ownership; plot management; or output management) of control over land in each household. We then answer the following research questions: 1) are there any gender gaps in the degrees of the concordance among different domains of controls? and 2) how does the structure of ownership and managerial rights affect labor allocations on plots? We find that for both males and females, sole managerial rights are most likely to occur in plots owned exclusively by either gender. However, on jointly owned plots, instances of sole planting rights are almost exclusively male. We also find that while females supply more of their own labor to plots they control, the pattern of own-gender bias in labor allocation varies with each structure-domain combination. The heterogeneity suggests gender inequality analyses related to land rights are sensitive to the choice of domain of control. 

Keywords: land rights, gender equality, farm labor, LSMS, Ethiopia, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Ethiopia, Malawi

Year: 2020

Gains for Women from Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways out of Poverty – Insights from Recent Evidence

Citation:

Motala, Shirin, Stewart Ngandu, and Aubrey Mpungose. 2016. “Gains for Women from Farmland Redistribution in South Africa and Sustainable Pathways out of Poverty – Insights from Recent Evidence.” Agenda 30 (4): 85-98.  

Authors: Shirin Motala, Stewart Ngandu, Aubrey Mpungose

Abstract:

Equitable access to land and other natural resources aimed at significant rural poverty reduction are at the forefront of ambitious goals entrenched in post-1994 land and agrarian policies. Among other targets, redistributive land policies promise that women should make up at least one-third of all land reform beneficiaries. After two decades of farmland redistribution, disputes persist as to whether these outcomes have been achieved.

This focus piece systematically reviews evidence from a micro-level study based on blended information gathering strategies in three provinces that vary in terms of their agrarian structures and agro-ecology. The study uniquely overlays farmland transfer data with provisioning of agricultural development support information.

The analysis embeds the gender equity-land reform puzzle in the traditional poverty-land reform nexus. Its main question explores the extent to which land and agrarian reform interventions have produced an altered livelihood dynamic for land reform beneficiaries and more importantly to measure how this has translated into gendered sustainable livelihood impacts at household level. The study draws on the sustainable livelihoods framework as the lens for making sense of gender inequalities in the countryside and the extent to which there has been equitable redress in the interests of rural women.

The findings summarise trends in respect of access, ownership and control of land assets and the related livelihood outcomes by gender. Evidence suggests that shrinking numbers of black farmers gain ownership of land and enjoy access to Government-financed support for on-farm production and participation in agricultural value chains beyond the farm gate. This finding is more pronounced for women farmers. More importantly, it points to important design features of such interventions which can and do impact on promoting sustainable livelihoods, particularly for female headed households.

Keywords: land and agrarian reform, gender, gender inequality, sustainable livelihoods, pro-poor development, farmland transfer, land ownership

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Households, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2016

Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis

Citation:

Levien, Michael. 2017. “Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (6): 1111–34.  

Author: Michael Levien

Abstract:

This paper seeks to advance our understanding of the gendered implications of rural land dispossession. It does so through a comparative analysis of five cases of dispossession that were driven by different economic purposes in diverse agrarian contexts: the English enclosures; colonial and post-colonial rice irrigation projects in the Gambia; large dams in India; oil palm cultivation in Indonesia; and Special Economic Zones in India. The paper identifies some of the common gendered effects of land dispossession, showing in each case how this reproduced women’s lack of independent land rights or reversed them where they existed, intensified household reproductive work and occurred without meaningful consultation with—much less decision-making by—rural women. The paper also demonstrates ways in which the gendered consequences of land dispossession vary across forms of dispossession and agrarian milieu. The most important dimension of this variation is the effect of land loss on the gendered division of labour, which is often deleterious but varies qualitatively across the cases examined. In addition, the paper illustrates further variations within dispossessed populations as gender intersects with class, caste and other inequalities. The paper concludes that land dispossession consistently contributes to gender inequality, albeit in socially and historically specific ways. So while defensive struggles against land dispossession will not in themselves transform patriarchal social relations, they may be a pre-condition for more offensive struggles for gender equality.

Keywords: land grabs, gender, dispossession, displacement, enclosure

Topics: Agriculture, Caste, Class, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Households, Land Grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Gambia, India, Indonesia

Year: 2017

Women's Land Rights as a Pathway to Poverty Reduction: Framework and Review of Available Evidence

Citation:

Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss and Sophie Theis. 2019. “Women's Land Rights as a Pathway to Poverty Reduction: Framework and Review of Available Evidence.” Agricultural Systems 172: 72-82.

Authors: Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Cheryl Doss, Sophie Theis

Abstract:

This paper reviews the literature on women’s land rights (WLR) and poverty reduction. It uses the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP) conceptual framework to identify pathways by which WLR could reduce poverty and increase wellbeing of women and their households in rural areas. It uses a systematic review search methodology to identify papers for inclusion, but adopts a more synthetic approach to assess the level of agreement and the amount of evidence within this literature. The paper examines the evidence from qualitative as well as quantitative studies on each of these pathways. Owing to the scarcity of experimental studies, the review of empirical work is based mostly on observational studies. We find some evidence on these relationships, but many of the key pathways have not been empirically analyzed. The evidence is strong for relationships between WLR and bargaining power and decision-making on consumption, human capital investment, and intergenerational transfers. There is a high level of agreement, but weaker evidence on the relationship between WLR and natural resource management, government services and institutions, empowerment and domestic violence, resilience and HIV risk, and consumption and food security. There is less agreement and insufficient evidence on the associations between WLR and other livelihoods, and a higher level of agreement, but still limited evidence on associations between WLR and credit, technology adoption, and agricultural productivity. Notably, we find no papers that directly investigate the link between WLR and poverty. Many gaps in the evidence arise from a failure to account for the complexity of land rights regimes, the measurement of land rights at the household level, the lack of attention paid to gender roles, and the lack of studies from countries outside Africa. Many studies are limited by small sample sizes, the lack of credible counterfactuals, lack of attention to endogeneity and selection bias, and possible response bias on questions of domestic violence and empowerment. There are very few rigorous evaluations of reforms that strengthened WLR. The paper concludes that gaps in the evidence should not deter the careful design and implementation of programs and policies to strengthen WLR, given the ongoing land tenure reforms in many countries. Different modalities and mechanisms for strengthening WLR could be tested, with appropriate counterfactuals. Program designers and evaluators can strategically identify pathways and outcomes where evidence gaps exist, and deliberately design studies to close those gaps.

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2019

Women in Agriculture: Four Myths

Citation:

Doss, Cheryl, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, and Sophie Theis. 2018. “Women in Agriculture: Four Myths.” Global Food Security 16: 69–74.

Authors: Cheryl Doss, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Sophie Theis

Abstract:

Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG) on gender equality and women’s rights and at least 11 of the 17 SDGs require indicators related to gender dynamics. Despite the need for reliable indicators, stylized facts on women, agriculture, and the environment persist. This paper analyzes four gender myths: 1) 70% of the world’s poor are women; 2) Women produce 60 to 80% of the world’s food; 3) Women own 1% of the world’s land; and 4) Women are better stewards of the environment. After reviewing the conceptual and empirical literature, the paper presents the kernel of truth underlying each myth, questions its underlying assumptions and implications, and examines how it hinders us from developing effective food security policies.

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Year: 2018

The Fragility of Empowerment: Changing Gender Relations in a Zimbabwean Resettlement Area

Citation:

Addison, Lincoln. 2019. “The Fragility of Empowerment: Changing Gender Relations in a Zimbabwean Resettlement Area.” Review of African Political Economy 46 (159): 101–16.

Author: Lincoln Addison

Abstract:

This article examines the fragility of women's empowerment in Sovelele, a resettlement area established through Zimbabwe's Fast Track Land Reform programme. Compared to their lives before resettlement, married women have larger plots allocated to them by husbands, exercise a higher degree of control over surplus grain and experience more joint use of resources. Single women can more easily buy and hold land in their own right. Yet, these gains are fragile because they arise out of largely unintended and changing circumstances, including the spatial dynamics of resettlement, permit-based land tenure, limited market integration and labour shortage. While attention to the conditions underlying empowerment reveals its fragility, it is not equally fragile for all women. Some women's gains may prove more resilient than others because they rest upon a deeper renegotiation of gender relations.

Keywords: land reform, gender, Climate smart Agriculture(CSA), Zimbabwe, Agricultural child labour

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2019

Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya

Citation:

Po, June Y. T., and Gordon M. Hickey. 2018. “Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya.” Land Use Policy 76: 252–63.

Authors: June Y. T. Po, Gordon M. Hickey

Abstract:

Land is a critical resource in smallholder farming systems, access to which is guided by complex interpretations of local norms, customary values, and statutory laws. This study explores how smallholder women access land resources under local institutions in semi-arid Kenya following a major constitutional reform on land succession passed in 2010. We draw on social relations approach, access theory, and social-ecological resilience thinking to examine Kamba women’s access to land resources using qualitative data collected through in-depth key informant interviews (n = 77), twelve focus group discussions (n = 134), and eight community meetings (n = 363). Results show that although some women were aware of their rights to inherit and own land, Kamba women were generally reluctant to claim land resources through local customary institutions and/or land registration processes. This stemmed from a desire to maintain gender dynamics within the household and to maintain their current relational access to land and other livelihood resources. Women, as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, divorcée and widows, were found to face vastly different pressures in land resource access. They reported using relational access mechanisms to cope with, and adapt to, land resource constraints. When combined with rights-based mechanisms of access, women could better secure future generations’ land resource access, especially in cases of skipped-generational households.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2018

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