SUPPORT PROGRAM (CRSP)
WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE
October 1, 1984
200 Center for International Programs
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1035 USA
Telephone: (517) 355-4693
Telex: 810 251 0737 MSU INT PRO ELSG
Funded through USAID/BIFAD Grant NO. AID/DSAN-XII-G-0261
/.". '/ / -
WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE
October 1, 1984
A number of individuals and organizations at Michigan State University
were helpful in identifying and making available to us materials on Botswana.
These include Ms. Mary Pigozzi and the Non-Formal Education Center; Mrs. Onuma
Ezera and Mr. Learthen Dorsey of the Sahel Documentation Center; the
librarians and assistance personnel in the Agricultural Economics Reading Room
and the Main Library; and the helpful and friendly individuals of the
Educational Resource Center of the African Studies Center at Michigan State.
Bean/Cowpea CRSP Women in Agriculture Series . .
Introduction to the Botswana Project and Resource Guide
I. Survey of the Literature on Small Farm Agriculture .
Migration and Agricultural Develepment .
Agricultural Production Systems . .
Agro-Ecological Zones . . .
Demographic and Ethnic Distribution .
Agricultural Production Data . .
Agro-Ecological Adaptations .
Gender-Specific Farming Activities .
Overview of Women in Botswana . .
The Division of Labor . . .
Women and Bean/Cowpea Production .
Women's Other Responsibilities . .
Summary and Conclusions . . .
II. Project-Specific Implications . .
Specific Project Objectives . .
Timely Planting . . .
Reduced Tillage . .. .
Variety Screening Program . .
New Cultural Practices . .
New Harvesting Technique . .
Alectra vogelii Resistance . .
. . . .
. . . . .
. . .
. . .
Demonstration Plots on Farmers Fields . . . .
. . . .
. . 0 . .
. . .
. . . .
Self-Evaluation Meetings . . . .
Additional Considerations . . . .
Women's Legal Status and Land . . .
Compatibility of Beer Brewing and Cowpea Production
The Division of Labor . .
Cooperatives and Marketing .
Drought and Food Aid . .
Use of Manure and Fertilizer .
Brigades . . .
Summary and Conclusions . .
III. The Role of Women's Organizations in
National Organizations . .
International Organizations .
Higher Education . . .
IV.- Selected and Annotated Bibliography
Appendix A . . .. .
Appendix B . . . .
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. . . . . .
Botswanan Development .......
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. o e o o. . .
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BEAN/COWPEA CRSP WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE SERIES
The Bean/Cowpea CRSP is a program of coordinated projects in Africa and
Latin America that focuses on removing constraints to the production and utili-
zation of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata). Funded
by a Title XII grant from USAID/BIFAD, the goal of the program is to support
research and training which will ultimately result in a reduction of hunger and
malnutrition in developing countries.
In many of these areas, beans and cowpeas are staple foods that provide the
.major source of protein and an important source of B vitamins in family diets.
Usually produced on small farms for household consumption and sale, these basic
food crops have not benefited from the kinds of research and extension efforts
accorded to crops grown for export purposes. Consequently, yields tend to be
low due to high insect and disease infestation, depleted soils and drought.
Oftentimes much of the meager harvest is lost during storage.
In many parts of the world the primary responsibility for the production
of beans, cowpeas and other crops grown for family consumption rests with women
and children. While women's roles in agriculture vary by country and region,
women generally play a major part in seed selection, planting, weeding, har-
vesting, storing, processing and preparing of food crops. These factors com-
bine to pose a special challenge to development efforts, suggesting both a need
to direct attention to the constraints faced by small farmers and at the same
time to recognize that in many contexts a majority of these farmers are likely
to be women.
A total of eighteen projects, eight in Africa and ten in Latin America, are
included in the Bean/Cowpea CRSP. All involve collaborative research efforts
between investigators located at Host Country (HC) institutions and investi-
gators at US universities and institutes. A wide range of research interests
is reflected in the program; all address the small farm context and many focus
on agricultural and food preparation tasks usually carried out by women.
Included in the program are projects designed to:
1. Increase bean and cowpea yields through developing disease and insect
resistant, drought tolerant or high nitrogen fixing varieties which
incorporate locally desirable traits (color, texture, taste and cooking
2. Faciliate the processing of beans and cowpeas through the development of
technologies that are suitable for use at the household and village level.
3. Investigate and where possible remove the anti-nutritional factors and
increase the protein content and digestibility of beans and cowpeas.
4. Address storage losses and preparation constraints such as the hard-to-cook
phenomena in beans.
In addition to the research objectives each project has a training
component tailored to HC bean and/or cowpea research needs. This includes
opportunities to participate in formal degree programs and in short-term
training courses. Interactions among researchers from the various projects in
the CRSP have resulted in an integrated approach which promises to yield
realistic and viable solutions to the problems confronting small farmers.
Since its inception, the Bean/Cowpea CRSP has incorporated a strong Women-
in-Development (WID) focus and has included a WID Specialist on its Management
Office staff. While specific objectives vary by project, certain WID concerns
are of program-wide significance. These include:
1. Assuring that gender issues are taken into account in information
gathering. This requires an awareness of the ways in which this variable
influences resource allocation, decision-making processes and the division
of labor within farming households. Such a focus is important in Latin
American contexts where women's participation in agriculture has often gone
unrecorded and is especially significant in many African areas where women
have access to their own fields and are responsible for providing for their
family's sustenance. In both situations data gathering must encompass male
and female work roles if workable solutions to the problems confronting
small farmers are to be devised.
2. Ascertaining that agricultural innovations (be they improved seed varieties,
new techniques or technologies) are appropriate to the small farm context
and that these innovations do not result in the progressive marginalization
of women in the agricultural sector or increase their already heavy work
3. Encouraging the participation of women in the projects as researchers,
technicians and students. Over the long run such efforts are likely to
result in the diminution of male biases in research and hence to lead to
more equitable and successful development efforts.
Overall, the perspective is one which situates small producers within the
wider socio-cultural and economic contexts and draws attention to how a
consideration of gender differences within households and society will result
in achievement of project objectives and ultimately in improved nutrition and
As part of this effort a series of Resource Guides is being prepared to
provide Bean/Cowpea CRSP Principal Investigators (PIs) with an overview of
women's roles in agricultural production, processing and marketing in their
Host Countries. These handbooks are designed primarily for researchers in
agricultural and food or nutrition-related disciplines who may be unfamiliar
with the social science literature on the area where their projects are located.
Relying on secondary source materials, the objectives of the guides are,
first, to present a description of the local farming systems with emphasis on
women's work roles. The amount and quality of information on women in agri-
culture is highly variable. A large number of studies exist for some develop-
ing countries while in others few investigations have been conducted. Second,
a discussion of the relevance of the available information to the specific
project objectives is provided. Where studies are not available, suggestions
are made as to what kinds of data on women's roles would be most appropriate.
In all cases, PIs are urged to gather information on women's roles in farming
through consultations with HC researchers and farmers, first-hand observations
and interviewing. Where there are plans to conduct on-farm trials, these may
provide an opportunity to clarify which members of the household are respon-
sible for the various production tasks. A third objective is to identify,
where possible, women's organizations in the HCs and researchers in both the
HC and the US who can serve as sources of information and as consultants.
Finally, an annotated bibliography of the literature on women's roles in
agricultural production, food processing and preparation in the HC is included.
The first Resource Guide in this series was prepared on Cameroon where the
University of Georgia and the Institute of Agronomic Research, Government of
Cameroon have a Bean/Cowpea CRSP project entitled "Pest Management Strategies
for Optimizing Cowpea Yields in Cameroon." The second Resource Guide,
presented here, is on Botswana. It was prepared by Ms. Nancy Horn and Ms.
Brenda Nkambule for the Bean/Cowpea project "Development of Integrated Cowpea
Production Systems in Semi-Arid Botswana" which is under the direction of
Colorado State University and the Ministry of Agriculture, Botswana.
For further information on the Bean/Cowpea CRSP and its Women in
Development component, contact:
Women in Development Specialist
Bean/Cowpea CRSP Management Office
200 Center for International Programs
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1035
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOTSWANA PROJECT AND RESOURCE GUIDE
The second in the series of Resource Guides has been prepared on Botswana
where Colorado State University and the Department of Agriculture of the
Government of Botswana are collaborating on a project entitled "Development of
Integrated Cowpea Production Systems in Semi-Arid Botswana." The principal
goal of this project is "to provide Botswana farmers with an acceptable package
of recommended practices for cowpea growing and harvesting including improved
varieties and implements as required to realize higher yields and other
benefits of the research to be conducted under the proposed scheme."
Detailed project objectives include:
1. Devise a set of practices whereby planting of cowpeas can begin immediately
at the start of the rainy season to take advantage of natural mineraliza-
tion of soil nitrogen.
2. Evaluate the merits of reduced tillage with simple tools primarily in
marginal territory having near-desert conditions.
3. Initiate a continuing variety screening program during the term of the
contract period with selection criteria based on acceptable appearance,
roughness of seed coat and flavor.
4. Arrive at innovative, sound cultural practices for cowpea production
adjusted for certain sets of environmental conditions, limitations of
investment capability, shortage of labor and improved returns on labor
5. Devise a harvesting technique whereby whole plants are collected, dried
and stacked prior to threshing at a central site so avoiding repeated
pickings in the field.
6. Incorporate resistance to Alectra vogelii into the Blackeye cowpea cultivar
so that cowpea growth is facilitated.
7. Test the acceptability of research findings for private farmers on
8. Receive suggestions and opinions concerning program activities and
findings from government agronomists to maintain high program efficiency
by holding self-evaluation meetings.
9. Address the needs of female farmers taking into account the low
availability of capital they have for investment in agricultural
implements and machinery and considering that greater input of labor in
any aspect of agricultural production is not feasible.
In summary, the project has a number of objectives which, according to the
proposal, recognize the particular issues which constrain female farmers in
Bearing this point in mind, the following resource guide and annotated
bibliography should provide specific information to the project (to the extent
relevant materials are available) in order that the Principal Investigators
and their staff might be appraised of the social science research that has
already been conducted in project-related areas.
This resource guide is organized in the following manner: Part I, the
literature survey, is divided into three sections. The first presents a brief
historical overview of migration as the issue which has received the most
attention in the literature on agricultural development. The second describes
various factors related to agricultural production systems practiced in
Botswana. The third focuses specifically on the position of women in Botswana
and their role in agriculture. Part II considers this literature as it
addresses project goals and objectives. This section also indicates areas of
research which have received little attention and which might be beneficial to
explore. Part III sets forth a number of women's organizations and educational
institutions in Botswana which can be contacted by the Principal Investigator
and his staff in gathering additional information. The guide concludes with a
selected annotated bibliography as it applies to agricultural production in
general and women in particular in Botswana.
I. SURVEY OF THE LITERATURE ON SMALL FARM AGRICULTURE
Migration'and Agricultural Development
Labor migration is the dominant theme of the literature on Botswana.
Although there are two foci--rural-urban migration and migration to the mines
in South Africa--the conclusions drawn by most authors discussing either of
these sub themes are the same, i.e., that the withdrawal of various members of
the household from the rural areas has had a number of deleterious effects on
Prior to any detailed discussion of these effects, it must be noted that
cropping activities do not constitute a major source of income in Botswana.
Only 5% (4.45 million hectares) of Botswana receives adequate rainfall and is
suitable for crop cultivation, but only 10% of this area is actually cultivated
since there is a high evapo-transpiration rate--a cause of crop failure. The
ecology and climate of the country favor ranching and herding, with cattle
outnumbering people by three to one in 1983. Income from livestock provides
over 80% of all earnings in the agricultural sector. The uneven distribution
of cattle ownership and the privatization of grazing land has resulted in out
migration from rural areas in search of employment either in the cities of
Botswana or in the mines in South Africa. Remittances from mine laborers
(estimated at 50,000) add considerably to the income of many families in
Historical analysis within the context of the political economy of Southern
Africa indicates that Botswana has functioned as a labor reserve for South
African mines and cities since early in the 19th century. More recent litera-
ture indicates a reversal of this trend as South Africa no longer employs the
number of expatriate Africans it once did. The return of migrant laborers to
Botswana has resulted in more competition for jobs and for pastureland, a
demand for more equalized income distribution and the need to develop cropping
Alverson (1979) presents an overview of how migration has effected rural
modes of production and posits that the opportunity cost of expanding agri-
cultural production in light of the overall political economy of Botswana is
too high vis-a-vis the lower costs involved in migrating elsewhere to work for
a wage. He notes:
1. The proportion of the total population involved in arable production is
declining, mainly due to labor migration.
2. Towns and large villages are experiencing an increase in population, not
necessarily due to natural increase but due to the influx from the more
3. Pressures on land are increasing due to demands for more grazing and arable
land, perhaps brought about by the expansion of capitalist production of
cattle and crops.
4. Variation in yields and areas cultivated is attributable to the reduction
of on-farm labor and the restructuring of the social relations of
5. Within households there are changes in the rights and privileges of access
to the means of production.
6. The contribution of agricultural production to total household income shows
a convex curvilinear relationship.
7. The ability of the land to produce is declining due to changes in herding
and cropping practices.
Other authors have outlined additional effects of migration: Behnke and
Kerven (1983) found that less than one-quarter of all farm dwelling units are
solely dependent upon agriculture and that two-thirds of these units obtain
more than 40 percent of their income from off-farm labor. Bell (1980) contends
that individual household members perceive obtaining a greater advantage by
migrating than by staying on the farm and trying to increase production
similarr to Alverson's argument noted above). Brown (1980) posits that
Botswana was made into a labor reserve for South Africa during the colonial
period and that wages paid to migrants were never sufficient for them to become
fully proletarianized. Thus, a dual dependence on mine wages and rural produc-
tion led to the semi-proletarianization of the peasantry. This continues to
characterize the Botswana economy and agricultural production today.
Murray (1980) states that due to labor migration the conjugal unit within
the household is disintegrating although ties with agnatic kinsmen in the rural
areas are being maintained. This breakdown has severe consequences for the
ability of the remaining household members to maintain or expand levels of
agricultural production. He states, however, that migrants oscillate between
town/mine and the rural areas and by so doing maintain social ties and ensure
rights to land which may provide a form of social security in times of
unemployment or retirement.
Men are not the only ones to migrate, however. Several authors comment on
why women migrate, especially to Gaborone, and what happens to them when they
get there. Bryant (1977) states that women form the majority of rural-urban
migrants in Botswana and leave the rural areas for economic reasons. Movement
by women may have been precipitated by the reduction in on-farm labor brought
about by male migration. Cliffe and Moorsom (1979) argue that women who remain
on the farm after their husbands/fathers/brothers migrate to the mines in South
Africa are left with the dual burden of caring for the home and the family, as
well as carrying out all agricultural tasks including the management of herds.
Unable to adequately meet their needs in agricultural production, women migrate
especially to Gaborone, believing they can fare better in selling their labor.
Cooper (1979) found that women who migrate to the city are discriminated
against in terms of the wages they receive and the type of work they do. As a
result, many women participate in the "informal" economy and earn income
through activities such as brewing and selling beer.
Although women migrate to towns for similar reasons as men, i.e.,
perceptions of economic gain, the structure of the rural economy enhances the
probability of female migration. Izzard (1979) states that educating a
daughter predetermines her movement to town since outside of farm labor there
are few, if any, opportunities to earn income in the rural areas. Izzard also
found that income from crops or farm labor is not sufficient to support and
educate children. This is especially true in the case of unmarried mothers.
Where no remittances are received from male migrants, the probability is high
that unmarried mothers will migrate, leaving their children in the rural areas
with grandparents or other relatives. Also, the presence of a relative or
close friend in the urban areas will make the choice to migrate easier for a
woman since she will already have established a minimal network of relation-
ships from which to draw support and assistance.
Central to the approach these authors have taken in analyzing agricultural
production is the issue of labor shortage. How women, in particular, have
coped with this shortage is not fully explored. There are some studies which
provide insight into the strategies women employ to activate assistance net-
works, but researchers have not asked the specific question--What strategies
do female farmers employ to overcome their labor shortages? Furthermore,
little has been reported on how remittances from urban/mine migrants are used
to enhance production (except to hire labor or draught power). Research
designed to elicit information on these issues would serve to enhance our
understanding of the impact of migration on agriculture.
What emerges from this literature is that the removal of male labor from
agricultural activities has led to the social reorganization of production.
Farm size has been reduced due to the inability of women to gain access to
draught power and labor in a timely manner. Since more income can be earned in
activities other than agriculture, both the number and size of farms has been
reduced. Availability of inputs to these small-scale farms is determined by
the income a production unit can generate, either from rural farm labor or from
remittances. Monetization of the rural economy has relegated single female
heads of household to low economic positions since many women do not receive
remittances nor do they have the full contingent of social resources a married
woman has in marshalling the labor of kinsmen and neighbors at peak agricul-
tural production periods.
With Botswana acting for the past 100 years as a labor reserve for the
mines in South Africa, little attention has been paid to the development of
agriculture. This trend will change as the result of the reduction in foreign
labor recruitment by South Africa. The implications of mine laborers returning
to Botswana to seek employment, buy land or become cattle ranchers are far-
reaching and will strongly effect the further reorganization of agricultural
With this brief overview of the relation of migration to agricultural
production in mind, the following comments on women in agriculture in Botswana
Agricultural Production Systems
Essentially, there are three agro-ecological zones in Botswana: 1) the
eastern strip extending from Kasane in northern Chobe District, to south of
Labatse in Southern District, where cultivation is suitable; 2) the Okavango
Delta in Ngamiland District where a 16,000 sq. km. marsh covers much of the
area and where the possibility for irrigating 600,000 ha. exists; and 3) the
Kalahari Desert, which dominates southern and western Botswana and is used
primarily by pastoral and semi-nomadic hunting-gathering peoples.
Rainfall patterns correspond to these agro-ecological zones (see Figure 1).
In the eastern strip, rains usually begin by the end of September and continue
until April or May, with peak periods occurring in early November, late December
to January and late February through March. Dry spells occur between these
peaks and have a restraining effect on agriculture. Rainfall averages 500 mm
annually with a 30% variability. The northern part of the strip receives about
650 mm and the southwest receives about 200 mm (information on climate is taken
from Wilson  and from Africa South of the Sahara ). The eastern
strip has the highest population density. This is attributable in part to the
quality of the soil, which responds fairly well to application of fertilizer
and allows for a high standard of crop husbandry.
The Okavango area has an average annual rainfall of 460 mm with peaks in
December, January, February and March. The Okavango--Chobe swamps represent
the only perennial surface water of any extent in Botswana. The water of Ngami
Lake (about 18,000 million cubic meters) flows largely from Angola.
The remainder of Botswana, including the Kalahari desert zone, constitutes
the southwest arid zone. Rainfall in this region is generally less than 350 mm
annually (see Africa South of the Sahara ).
The recent drought in Botswana follows a recurrent wet/dry cycle (see
Figure 2) which has been described on by Wilson (1978: 60):
Rainfall appears to be following a recurrent cycle with wetter
and drier periods. Rainfall patterns appear in three cycles
running simultaneously: the first is a short cycle extending
over a period of about six to ten years. During this time
there are a series of consecutive heavy (above average) rain-
fall years, followed by two or three years with a below
average rainfall. From 1975 onwards there were four years of
good rainfall, but the rainy season of 1978-79 was below
average and it is suspected that this trend will continue for
several seasons before there is an improvement.
This short cycle is suspected to be part of a much longer
cycle lasting over hundreds of years, during which average
rainfall and temperature may vary slightly upwards or down-
wards. This again is probably involved in the third cycle
which extends over thousands of years. Research has shown
that the Kalahari has been a semi-arid zone for millions of
years and that during this time there have been some wet
periods sufficient to cut or cause the dried rivers to run
and filling many pans with water to a considerable depth.
SA'.E APPHOX I 5,500CCO
50 0 50 100 iSO 200 250 300 MILES
0 iO0 200 300 400 K(LCLMETRES
I -- _
Figure 1. MEAN
! 50o. 600
S 530- 550
[77 450- 500
E 300- 350
iED Less Than 250
Taken from Madalon T. Hinchey (ed.). Proceedings
on the Symposium on Drought in Botswana, National
Museum, Gaborone, Botswana, June 5-8, 1978.
Gaborone: The Botswana Society, 1979.
( An il jr 4i
1909/10 19/20 2930 39/40 49150 59M0 69/70 79/80
Figure 2. Annual Rainfall Patterns of Gaborone
Taken from B. H. Wilson. "A Mini Guide to the
Water Resources of Botswana" in Hinchey, Madalon
(ed.). Proceedings on the Symposium on Drought
in Botswana. National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana
June 5-8, 1978. Gaborone: The Botswana Society, 1979.
Wilson states that temperatures in Botswana are the highest and most
uniform during the summer months of December and January with mean daily
maximum temperatures in the eastern strip at 310C (81.80F). In the winter
months air frost occasionally occurs, especially in the south and in the
Limpopo valley. Ground frosts are frequent in the southeast after mid-May.
According to the 1973-78 National Development Plan, about 84% of the land
surface is covered with Kgalagadi sand, which supports a low, savannah-type
vegetation (see Figure 3). The sand is of aeolian origin and can be up to 120
meters or more in depth. Rainfall is normally held within the top few meters
and is largely lost through evaporation and transpiration. It is believed that
where the depth of the sand exceeds 10 meters, rainfall rarely penetrates below
the root zone of the plant cover and, therefore, little or no recharge of
ground water aquifers takes place. Water held in the upper sand layers is
adequate to support plant life. Most of the plants are able to stand long
periods of drought. It is uncertain at this time what the effect of the most
recent drought is on vegetation and crop production.
$ Shrub Savanna
STree Savanna with Mopene
Close Tree Savanna on Rocky Hills
i Dry Deciduous Fores
Figure 3. Vegetation Zones
Botswana. Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
National Development Plan 1973-78, Part I. Gaborone:
Government Printer, 1973.
Demographic and Ethnic Distribution
According to the 1981 census, 80% of Botswana's population (936,600) live
in the eastern strip of the country where there are reasonably fertile soils.
Seven of the eight Batswana tribal groupings live in this zone. Rainfall is
sufficient to produce good pasturage and to permit arable agriculture.
Population distribution according to district is as follows:
Population by Census District
(1981 Census, Preliminary Results)
Barolong 15,600 Kweneng 115,600
Central 321,900 Lobatse 19,000
Chobe 8,100 Ngamiland 68,200
Francistown 31,100 Ngwaketse 104,000
Gaborone 59,700 North-East 36,700
Ghanzi 18,700 Orapa 5,200
Jwaneng 5,400 Selebi-Phikwe 30,200
Kgalagadi 24,000 South-East 30,900
Africa South of the Sahara, 13th ed. 1983-84.
London: Europa Publishers, 1984: 226.
Information on characteristics of the people living in some of these districts
can be found in the following: for Kweneng see Alverson 1979, Odell 1977 and
Solway 1979; for Kgatleng see Arntzen 1983, Brown 1980; and for Okavongo see
Belien 1978, Sutherland 1980.
Although there are difficulties in reporting births and deaths, Family
Health Care (1978) stated that the population growth rate is 2.6%, that there
is a low mortality rate (17.5 per 1,000 in 1975-80) and that infant mortality
is also low at 97/1000 births. Fertility was reported at 6.5 births per woman
and women of child-bearing age comprise 20% of the population. Customarily
women do not conceive until their last child has been weaned at about 18
The Tswana (Batswana), various divisions of which are discussed by a
number of authors in the Resource Guide, constitute the largest ethnic group
in the country comprising over 50% of the population. They live primarily in
the eastern strip in Chobe, Central, Northeast, Kgatleng, Kweneng and Southern
Districts. Originally a primarily pastoral society, the Tswana have become
mixed farmers and cattle ranchers. Chiefs were traditional heads of local-
level political organization and had control over delineated geographic areas
which contained several villages. The chief's ward was located in the center
of the village with other families and kinsmen of lesser rank occupying
surrounding wards. Village population could be as high as 30,000. With the
changes brought about by migration, however, both the size and spatial
organization of Tswana villages have been altered.
The chief in Tswana society has been described as the symbol of tribal
unity who is ruler, judge, maker and guardian of the law, repository of wealth,
dispenser of gifts, leader in war, priest and magician of the people. Much of
this political organization became attenuated during the protectorate period
although there are some areas where chiefs have maintained their positions.
This is especially the case where they have been able to gain an economic
advantage and have expanded their cattle herds.
In conducting agricultural research, the political organization of the
community is worthy of investigation. In certain instances, research might be
enhanced by enlisting the assistance of such traditional political leaders.
For example, members of a local chief's ward might be more willing to cooperate
if it is known that the chief is willing to participate.
The Kalanga, discussed by Werbner (1975), are the second largest ethnic
group in the country (approximately 80,000). They are primarily agricul-
turalists and live around Francistown stretching north-westwards to beyond the
Nata River and north-eastwards well into Zimbabwe. They were formerly part of
the larger Bamangwato people, a conglomerate of ethnic groups welded together
over decades, whose headquarters are at Serowe. Unlike the Kalanga, other
Bamangwato groups are primarily cattle herders, and they own over 47% of the
national herd. Ownership of cattle within this group is not evenly distributed
with 7% of this population owning 51% of the tribe's cattle and 35% owning none
The Herero, discussed by Vivelo (1974, 1977), live mainly in the Ngami
Lake area, throughout Ghanzi District and in Francistown. They are tradition-
ally pastoralists, although this lifestyle is changing as a result of mixing
with other populations. Originally, the Herero came from Namibia and Angola.
Various San (a generic term referring to a linguistic classification)
groups inhabiETsections of the Kalahari and are traditionally hunting-gathering
populations. Some of the San divisions are called the Sarwa (Basarwa) who live
in Ghanzi, the Xubisa who live in the Hanahai Valley, the Plasiba and the
Kgalagadi who live mainly in the higher veld west of Molepolole to the Namibia
border and throughout Ghanzi District. Specific population statistics for the
Herero and the San are not available.
Agricultural Production Data
The Bean/Cowpea project in Botswana seeks to enhance the production of
cowpeas in a number of ways. While it would be useful to know current produc-
tion statistics to discern the value farmers place on cowpea production, such
data is not highly reliable. For instance, publications by the Botswana
Division of Planning and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (1971) and Purcell
and Webster (1977) present a number of production tables which disaggregate
"beans" and "peas." Actually all "peas" listed are varieties of cowpeas, while
"beans" listed are also cowpeas with the exception of mung (Phaseolus-aurlous)
and tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius). Additionally, the category "beans"
should exclude jugobeans because they are not beans but pulses. Tables which
present aggregated data for beans, peas and pulses must also be regarded with
caution due to the way in which researchers have miscategorized these plants.
The 1979 Livestock and Crop Survey, written by the Botswana Ministry of
Agriculture Statistics Unit (1979), is a continuation of a series of annual
surveys conducted since 1967 covering the traditional tribal farms in the
Agricultural Administrative Regions and all freehold and commercial farms in
the country. Certain cautions concerning the use of the data are mentioned in
the publication. The authors note that the standard error for district esti-
mates of crop production is very high, that district totals might be misre-
ported due to farmers living in one district and actually farming in another,
and that some 2,000 farms were not taken into account since they were reclassi-
fied according to a point system instituted during the year and no longer
considered as farms because they were too marginal. Tables (appearing in
Appendix A) present the following information: a summary of traditional,
freehold and total crop estimates according to crop category; a description of
cattle farms, total number of cattle and average size herd by size of cattle
holding; information on crop farms, area planted to specific crops by districts
and regions, and area harvested to specific crops by districts and regions;
planting and harvesting statistics for beans and pulses; and a diagrammatic
presentation of bean and pulse production by region.
The Farm Management Survey Results written by Fox in 1981 for the Ministry
of Agriculture, the last available in the series of surveys, documents trends
and variations in weather and how it effects both crop and livestock produc-
tion. Data were collected at seven stations (indicated on the map which
precedes the tabular presentation of the data in Appendix B) and were strati-
fied by station, by female farmers with and without adequate draught power,
and by male farmers with and without adequate draught power. A finding partic-
ularly relevant to this Resource Guide was that female farmers with inadequate
draught power had higher crop incomes than male farmers and that male farmers
with adequate draught power had incomes from crops about double that of female
farmers with adequate draught power. The latter result is attributable to the
fact that 31% of female farmers used tractor power as compared to 12% of male
farmers, thus increasing female farmers' variable costs to 56% greater than
that of male farmers. Tabular information presented in the study falls into
several categories (Appendix B): area, production and yield of selected crops;
average prices for those crops; average area planted to specific crops and
yields; rainfall recorded at data collection stations; production per hectare
and average planting date of selected crops; variations in yield for certain
crops in accordance with the use of animal or tractor power; labor utilization
in accordance with the use of animal or tractor power; average farm prices of
selected crops and a crop enterprise budget for farms which produce beans.
Cattle and Ranching--The primary income-generating activity for the
agricultural sector is cattle herding. Over 80% of income in the agricultural
sector comes from livestock. In 1983, the national herd was estimated to be 3
million head. In 1981, it was estimated that there were 1 million goats and
sheep in addition to cattle (Africa South of the Sahara ).
Tswana-speaking people are traditionally herders who have incorporated
various cropping practices as a result of contact with more sedentary popula-
tions. Families value having cattle for several reasons. Bailey (1982)
indicates that they are used as draught power in arable agriculture, that they
are sold to meet immediate cash needs when migrants are out of work or when
crop yields are insufficient to cover basic household costs, that they consti-
tute part of the family diet (both meat and dairy products) and that they are
a storehouse for the accumulation of wealth. Campbell, writing in 1971, found
that cattle were not killed for daily food but were killed as part of a feast
cycle designed to commemorate a particular event or to emphasize important
relationships. Sharing the meat from a slaughtered cow in a feast cycle is a
means of illustrating a person's position in society.
Sharing cattle is also an important means of cementing relationships. The
practice of mafisa, or lending cattle to others to use for draught power, milk
and to build herds (a person who receives mafisa cattle can keep offspring),
is discussed by several authors. Kooijman (1980) indicates that the practice
helps to de-emphasize wealth in that several head are lent out and thus do not
"visibly" belong to a single owner. Witchcraft accusations against
people who had accumulated too much wealth in the form of cattle were common in
Bokaa where Kooijman conducted her study. In the accumulation of cattle as
economic goods (not necessarily to be sold to raise standards of living),
owners are more interested in the quantity than in the quality of their herds.
Kooijman reports that their prestige value is very high in traditional terms.
The Rural Income Distribution Survey (1976) of the Government of Botswana
pointed out, however, that owners of cattle are taxed on a per head basis.
Therefore, there is a monetary aspect to lending cattle out to neighbors,
friends and kinsmen: the burden of taxation falls on the person in whose kraal
the cattle are located rather than on the actual owner. Gross underreporting
of the number of cattle owned is thus a problem for government tax collectors.
Because rainfall is not reliable in most parts of Botswana and pastureland
is generally several kilometers distant from the homestead, when local watering
holes or streams dry up, cattle are brought to cattle posts for grazing. Hjort
(1978) states that traditionally cattle were brought to the posts when the
chief of the local Tswana group indicated. Men and boys would depart for the
cattle posts, while women and girls would go to the fields for the duration of
the crop-growing season (November through June). Since political structures
have been severely altered as a result of colonialism, migration and the
impingement of capitalism, chiefs no longer have the same powers and more
people decide independently when to depart from the villages to undertake
their respective tasks. Kooijman (1980) notes that nowadays more people in
Bokaa stay on their fields throughout the year and this has led to village
Much attention is paid to the use of cattle in the payment of bridewealth.
Schapera (1953, 1978) found that even though missionaries had banned the prac-
tice of bridewealth prior to his surveys undertaken between 1932 and 1940,
Tswana Christians still practiced exchanging cattle for wives. Kuper (1982)
notes that there are four types of cattle-wife exchanges all of which involve
political hierarchy, headship of domestic groups and linkages with the
ancestors. Building herds for future payment of bridewealth also seems
important. Kooijman (1980) found that after children are born a cow is
assigned to each one, including females, and parents see to it that these
cattle are properly cared for until the children are grown.
While keeping cattle has been practiced traditionally by most ethnic
groups in Botswana, the passage of various laws and the favored status of
certain people within a given community has led to their uneven distribution.
Bailey (1982) found that since the last major drought in 1965/66 (his
dissertation was written prior to the onset of the droughts of the 1980s), the
national herd has doubled. He reported, however, that within Eastern Botswana
only half of the rural households have cattle. Colclough (1980). found that at
least 45% of all households do not have cattle and another 40% have less than
fifty. This means that 15% of cattle owners own approximately three-quarters
of the national herd.
Peters (1983) provides particular insight into how the maldistribution of
cattle ownership has occurred in one area. In the 1920s, groups of cattle
owners in Kgatleng District formed syndicates to jointly dig and manage bore-
holes or deep wells. Although these wells were located in communal pasture-
land, the result of syndicate members having access to these water resources
was the privatization of the grazing land. The de facto control of water
rights and pastureland has provided syndicate members greater access to
resources. Herds belonging to syndicate members are better fed and thus
command higher prices on the market. With more financial resources, members
are able to exert control over greater portions of pastureland. Smallherders
who are not syndicate members are forced out of these areas and must bring
their cattle to graze closer to the homestead. This has had disastrous
results on the environment.
The enactment of the Tribal Grazing Land Policy (TGLP) has worked in favor
of large herd owners, many of whom are government officials. Hitchcock (1980)
analyzes the effects of this law on the Ngwato people in the east-central
Kalahari. Prior to its implementation residential and arable lands were
divided according to ward affiliation and pastoral zones were divided for use
by several wards. Access to land was through membership in asocial group
which was hierarchically stratified with a chief and his royal family at the
apex. Members of certain San groups--the Kgalagadi and the Sarwa--were treated
as serfs and could not own cattle. Water was accessible to all who required
it. Sinking a borehole or well required permission of traditional authorities
but, once it was granted, the person who made the capital improvement had sole
rights of access. These practices were changed as a result of the TGLP.
Portions of land were designated either commercial or communal. Previous
occupants of commercial land were forced off their property and resettled, thus
making more land available for commercial cattle ranchers. The populations who
suffered the most were those formerly in the serf status since they depended
upon others for rural employment or upon access to wide expanses of land in
which to hunt and gather wild foods.
Hjort (1978) makes the point that government programs to improve herding
practices, enhance the quality of livestock and expand marketing systems have
largely benefitted the economic elite of the cattle industry. He notes that
many in this group are government officials.
Cropping--The next most important income-generating activity after
migration and cattle herding is crop-growing. Lucas (1981) states that it is
considered the third largest source of income for families in the 15-50
percentile range of household income, but one of the least important for
households in the 1-10 percentile group. Brown (1980) asserts that agriculture
is viewed only as a secondary activity due, in part, to water shortages and
unreliable rainfall. Behnke and Kerven (1983) state that one-quarter of all
farm dwelling units are solely dependent upon agriculture, while two-thirds
obtain more than 40% of their income from off-farm labor.
The summary written on the economy by M. A. Ommen in Africa South of the
Sahara (1984) states that only 5% of Botswana enjoys adequate rainfall and has
suitable soil for crop cultivation. As noted previously, there is a high risk
of crop failure in the arable areas due to inadequate rainfall, poor soil and
high evapo-transpiration rates. Principal crops cultivated include sorghum,
maize, millet and cowpeas. In 1982, only 12,000 metric tons of food crops were
grown, and this constituted less than 20% of that harvested in 1981. The low
production rates were attributable to the severe drought that most of Southern
Africa was experiencing at that time.
While the literature seems to indicate some willingness on the part of
farmers to try to increase production, the 1973-75 Rural Income Distribution
Survey (RIDS) found that prices paid by Botswana's official marketing boards
for grain are inadequate to induce them to grow more. Hudson (1977) found
that a high proportion of the bean and pea crop was sold because farmers were
able to get higher prices for legumes than for other staples. Additionally,
Cliffe (1979) notes that maize, a less drought resistant crop, is increasingly
preferred over sorghum. He argues this change in dietary habit may be due to
the fact that the most commonly available sorghum meal is factory produced and
is regarded as inferior to the hand-ground meal. Thus, cropping practices may
be changing to fit consumer demand.
Since droughts occur so frequently and severely effect agricultural
production, over the years much food aid has been distributed in Botswana.
Cliffe (1979) reports on an FAO study that revealed 30% of rural households
depended at one time or another on food assistance and on food-for-work pro-
grams. The poverty of rural agriculturalists can also be seen in the share-
cropping arrangements many peasants have entered into. Comaroff (1980) found
that in the Tshidi chiefdom in the area of Barolong Farms, peasants who were
unable to harvest a surplus had to establish disadvantageous sharecropping
arrangements with those who were more prosperous. This was especially the case
for women who in many instances are compensated for their labor in kind rather
than in cash.
In the past, not only did chiefs indicate when cattle should be taken to
the posts, they also advised when it was time for family members to leave their
homesteads to cultivate the lands. According to Werbner (1975), some fields
are as far as 35 miles from the village. Colclough (1980) reported that if
cattle were not sufficiently fed while at the cattle posts difficulties would
be experienced in using the animals as draught power when cultivation began.
Mahoney (1977) has outlined the agricultural cycle followed by the Birwa:
from July-September, land clearing and fencing takes place; October-December is
the ploughing and planting period; January-May is the growing and ripening
season which includes weeding. During May-July, harvest takes place. The
month of harvest is dependent on the crop, the time of planting and rainfall.
Cultivating practices are commented upon by several authors. Curtis
(1972) details the technical practice of ploughing among some Tswana groups in
the Manyana area. He found that ploughing and planting involve one operation
with maize, sorghum, bean and various cucurbit seeds broadcast together on the
field. Then the mouldboard plough, which requires between six and eight
cattle, is used to turn the soil and cover the seeds. This practice is condu-
cive to the growth of quick grass. As a result, a two-stage operation has been
introduced in which the soil is first turned and then the seeds are planted.
This helps choke the effect of weeds and eases the hoeing burden.
The timing of planting is crucial to yields in Botswana. Gollifer (n.d.)
found that seed-bed preparation and planting are of no consequence unless done
at crucial points. He describes the tillage systems in which primary tillage
(using a mouldboard plough in autumn before soils dry up and while oxen are
still in good condition) breaks open soil surfaces, thus allowing rain to
penetrate the soil and reducing run-off. Autumn ploughing allows spring rains
to easily penetrate the soil and enhances the preparation of seedbeds and early
The literature also provides information on crop rotations and preferences.
Gollifer states that crop rotations in the dryland areas are as follows:
sorghum, sunflower, sorghum, cowpeas, sorghum and maize. Kooijman (1980)
reported that in Bokaa, some 40 km from Gaborone, almost 93% of the households
surveyed cultivated their fields in sorghum, millet, beans and small quantities
of maize, sweet reed, squash and watermelon. She also noted that "Beans are
the only crop which are primarily grown for sale as the market price is rela-
tively high." (Due to the confusion in nomenclature for "beans" and "cowpeas"
it is possible that the author is referring to cowpeas.) Lucas (1981) found
that the importance of sorghum as a regional crop increases as rainfall
increases (600 mm) and as the number of males present during the ploughing
season increases. Cowpea production is more important in arid areas (300-400
mm of rainfall) and decreases when more males are present in the ploughing
season, although this varies considerably by size of land holding. Mahoney
(1977) found that sorghum and maize are the principal crops among the Birwa
and that these crops are normally planted on farms less than two hectares in
size. Werbner (1975) found that in Eastern Botswana, among the Kalanga,
sorghum and bulrush millet constitute the staple crops for both high and middle
veld farmers. Other crops include maize, sweet cane, groundnuts, beans,
pulses, potatoes and, especially in the high veld, finger millet and, in
swampy areas, rice.
Concerning other agricultural practices, Kooijman (1980) notes that
weeding is done only once and is usually begun when weeds are already tall and
strong. In surveying farmers' attitudes toward the Integrated Farming Pilot
Project, Merafe (1979) found that there was an awareness that weeding twice or
more would bring higher yields. Norman and Baker (1984), however, noted that
if ploughing was done at the first spring rains or during the preceding winter,
the labor burden would increase since double weeding would be necessary. It
is likely that the need to weed twice or more as a result of changes in culti-
vating practices would create a bottleneck in on-farm operations done by women.
Lucas (1981) found that fertilizers and chemicals are not used by small
farmers, with the exception of those in the Barolong Farm region who are
primarily commercial farmers.
Hunting-Gathering--A different adaptation to the ecology of Botswana has
been made by hunting-gathering populations. While the term "Bushman" appears
in the literature denoting a number of ethnic groups who practice hunting-
gathering, the term is derogatory and was generated by those who did not under-
stand the complexity of the people. Some of the ethnic groups in Botswana who
practice hunting-gathering are the Basarwa, !Kung, San and Kgalagadi. Draper
(1975) notes that some of these groups have been sedentarized and that in the
process certain changes have occurred. The division of labor has become more
rigid and the wide variety of foods formerly eaten as a result of gathering
techniques is no longer available. She states that the diet of sorghum, maize,
squash, melon, etc., does not offer the same rich nutritional variation as was
available in more nomadic times. Hitchcock (1978) found that a type of class
relationship exists between the Tswana and some hunting-gathering populations.
The Basarwa, as an example, became serfs to the more hierarchically-organized
Tswana. They were not allowed to own either cattle or land and thus functioned
as laborers. As a result of land tenure changes, hunters and gatherers have
become increasingly dependent upon rural employment opportunities generated by
members of other ethnic groups.
While each ethnic groups' agricultural practices vary, it must be borne in
mind that these practices are set within an intricately-woven network of
kinship and productive relationships. To consider on-farm problems from a
purely technical viewpoint, without taking into consideration the range of
behaviors, cultural practices and human relationships involved, is to dismiss
the human dynamic in the production enterprise. While the adaptive strategies
people have employed to deal with their ecological, social, political and
economic environments has been outlined in a general fashion, consideration
will now be given to micro-level adaptations and how these influence women's
Gender-Specific Farming Activities
Agricultural production is a function of many variables, including the
composition of the labor force, access to land and implements, ecological
constraints, management capabilities and the socio-cultural and political-
economic milieu in which the farm operates. This section presents several
authors' views on women's agricultural participation. It begins with an over-
view of the position of women in different ethnic groups and then considers
them in light of each of the variables listed above.
Overview of Women in Botswana
Schapera's classic ethnography (1953) on the largest ethnic group in
Botswana, the Tswana, outlines the position of women in the 1930s when the
author did his fieldwork. He notes that there were rank and social class
differences among the Tswana as well as sex and age differentiation. Women
were treated as perpetual minors under the guardianship of their fathers,
husbands or other male relative. As members of male-headed households, women
were responsible for all crop production, as well as for repairing the walls of
any structures on the compound, fetching grass and thatching roofs, preparing
food and making beer, looking after fowl, hauling water, wood and earth,
collecting wild edible plants, doing the housework and child rearing.
Traditionally women did not plough since handling cattle was the task of men.
(It is interesting to note that among most Southern Bantu populations, women
were regarded as a source of danger to cattle [Kuper 1982].) When agricul-
tural tasks were too onerous for household members to complete on their own,
work parties were called by the male head with females responsible for pre-
paring beer for the workers. Many community-wide work parties were organized
on the basis of gender-based age regiments and were utilized in public works
programs designed by the colonial government or by chiefs and other traditional
political leaders. According to Alverson (1978), age regiments were common
among Bantu-speaking people in Southern Africa. They were based upon tribal-
wide groupings of men and women who came to maturity at about the same time
and included those from noble and commoner families. Initiation rites were
performed with males and females segregated into their own sets. Deference
behavior was practiced by those in lower, younger grades toward those in older
grades above them. Although age sets cross-cut political hierarchies, high
ranking clan members may have been appointed as age-set leaders, thus,
enhancing traditional political structures. Age sets functioned on a local
level particularly for warfare, public works, hunting, policing of executive
decrees, entertainment, etc.
Comaroff (1977) has updated some of these earlier observations and notes
that women are no longer under the close scrutiny of male guardians. Analyzing
a number of traditional court cases among the Kgatla, he found that women now
have legal rights and can present cases to the courts. When they win cases,
women and not their guardians, receive the compensatory fines. Since tradi-
tional courts are held in rural areas, fines are generally paid in cattle.
These changes in court procedures may be a result of labor migration since
males often are not present to represent women.
The Division of Labor
Bond's study (1974) examines the role of women in agriculture in Botswana.
As the first person to have studied this issue, she outlined the tasks women
generally perform. These include: weeding, bird scaring, harvesting,
threshing, storage and the care of pigs and poultry. When husbands are absent,
women make all decisions regarding crop operations, and when husbands are
present, there is a free exchange of ideas on farming practices. In a survey
of 204 rural households, she found that women performed between 47.7% and 73.6%
of all crop activities, and 81.6% of the operations after ploughing. Where
there are no males present, women must hire men or depend on relatives to clear
the land, plough and help with planting.
In addition to their agricultural tasks, women perform an array of
domestic activities. More than one-half of their time is spent in household
labor, including food preparation, washing, grinding corn, fetching water,
collecting and chopping wood, collecting wild fruit and vegetables, brewing
beer, shopping, house building and caring for infants and children.
In his survey of the rural economy, Campbell (1971) found that women did
the "necessary work of keeping the family alive" while men did the "prestigious"
work. Similarly, Koussoudji (1979) reports that the gender-based division of
labor results in women being assigned chores which require little capital and
which are characterized by low productivity while the more capital intensive
and productive chores are allocated to men. Campbell states that men's and
women's work roles are ambiguous with both genders being unsure as to exactly
what society expects of them.
Cooper (1979) adds to the list of tasks women perform in the rural areas
by noting that they care for sheep and goats. He argues that migration has
resulted in a renegotiation of the domestic division of labor. Kooijman (1980)
found that the traditional division of labor, women responsible for cropping
and men responsible for herding, has resulted in young males being reluctant to
participate in cropping activities even though their family's fields may have
expanded. She also notes that women cultivate to provide for their families
since there are few other means available for them to support their children.
In summary, the literature indicates that migration has strongly affected
the division of labor; it has added to the tasks women perform and to the
burden of their work. With males away, females must carry out the traditional
agricultural and domestic chores, in addition to the tasks which men once
performed (Cliffe 1979). Women's work is especially onerous where there are
few, if any, male kin to assist with clearing and ploughing. Thus, innovations
adding to women's loads will have little chance of adoption, but innovations
that reduce their chores and drudgery are likely to experience a high adoption
Certain other changes have occurred in rural production practices as a
result of labor migration. Because these offer specific micro-level insights
which have a bearing on the CRSP project, they are singled out for consideration
Matrifocal Households--Cooper (1979) discusses a three-generational
matrifocal chain of relationships which constitutes a labor base both for
agricultural production and for females who migrate to urban areas. In this
chain, an urban female head of household relies upon her mother in the rural
area for the support and sustenance of her children, sending her mother
remittances for the care of the children. These rural child caretakers in
turn send vegetable produce to their urban daughters thus establishing a
mutual dependence between female migrants and their rural parents.
Izzard (1979) defines matrifocality as a situation where children are not
necessarily affiliated to their father's kin and where, in terms of domestic
relations and child rearing, the mother and maternal kin predominate. She
notes that matrifocality tends to correspond with the declining social and
economic importance of the father figure within Tswana society.
A differentiation is made between de facto and de jure female headed
households. The former represent cases where females remain as farm managers
and laborers while men are away. The latter arise as a result of females
having children out of wedlock. Koussoudji (1979) suggests that de jure female
headed households are characteristic of a particular stage in the life-cycle.
Most males who migrate are in the 20-40 age group and often defer marriage
until after labor migration at about age 40. (It is unclear from the report
whether these males choose women in the same or younger age grade.) Peters
(1983) makes a similar assertion, stating that female headed households
represent a stage in the domestic life cycle and that the changing meanings
ascribed to "marriage" must be considered from the Tswana perspective within
the domestic group itself.
Although the matrifocal household is variously defined, in Botswana it
generally consists of a woman, whether "married" or not, who is responsible for
daily household maintenance and for the majority of the agricultural tasks.
Where there is a male, whether it be a husband, a father, a brother or an
uncle, women depend on him for the performance of certain agricultural tasks.
If he is a wage earner, he may be relied upon to a certain extent for monetary
To illustrate the complexity of relations and agricultural work roles,
Behnke and Kerven (1983) cite a case in which an old, non-farming mother is the
senior member of a household which contains her youngest son, two daughters
and their children. The daughters and the son farm their plots, but hire
animal traction from the eldest son who lives elsewhere, while the younger son
hires out his own traction to other farmers. The younger son also provides
draught power for his sisters in return for their and their eldest daughter's
labor. The women brew beer to pay the eldest son for animal traction. Thus,
different strategies are employed by various members of the matrifocal unit,
whether there are males present or not, to support the household.
Income Generation and Remittances--Based on data gathered from the Rural
Income Distribution Survey, Brown (1980) found that some 50% of the country's
population depends on remittances primarily from migrants to South African
mines. Fortman (1980) argues that these remittances do not substantially
increase the incomes of female headed households and that this has resulted in
at least 54% of these households earning below the poverty line set at P395/
year. Since remittances are often not reliable sources of income, women have
had to find ways to earn cash for their families. They have devised a number
of income-generating activities, some of which are suitable to rural and
others to urban areas.
Rural women work as laborers performing gender based farming activities.
Cooper (1979) notes, however, that in certain instances payment is in kind or
in reciprocal assistance rather than in cash (the opposite is the case when
males sell their labor; they are paid in cash).
Women have traditionally brewed beer to share with participants in rural
work parties, but more recently this has become an important income-generating
activity. Curtis (1979) found that beer-brewing intensifies from September
through November, the interim between harvesting and ploughing/planting. In
Manyana and Mankgode, sorghum beer, bajalwa, is brewed and sold for cash. By
brewing sorghum beer, women can increase the value of a poor sorghum harvest
by at least 100%. This income is used to pay taxes, school fees or to purchase
stock--traditionally male responsibilities. Households that have a limited
number of members are constrained in beer-brewing activity.
Grant (n.d.) notes that in order to generate income a family may sell
cattle to the Meat Commission. This option, however, is seldom open to female
headed households since they do not own surplus cattle. Hudson (1977) also has
outlined several income generating activities, but does not analyze them with
regard to gender: sale of maize, sorghum and millet, beans and peas as well
as small stock; and employment in the full-time "modern" or tertiary and
subsistence sector (e.g., seasonally employed agricultural laborers, beer
brewers, petty commodity productors, etc.).
Koussoudji (1979) found that female headed households receive a portion of
their income from remittances, but that the bulk comes from their own labor.
Even when incomes are combined, female headed units still have lower earnings
than male headed ones and much of female income is derived from employment as
field laborers. The author notes that pregnancy and child care obligations
limit these activities and increase the time it takes to perform them. Lucas
(1981) found a discrepancy between male and female wages--men earned 49 Rands
for agricultural work during 1974-75, while women received only 28 Rands. The
tasks performed were not specified. He attributed this discrepancy to the fact
that rural wage rates do not increase with age for female laborers as they do
for males. He also found that women's peak earning period coincides with
their child-bearing years.
Considering the available options, it appears that beer brewing is the
most profitable income generating activity for women. This has implications
for the CRSP project, especially with regard to women's time and task alloca-
tions. Since beer-brewing is a year round activity, which intensifies from
September through November, competing activities may not receive the attention
they require. In addition to the actual brewing, women are responsible for
sorghum cultivation and spend time in planting, weeding, bird scaring,
harvesting, threshing and grinding. Labor taken away from these tasks may
result in lower yields. Given the returns generated from sorghum beer brewing,
women may not be willing to divert their attention from this crop. The point
is that the agricultural production process is a system composed of interde-
pendent parts, with changes in one part effecting the others. If beer brewing
is a prime income earner for females then tasks detracting from it may not have
a high adoption rate.
Labor Requirements and the Agricultural Cycle--Female and male headed
rural households confront a number of constraints in their agricultural work.
Some are attributable to the absence of males at crucial periods while others
are due to the decreasing number of household members who are available for
farm work. Allison (1978) found that children who once were responsible for
certain agricultural tasks, in many instances, are no longer available because
they are attending school. Bell (1980) posits that once educated, young
people's propensity to migrate increases since there are few rural job
Bell also reports that male urban migrants often return home on weekends
to work on the farm and to maintain social ties. The ability to do so depends
on earnings; in the absence of an adequately paying job, frequent trips home
are not possible and the burden of farm work and management falls to female
spouses. In cases where females migrate, Bell found that mutually supportive
networks of social relations are created.
Female farm managers encounter a number of problems. Bond (1977) reported
that they are not visited by male extension agents. In an effort to reduce
this discrepancy, the Ministry of Agriculture created the post of Agricultural
Officer, Women's Extension. While this effort by the government of Botswana to
meet the needs of female farmers is laudatory, the problem of labor and draught
power scarcity still remain.
Brown (1980) found that in Kgatleng 35% of her sample of 210 households
were de jure female headed. Widows comprised 20% and single women 15%. Many
of these households did not own or hold cattle, tended to plough late or not at
all and lacked sufficient labor power for hoeing and bird scaring. Colclough
(1980) states that a high proportion of households with no cattle are female
headed. Such households also plant a smaller number of hectares and own fewer
implements. Thus, households which do not have sufficient cattle for draught
power (generally 6-8) are unable to plough in a timely fashion, cannot
adequately cultivate their holdings and may become dependent on food aid to
supplement their yields.
Mahoney (1977) has outlined gender specific tasks carried out during the
stages of the agricultural cycle. Land clearing and fencing are undertaken by
men, July through September. When males are not available, hired laborers or
relatives assist. The ploughing and planting season, October through December,
requires labor and draught power intensification. Mahoney states that the
majority of households lack some or all of the equipment and/or labor necessary
to plough and that, as a result, various strategies are employed. These
include arranging work parties and borrowing or renting equipment and/or
animals. Work parties are often constituted on the basis of reciprocity and
may result in the postponement of planting for some of the participants. Late
planting invariably results in reduced yields. May through June, women's work
intensifies with weeding, scaring birds, building, threshing floors and
preparing storage facilities as their major tasks. If female household labor
is insufficient, a woman may be hired for the duration of the agricultural
cycle. Harvesting occurs between May and July and is conducted by women who
are also responsible for various food processing operations.
Describing cropping practices among the Yeyi in the Okavango Delta,
Sutherland (1980) found that micro-ecological variations have given rise to
differences in the social organization of production. In the wet valley system
he found that ploughing is done by oxen teams. On the northern side of the
valley, two men team up to plough each other's fields with the senior
individual having his ploughed first. In this same location, women are
prohibited by custom from ploughing. Sutherland also notes that peak labor
demands vary by area. In the Sandybelt, where the swidden cultivation system
is practiced, more labor is required for weeding. Also, more drought resistant
crops (millet and sorghum) are planted and demand more labor during harvesting
and threshing than does maize which is grown in the better watered valley
The literature reveals that two crucial elements in the agricultural cycle
are draught power and labor. A brief discussion of practices developed to
cover shortfalls in these areas follows.
The traditional mafisa system entails wealthier cattle owners lending
cattle to kin and members of other social networks. Alverson (1979) notes that
mafisa was traditionally conducted between Tswana men. Women do not receive
mafisa cattle. Consequently, women household heads have had to develop other
means of gaining access to draught power. Comaroff (1977) has analyzed one of
these. He notes that women who are single household heads with children may
sue the fathers of their children for support on the basis of breach of
marriage promise. The fines are often paid in cattle.
Behnke and Kerven's (1983) case study, discussed earlier, illustrates
exchange relationships between brothers and sisters. In return for ploughing
and/or use of draught power, women brew and sell beer to pay for their
brother's assistance. Also, a woman's female children may be "loaned out" as
laborers in return for draught power. Curtis (1972) found similar patterns.
He reports on a case where a widow sent her two grandsons to work for two oxen
owners and thus had two spans at her disposal at planting time. This arrange-
ment guaranteed her sufficient draught power, and its timeliness was critical.
Cattle were loaned or hired out only after the owner's ploughing was completed.
In studying the social organization of ploughing, Curtis reports that those who
"plough alone" must have sufficient draught power at their disposal and the
ability, by negotiation, chance, or at the cost of offending the family norms
of cooperation to avoid obligations. He concludes that the ability to plough
is dependent on either wealth or social ties.
Fortman (1981) found that over 50% of female headed households owned no
cattle, and of those which did, some 60% had fewer than the requisite number
for ploughing. In these households, cash to hire draught power or a tractor
came from brewing beer or other means of income generation. The author notes
that while women do plough, caring for small children and completing household
chores makes this almost impossible. Obtaining labor may be difficult since
female household heads usually are able to pay only low wages.
Kooijman (1980) examines another way in which women gain access to cattle.
A cow in the family herd is assigned to children upon their birth. When the
children grow up, responsibility for the cow and its offspring is transferred
to the sons and daughters. Unfortunately, the author does not provide
information on whether women's cattle are incorporated into their husband's
herds, or whether they are maintained separately. More generally, Koussoudji
(1979) notes that women may own cattle, be bequeathed them, win them in a
court case or buy them, but do not have access to them through traditional
As a risk-reducing strategy, families often expand their social networks
to include other community members. Behnke and Kerven (1983) posit that
communities constitute multi-household production units or supra-household
cooperation networks. Findings by Campbell (1971) and Curtis (1972) support
this contention. Campbell reports that lower income households have more
complex and widespread kinship ties. In the Manyana area, Curtis commented on
the practice of "putting in hands" or sharing work as a means of assuring
access to labor on a community-wide basis. Labor is often provided in return
for draught power. Hjort (1978) suggests, however, that such community
cooperation has undergone modification with commercial relationships and
contractual agreements replacing familial ties and obligations as a means of
assuring a labor supply.
Among the Birwa, Mahoney (1977) found a pattern of strong household
interdependence. The production unit is a neighborhood set in which households
are intertwined. Similar to Hjort, Mahoney notes that contracts provide the
basis for cooperative relationships. He argues that these formal agreements
are an essential means of limiting responsibility as friendly relations would
be endangered if terms were not clearly delineated.
Murray (1980) also has called attention to the community's role in
providing labor assistance. He found that extended families which constitute
the core of a ward (a mid-level political/administrative unit) are highly
durable, but that conjugal or nuclear families are disintegrating as a result
of labor migration. Murray does not fully examine the effects of this process
on labor availability.
The Brigades are another important institution in many rural areas. Van
Rensburg (1978) describes them as non-governmental organizations operating
under the control of local trusts, overseen and funded by a Ministry of
Education coordinating committee. Originally designed in the 1960s to provide
primary school leavers with practical skills, the Brigades have been expanded
to include adult education and training programs, some especially for women.
To facilitate participation by adult women, child care may be provided.
Campbell (1971) states that the Brigades organization might be an outgrowth of
the traditional Tswana age regiments structure which was organized for work
Access to Other Agricultural Inputs--Several authors address the issue of
land tenure. Cooper (1981) found that women gain access to land in at least
two ways: by inheritance from parents and by appeal to Land Boards or to
tribal authorities. Hitchcock (1978) states that rights to use land are
dependent on membership in a social group. Chiefs traditionally allocated
land, but in 1970 this responsibility was transferred to the Land Boards.
These are bodies of elected and appointed officials operating at the local
level. Hjort (1978) reported that greater land fragmentation has resulted
from this change in part because land allocation has become more politicized.
In 1970, Kuper found that women in Ghanzi and Kgalagdi Districts cultivated
garden plots allocated to them by their husbands. Lucas (1981) states that
fathers apportion land to their daughters upon marriage. This property can
then be inherited by their female children.
Lucas also describes various land arrangements. Where chiefs still
allocate land, female headed households reportedly have about 35% less area
than do male headed households. He suggests this could be due to a lack of
labor and drought power which results in land being left uncultivated. Hence,
it is subsequently confiscated and redistributed by traditional leaders,
Koussoudji (1983) reports on similar practices by Land Boards. Thus, the
ability to plough is likely to influence size of land holding and land
Peters (1983) analyzed how communally-held grazing areas have undergone a
process of privatization which has resulted in diminished access to water
resources by less wealthy cattle owners. Sutherland (1980) comments on tenure
arrangements among the Yeyi of the Okavango Delta. In the North Valley, land
titles are inherited from father to son. A titleholder may loan various plots
on his land to others. In the Sandybelt, however, where swidden agriculture
is practiced, land rights are less clearly delineated. Short-term fertility
and diminishing productivity require frequent movement. Where long-term
fertility is maintained in wet valley cultivation, interest in retaining the
site is greater and land tenure rules are more fully developed. Further
information on changes in land tenure practices is found in Werbner (1982).
Access to mechanized equipment, seed and innovations transmitted by
extension agents, etc., is also explored in the literature. Colclough (1980)
describes a tool carrier (Makgonatsotlhe) which can be attached to sweeps,
planters, cultivators and scotch carts, and which uses donkeys as draught
power. How extensively this is used and whether women have access to it is
unknown. Gibbon, et al. (1974) discuss the same implement but call it the
"versatool." While they note it can be used to cultivate cowpeas, they also
offer no information on its adoption.
Fortman (1981) states that women seldom use tractors. When animal draught
power is not available, those who have the necessary financial resources hire
a tractor and driver to prepare their fields. Hjort (1978) indicates that
tractor owners are often former traditional political leaders who have profited
from their positions and who are now economically advantaged.
Lucas (1981) reports that inputs such as fertilizers and chemicals are not
used by small farmers, except those in the Barolong Farm region where crops are
grown.commercially. The amount of farm equipment a household has at its dis-
posal is strongly related to the number of adult males on the farm, amount of
rainfall and size of plots. Fortman (1980) found that poorer households,
especially those headed by females, may not have sufficient seed on hand for
planting. In part, this is attributable to these households' inability to
fully utilize their land during the previous growing season and their
consequent failure to harvest a sufficient crop to meet both household
consumption and seed requirement needs.
As noted above, Fortman (1980) found that extension services in Botswana do
not address the problems of labor shortage and lack of draught power which are
major constraints for female headed farm households. Bond (1977) discusses
reasons why extension efforts are largely ineffective. Although the Ministry
of Agriculture has made a concerted effort to hire female extension agents, it
appears that women's extension receives a low priority. Outside-funded agri-
cultural projects and vacation schedules detract from the effectiveness of
these agents. They must perform their normal extension tasks as well as
specifically address female farmer needs. The approach used is also question-
able; instead of offering farmers new ideas, agents wait for clients to
articulate needs. Moreover, many male extension agents do not perceive females
as decision makers even though many are heads of household and responsible for
all farming activities. Thus, both the structure and procedures of extension
services prevent female farmer needs from being adequately addressed.
Women and Bean/Cowpea Production
The literature makes little mention of these food crops. Cooper (1979)
reports that women sell beans and groundnuts in urban and rural markets. He
notes that one woman grossed P90 from bean and groundnut sales, but that she
grossed P228 from maize and sorghum sales (no information on quantities sold
nor on what was done with profits was presented). The 1971 government mar-
keting investigation reported that farmers sold surplus quantities of beans
and cowpeas to traders who in turn sold them in South Africa.
Commenting upon strategies to ensure adequate nutrition during severe
drought periods in Botswana, Grivetti (1978) lists the food crops planted by
the Moshaweng Tlokwa, a Tswana agro-pastoral society in Tlokweng, Southeast
District. Of 126 holdings examined, 44% planted cowpeas, 27% planted tepary
beans and 15% planted peanuts. Practically all households (99%) planted one
or more of sixteen varieties of sorghum, while 40% of households planted one
or more of six maize varieties. Lucas (1981) notes that cowpea production is
greater in arid areas receiving 300-400 mm of rainfall. Production decreases
when more males are present in the ploughing season, although land holding size
influenced these patterns. Norman and Baker (1984) indicate that a regional
survey on cowpea cultivation practices and utilization is to be undertaken, in
order to gather further information.
Women's Other Responsibilities
Household Tasks--Women are responsible for many non-agricultural
activities. Chief among them is firewood collection. In Kgatleng District,
Arntzen (1983) reported that if donkey carts or sledges are used for
transporting wood, men are often involved. This suggests that if a labor-
saving device is available, women may not have access to it. The frequency of
firewood collection varies from daily to once a month depending on the means
of transport, season and household size. Distances travelled range between
0-9 kms per round trip, each trip taking between 1 and 4 hours. Kooijman
(1980) found that in Bokaa cattle may also be used to pull sledges on which
firewood, crops and water jugs are carried, but it was not indicated whether
women have access to this equipment.
Bond (1974) found that more than one-half of women's time is spent in
household labor. Tasks include food preparation, washing, grinding corn,
fetching water, collecting and chopping wood, collecting wild fruits and
vegetables, brewing beer, shopping, house building and child rearing.
Health and Nutrition--The Family Health Care report (1978) indicates that
the major causes of morbidity in Botswana are respiratory and gastrointestinal
ailments. Malnutrition was reported to be uncommon, but chronic undernourish-
ment is more prevalent.
Grivetti (1978) notes that in the Eastern District women are fed special
diets during pregnancy. These include dishes prepared from stewed green
leaves, especially those from domesticated or selected wild cowpea species.
Great quantities of green-leafy vegetables are served to mothers in the months
after delivery, but ingestion of all legumes stops until children have been
Stevens (1978) discusses food aid and indicates that school feeding
programs may not be reaching the most needy since children who go to school are
most likely to be relatively well fed. In considering the "vulnerable group"
feeding program--food supplied to pregnant women, nursing mothers, pre-school
children and TB outpatients--the author questions whether the distributed food
is actually consumed by those who receive it.
Ulin (1976) explored maternal and child health resources in Thamaga, a
village in southeastern Botswana. She found that use of traditional vs. modern
medical resources depended on the symptoms manifested by the patient. Most
women attended a prenatal clinic, but they did so because of illness or dis-
comfort which coincided with pregnancy and continued to deliver their babies
at home. With the exception of small pox vaccinations, most women did not
have their children immunized.
Education--Brown (1980) examined reasons for women's lack of access to
better paying jobs and other resources. The high female drop-out rate which
occurs after primary school is attributable to pregnancy. Girls who become
pregnant are expelled and cannot be readmitted. Thereafter, child care
responsibilities limit their participation in non-formal education programs,
the only remaining educational opportunity.
Because boys remained home to care for cattle, girls traditionally
outnumbered them in primary school. In implementing universal primary educa-
tion, enrollments of both sexes have increased thus exerting pressure on the
government to augment the number of spaces available in secondary schools.
Entrance to these schools depends on receiving a high pass on the elementary
school leaving examination. In addition to high pregnancy rates, it appears
that inability to do well on this exam is a major reason why large numbers of
girls do not go on to secondary school. In a survey conducted at the Molefi
and Linchwe II schools, Brown (1980) found that career aspirations were stereo-
typed by gender--women were considered incapable of driving a tractor, being a
pumper or building a brick house. These views depended on the respondent's
level of educational achievement.
Summary and Conclusions
The Botswana literature falls into three categories: the effect of labor
migration on the national and local-level political economy, the demographic
changes resulting from labor migration and the shortages of inputs that
constrain rural female headed households. Several authors have considered the
adaptive strategies employed by such households to overcome constraints, but
absent is rigorous comparative research on differences between male and female
headed households. Information is presented on the reduced acreage poor and
especially female headed households cultivate, but there is no clear indication
of how much land is allocated to each crop, the quantities harvested and the
marketing channels used by small-scale producers.
The lack of research on the agricultural sector reflects the relatively low
status agriculture occupies in the hierarchy of income-generating activities in
Botswana. Yet, this is a crucial time for such information to be gathered
since migration to South Africa is decreasing and will be negligible in the
next decade as the result of a shift in that country's employment policies.
Most of the existing studies in Botswana have focused on the eastern arable
strip where water sources are more reliable. The inhabitants of this area are
primarily Tswana, a people studied by anthropologist I. Schapera in the 1930s
and on whom follow-up work has been conducted by Comaroff. A blend of anthro-
pological and agricultural production data is not readily available, however,
for other sections of the country and other ethnic groups. Information from
these disciplines incorporating a variety of ethnic groups in different locales
would offer needed insight into the social organization of production. Given
the poverty of many rural households, it would be useful to examine the role
played by friendship, kinship and other social bonds in survival strategies.
Information on social relations.should include the following topics:
remittances, communal work parties, chiefly authority, the division of labor.
There are points in the existing literature, however, which are relevant
to the goals and objectives of the CRSP project. The following section
II. PROJECT-SPECIFIC IMPLICATIONS
The overall project goal is "to provide Botswana farmers with an acceptable
package of recommended practices for cowpea growing and harvesting including
improved varieties and implements as required to realize higher yields .. ."
This broad goal includes several specific objectives which provide the organi-
zational structure for this section. Information indicating potential problems
or issues of relevance to each objective is presented.
Specific Project Objectives
Some of the issues which need to be taken into account in meeting this
objective are discussed by Hjort (1978). He found that to a certain degree
chiefs continue to influence the timing of sowing and harvesting. The chiefs'
powers may stem from traditional patterns of authority or may result from their
ownership of the means of production. In many communities they own and control
plough teams and tractors. To better grasp the role these social and economic
factors play in determining planting time, a study of the local political-
economic organization would be useful.
Kerven (1984) has considered issues related to the timing of planting that
effect female heads of household. Not all of these households experience the
same kinds of constraints to agricultural production. Some women have devised
strategies which enhance their ability to plough on time and thus to harvest
adequately. Disadvantaged households lack timely access to draught animals,
labor, tools and technological inputs.
Women in traditional Tswana society were prevented from handling cattle
because cattle were regarded as a male responsibility and it was believed that
women could pollute them (Kuper 1982). As a result of labor migration and
changes in the local-level political economy, however, women now use animals to
plough. They still are not recipients of mafisa cattle, though, and so must
gain access to these animals by other means. In part this may explain why more
women than men hire tractors and drivers to plough their fields. It is of
significance to the project to discern the strategies disadvantaged households
employ in overcoming their lack of access to draught power and in obtaining
cash to hire tractors.
Where draught power is available when needed, other problems may arise.
Norman and Baker (1984) indicate that ploughing at first spring rains or during
the preceding winter would result in women having to weed twice rather than
once and hence increase their work loads. Thus, any package developed by the
project would have to take into account both labor and draught power
requirements throughout the agricultural cycle.
More information concerning women's agricultural tasks at the outset of
the rains is needed. A number of questions of relevance to the project deserve
investigation. Are women responsible for planting both vegetable and staple
crops? How is the balance between vegetable and staple crops established? Is
the timing for planting vegetables different from that of staples? How do
market considerations influence planting strategies?
Other labor issues may need study. The existing literature indicates that
under traditional systems men herded cattle and women grew crops. When swidden
agricultural methods were employed men were also responsible for clearing new
lands. It is unclear how or if this division of labor has been modified. Bond
(1974) reports that between 47.7% and 73.6% of cropping tasks are performed by
women and that 81.6% of operations after ploughing are their responsibility.
No indication of task and time allocation by gender or crop is presented.
Where planting practices differ, i.e., broadcasting vs. row planting, is there
a change in labor allocation? How do time requirements change with different
planting practices? A farm household time allocation survey would yield micro-
level information useful in making specific recommendations. Such a. survey is
especially advised if the project intends to introduce early-maturing cowpea
varieties. Knowing in advance which activities conflict with the cultivation
needs of these new varieties could contribute significantly to the approach
used in advocating their adoption.
Particularly relevant to the CRSP project is a study conducted by Alverson
(1984) comparing traditional practices with changes which the Integrated
Farming Pilot Project (IFPP) wanted to institute. Since many of these changes
concern the timing of inputs, planting and availability of labor, a summary of
the study is presented here.
Winter (dry-season) ploughing or
sweeping to kill weeds and reduce
compaction of soil, thereby reducing
water loss through evaporation and
Regular crop rotation but omission of a
grass phase in the cycle. (Grass does
not add much humus because of termite
activity and the high temperature of
Use of precision tools (either ox-drawn
or tractor-drawn) in ploughing, planting
Application of fertilizers (250 kg
superphosphate per hectare for sorghum
and 250 kg 2-3-0 per hectare for maize.)
Planting after first rains in November.
Harvesting immediately at maturity to
reduce loss from birds and insects.
Ploughing only after the first
summer rain, with planting
No specific information given on this
aspect of traditional practices.
The single-blade plough is the only
tool used; seeds are broadcast.
No fertilizer is used, except
Planting after farmers feel the
rains will continue.
Harvesting depends, as does
ploughing, on labor availability.
A comparison of the IFPP "package" with traditional practices reveals that
the IFPP system requires more labor (150.58 hours of bird scaring vs. 28.18
hours in the traditional system--a woman's task), a greater capital investment
and higher use of purchased inputs. Fertilizer use makes weeds grow faster and
necessitates double weeding, a task women perform. Alverson also reports that
traditional methods of hand broadcasting associated with timely ploughing after
the ground is wet increased yield by almost 100%. This suggests that radical
changes in agricultural practices may not be necessary to increase production.
Another labor availability issue concerns the effect on the household labor
supply of sending children to school. The school calendar and the location of
fields in relation to villages may effectively prevent children and young
people from assisting in agricultural production and cattle herding. If this
is the case, how do families compensate for this reduction in labor power?
What strategies are employed to obtain sufficient labor for peak production
periods? Under what circumstances are communal work parties organized or is
labor hired? What is the role of local-level cooperatives? Do they deal with
cash or food crop production and what might their role be in addressing labor
and draught power constraints?
The existing literature and the questions posed above suggest the kinds of
considerations that need to be taken into account in meeting the project's
first objective. The effect of introducing a set of technical practices to
enhance timely planting has a number of potential consequences that deserve
study before the "set" is designed. While requiring time and resources, the
initial investment in gathering the necessary socio-economic and agronomic
information should result in recommendations which will be adopted and which
will result in increased yields without undue increases in work loads.
This objective has both technical and social components. Regarding the
former, Gibbon, et al. (1974) evaluated a minimum tillage system for Botswana
using the "versatool." Gollifer (n.d.) found that in dryland farming, primary
tillage breaks the soil surface, allows rain to penetrate, and reduces run-off.
He notes, however, that reduced tillage techniques requiring less draught power
need to be devised. The social component concerns the role of gender in tool
use. Women tend to use hand hoes and relatively simple implements while men
generally have access to more technologically sophisticated inputs. In more
traditional communities, women were prevented from using cattle-drawn draught
power. Due to changes in the political economy, however, some have been
delegated ploughing responsibilities. These tasks are difficult and may be
dangerous to perform during pregnancy and lactation. Thus, reduced tillage
methods require knowledge of who is likely to use the tools.
The local availability and cost of adopting new inputs also bear
consideration. The issues with regard to new equipment are analogous to those
raised concerning draught power. Is the tool available for use at the right
time? Does it have to be rented or borrowed? Is its use compatible with preg-
nancy and early child care responsibilities? Cost of the item must also be
taken into account especially given the limited cash resources of most house-
holds. Ascertaining at what point in the production cycle surplus cash may be
available (after harvest when some crops have been sold, immediately prior to
the advent of the new agricultural cycle when income from beer would be
highest, etc.) could be of use in promoting adoption of implements.
If new inputs are to be introduced through extension agents, then improved
educational strategies and methods need to be devised. The literature indi-
cates that agricultural extension agents tend not to be very aggressive in
presenting information. Moreover, they tend to overlook female farmers. Thus,
a commitment on the part of the Ministry and agents to improve presentation
techniques and to include female farmers would be highly desirable.
Since this project objective addresses the needs of farmers in dry-land
areas, it may be advisable to conduct base line data surveys in the zones of
potential implementation. As noted earlier prior research has concentrated on
the better-watered eastern strip, while minimal attention has been paid to the
Okavango (see Belien ) and to the semi-desert areas in the west. More
background information may be necessary concerning the occupants of these areas
and their agricultural practices.
Variety Screening Program
While little has been written on cowpea variety acceptability criteria,
Grivetti (1978) has presented information on the food base, preservation
techniques, food storage, cooking methods, dietary practices and food
distribution of the Moshaweng Tlokwa in Southeast District. He found that 44%
of his sample 126 holdings planted cowpeas and that the leaves of several wild
and domesticated plant species (presumably some of which are cowpeas) are
cooked, sun-dried and/or stored for winter use. He reported that freshly
harvested and sun-dried vegetables as well as unhulled legumes are stored in
burlap or leather bags. If a family has a cracked pot which is no longer
serviceable as a water or cooking container, it may be used for small
quantities of grain, legumes or wild seeds. Concerning cooking, all legume
varieties are boiled whole in the pod. The shells then are split, seeds
consumed and pods discarded. During periods of food shortage, however, legume
pods may be eaten. Because all legume dishes are referred to as dikgobe, it
is difficult to ascertain which kinds of legumes reference is being made to.
Beans are eaten mixed with boiled maize flour and cracked maize kernals.
Cowpea leaves are commonly stewed and served with meals as green vegetables or
Concerning various dietary practices, the author found that the main meal
is prepared at mid-day, at which time meat, stiff porridge and green vegetables
are eaten (the remainder is eaten at dinner time). Children are breast-fed for
about one year and are weaned on thin gruels or porridges prepared from
sorghum. Pregnant women, especially, include green-leafy vegetables in their
diets. Large quantities of cowpea leaves and other similar vegetables are
ingested by mothers after delivery.
While this study peripherally addresses the project's screening program
objective, additional information would be beneficial. For instance, if cowpea
varieties are selected for specific cooking, taste and appearance qualities,
then these qualities should be determined. Does one variety have a longer
cooking time than another? (This would mean that women would have to collect
more firewood and spend more time on domestic chores.) Who in the household is
responsible for cooking? (Mothers, daughters?) Are certain cowpea varieties
prepared for certain occasions or stages in the life cycle? As more than 600
varieties have been identified, information on how cowpea leaves, beans and
pods are used or prepared should be useful in determining which varieties are
most acceptable. Hamilton (1975) estimates legume consumption per person per
year to be 24.3 kgs or 66 gms/day. These include cowpeas, jugo and mung beans
which are eaten at lunch and dinner time.
The decision to plant a particular cowpea variety may also be related to
how well it stores. For instance, the government found (1976) that a severe
storage problem occasioned primarily by weevils exists throughout Botswana.
Hamilton (1975) reported that the three most widely grown crops in his survey
area, Kweneng District, were sorghum, maize and cowpeas. Wood and manure ash
are commonly used insect preventatives in storage. Damage levels to stored
cowpeas are reportedly higher than for the other two crops. Cowpeas are kept
primarily in sacks on kitchen or storage hut floors. These studies give some
indication of storage problems, but more information is needed to address
project objectives. For example, are both the leaves and beans stored? How?
Are they dried beforehand? Are certain varieties more weevil or insect
resistent in storage?
Additional criteria to take into consideration for screening purposes
include the need to eat more cowpeas at certain stages in the life cycle. For
example, the literature indicates that women consume green-leafy vegetables
during pregnancy and lactation, but do not eat beans during these periods. A
family nutritional needs survey could provide information on the cowpea
varieties preferred by women during these stages in their life cycles. Thus,
in designing a screening and acceptability survey many such socio-cultural and
nutritional variables need to be taken into account.
New Cultural Practices
This objective addresses issues that have received consideration in the
literature as production constraints. Alverson (1984) presents the best
overview of the consequences of certain production "packages" which at first
glance may appear to address most constraints. Outside of identifying actions
which the Government of Botswana could take (e.g., subsidizing rural labor and
extending credit facilities to the more needy and to female farmers), no
solutions to the constraints are presented in the literature. As the
bibliography included in Section IV indicates, one of the strengths of the
literature is in the details it provides concerning labor and draught power
shortages farmers experience and the strategies they have developed to overcome
them. Particularly helpful in this regard are works by Alverson (1979, 1984),
Behnke and Kerven (1983), Bond (1974), Brown (1980), Colclough and McCarthy
(1980), Cooper (1979), Fox (1981) among others.
New Harvesting Technique
The existing literature does not include specific information on cowpea
harvesting practices, but does consider the social mobilization of labor
necessary for harvesting cereal crops. There is no indication as to whether
cowpeas are harvested and used incrementally or whether they are harvested all
at once, with a part of the crop dried and stored and another portion
immediately consumed. Certain points relevant to this objective, however, are
discussed. Regarding dietary practices, Grivetti (1978) indicated that cowpea
leaves are harvested at one time, while the beans/pods are harvested at
another. Also, leaves are used at certain points in the individual and
household life cycle, while the beans are reserved for others. While this
project objective is designed to reduce women's labor, care should be taken to
assure that it does not reduce women's nutritional intake at certain critical
periods. Moreover, if the entire plant is to be harvested at the same time,
then it would seem that better storage methods need to be devised in order to
prevent losses by weevils and insects.
The question of who has access to technology designed to reduce harvesting
labor needs examination. The comments made above are applicable here. Also,
a "central site" is proposed for drying and stacking. It would be worthwhile
to ascertain how women would regard this practice. The location of a central
site could also create problems in that no land is really "free" and homestead
spatial distribution allows room for only small-scale drying activities.
Should the whole village put its harvest in one location, physical space might
be a problem. The issue of who controls the area could also be a cause for
Most importantly, it may be physically impossible to devise a cowpea-
specific harvesting technique since, as Fox (1981) found, broadcast seeding is
the dominant planting method and mixed cropping is the strategy utilized by
most farmers to reduce risk. Thus, cowpea seeds might be mixed with sorghum,
millet or maize. Moreover, to further reduce risk, broadcast planting is
staggered such that separate plantings mature at different times.
A further consideration is the use of plant residue for cattle fodder.
When cattle are brought to the fields (for use as draught power) they are
often allowed to browse where crops have already been picked. Uprooting an
entire cowpea plant might necessitate household expenditure on cattle fodder.
It is thus most important to ascertain farm-specific planting and dietary
practices before introducing changes in harvesting techniques.
Alectra vogelii Resistance
No data relating to the social consequences of meeting this objective were
available. Reference is made, however, to "Variety Screening Program" above
as regarding choice of variety. Where preferences for certain varieties have
been established, it might be useful to employ them in producing a more
Alectra vogelii-resistent cultivar.
Demonstration Plots on Farmers Fields
Research elsewhere indicates that field testing is conducted with male
farmers and usually ignores the role of women in planting, weeding, harvesting
and processing. Fortman (1980) reports that agricultural researchers tradi-
tionally have performed their field tests on research stations. She urges
that agricultural researchers move off the research station and on to the farm
for trials to discern the specific problems encountered by women in changing
agricultural practices. This suggestion is also applicable to the CRSP.
Gaining access to farms that are headed by females may be difficult for
cultural reasons; however, these problems are not insurmountable and should
not prevent researchers from including these households since they are the
ones most likely to be disadvantaged and in need of information. Kerven
(1976) notes that another field testing strategy might involve the entire
community so that researchers could more fully understand how such a social
unit is mobilized in development projects.
The strategy advocated in selecting farmers to conduct on-farm
demonstrations is to focus on women farmers as the principal bean and cowpea
producers. It is important that women with and without males as heads of
household be included in any on-farm research conducted by the project, as the
literature indicates they may confront different types of production
Giving demonstration farmers an opportunity to voice their opinions about
what they have been doing and the changes they have made to ensure production
and harvest of new cowpea varieties is seen as beneficial. These meetings need
to be considered from the perspective of time availability, political and
social participation and traditional perceptions of women speaking out at
public meetings. It may be useful to design this in such a manner that women
have a chance to voice their opinions in small peer groups or individually to
Several other considerations which relate to the project deserve mention.
Women's Legal Status and Land
Schapera (1953) outlined what women's legal positions were in Tswana
society and Comaroff and Roberts (1977) described changes in their legal status
occasioned by migration. It is unclear how pervasive these changes are and
how they affect the various jural roles ascribed to women. For instance, women
who win their cases in court are often paid fines in cattle. Have women, as a
result, become more involved in cattle herding? Do they purchase more cattle
to augment their own herds or are their cattle integrated into a male kinsmen's
herd? Answers to these questions have a direct bearing on women's access to
and ownership of draught power.
Another question related to their legal status is the issue of land
ownership. While Cooper (1979) found that women can inherit land, be granted
rights to it by Land Boards or petition traditional authorities for a plot, it
is unclear how extensive these practices are. Kooijman (1980) found that, for
Bokaa, women's asset ownership is very low. If there is a direct link between
land ownership and on-farm decision making, then more micro-level information
is needed on women and land tenure. Also required is data concerning the
relationship of land-owning and decision-making. Presumably, ownership by (or
allocation of land to) a male household head implies that he decides which
plots are to be planted in certain crops. Does this same pattern hold when
there is a de facto female household head?
Compatibility of Beer Brewing and Cowpea Production
The literature on women's income generating strategies suggests that beer
brewing is of paramount importance. Proceeds are used to pay for children's
school fees, purchase seed and food, provide for the birth of a child, etc.
If early-maturing cowpea varieties are introduced, the timing of the required
agricultural tasks must be such that they do not conflict with beer brewing.
If this is not feasible, efforts should be made to ascertain if the net return
from cowpea sales is comparable. Otherwise, introduction of a cowpea variety
that requires attention at a peak beer-brewing time may not be accepted as this
latter activity is a more reliable form of income generation.
The Division of Labor
In the literature, it is unclear what the specific unit of on-farm
production is. A more thorough analysis of this as it relates to the division
of labor and female headed households would be useful. Questions to explore
might include--how are traditional male tasks accomplished in female headed
households? Without males present, what strategies do women employ to have
their fields ploughed, especially if they have no draught power? Are such
households more disadvantaged than others? Is there a critical point at which
women who are heads or members of such households abandon independent farming
and either migrate or turn to other income-generating activities such as
sharecropping or full-time beer brewing? What other strategies are developed
to insure women's own social reproduction? If women decide to migrate, how is
the unit of production redefined?
Cooperatives and Marketing
Since labor and draught power availability is so problematic, what group
strategies have been generated to alleviate these constraints? Have
cooperatives or mutual assistance organizations been organized to cultivate
and sell crops? If these are active in the rural areas, what is the extent of
women's participation in them? Does participation alleviate asset and labor
shortfall problems? How?
Since cooperatives are often organized to market crops more effectively, do
such arrangements exist for cowpeas? Where are cowpeas marketed? According to
the survey published by the Botswana government in 1971, most of the surplus
was sold in South Africa. Given the political economy of Southern Africa, does
this practice still continue? Have local markets been generated either in the
formal or informal economic sector? Do women sell cowpeas? Are local-level
prices obtained for cowpeas comparable to those published by the government or
those obtainable in urban areas? Such information might have a direct bearing
on household time and task allocation in part determining whether it would be
worthwhile for a farmer to alter existing cowpea cultivating practices and
Drought and Food Aid
Because of Botswana's cyclical drought conditions, some 30% of households
have relied at one time or another on food aid. Has this had any long-range
effect on the cropping patterns employed by farmers? For example, does the
availability of food-aid millet reduce the amount cultivated, thus releasing
part of the field for planting in other crops?
Use of Manure and Fertilizer
While chemical fertilizer use is not widespread, Lucas (1981) and Alverson
(1984) note that manuring is practiced in several areas. No information exists
concerning who is responsible for manuring and whether it is used on all
planted land or simply for staple crop production. Presumably there is a
relation between number of animals owned and manuring. It may very well be,
however, that grazing land is in one area while cropping land is in another,
thus necessitating transport of manure from pasture or kraals to fields. Lack
of a wagon or scotch cart could represent a major bottleneck, making it
difficult to apply manure at appropriate times.' Information needs to be
gathered on the specifics of manuring and how it is transported to the fields.
Concerning the tools and implements the project intends to introduce, are
the Brigades able to manufacture, use and repair these implements? Can women
be involved in the process and thus serve as innovators when they complete
their training? More generally, what do people do after they have been
trained in a Brigade? Do women who have participated in such training become
better income generators? Are women taught improved methods of cultivation as
part of the curriculum?
Summary and Conclusions
For project success, two points regarding agriculture in Botswana are of
crucial importance. The first concerns the central role of women as the
principal cowpea producers and the second the conditions of resource scarcity
experienced by many farmers. Many households lack labor and draught power at
crucial points in the agricultural cycle. In part, this is due to their
precarious economic situation but it is also an outgrowth of the social
organization of production, kinship ties and class relationships. Production
strategies employed to ensure family survival vary by gender, stage in the
household members' life cycle, political and socio-cultural practices; economic
and physical resource constraints, government policies and climatic factors are
also important. While not all are of equal relevance to the CRSP project,
these variables provide the broad context in which decisions regarding crop
production are made.
The literature on migration indicates that improvements in the agricultural
sector often result from actions taken in other sectors. Current studies
indicate that remittances and other resources gained from labor migration have
already been cut back; South African mine owners are hiring fewer expatriate
workers. This action will have drastic effects on cropping and ranching
practices in Botswana. The return of male migrants to rural and urban areas
will once again alter the social organization of agricultural production. The
decline in remittances to rural households makes even more urgent the need for
the CRSP to achieve its overall goal--to generate mininum-cost means of
enhancing cowpea production to provide greater nutritional intake to Botswanan
This goal can be achieved by conducting research clarifying some of the
central issues raised in this Resource Guide. Perhaps the most crucial area
of study for the CRSP project is the social organization of agriculture
production. Given the differential make-up of production units, the land and
implements available, local-level political organization, the division of
labor, etc., how is production organized to ensure minimum yields of any and
all crops? Do male and female headed households manage production differently?
Is use of particular tools gender related? What strategies do these households
employ in satisfying timely labor and draught power needs? Have cooperatives
been formed to meet these and marketing needs? What roles do women play in the
entire cropping and marketing enterprise of cowpeas as opposed to other
vegetables and grain crops? How do gender-specific cropping patterns effect
yield? Are monetary returns for the sale of cowpeas as attractive as those
received from sorghum beer brewing? Has the growing number of returned male
migrants produced an additional effect on agricultural production?
With this expanded information base, the Bean/Cowpea CRSP should be able
not only to greatly enhance the ability of the project to meet its objectives,
but also perform a greater service to the people of Botswana.
III. THE ROLE OF WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS IN BOTSWANAN DEVELOPMENT
Women in Botswana have needs, interests, experiences and concerns that
have led them to organize in particular social, economic and political
Women's organizations did not originate with Botswana's independence in
1966. Long before that time groups were formed for collective labor, such as
weeding, harvesting, house building and village projects. As some of their
activities were seasonal, these groups were informally organized. Formed from
families living in close proximity to one another, groups often served social
service type functions.
Historically age regiments were important social organizational structures.
Male regiments cut across kinship and local-level political boundaries. Both
male and female regiments were engaged in work for the benefit of the village,
district or national leaders. Female regiments generally performed
agricultural and home-building tasks.
While it is uncertain how much of an effect age regiments continue to have
on social organization, interviews with representatives of Kgatleng and North
East Districts indicate that women do cooperate to perform certain social
functions. They organize to raise funds to help each other. When members'
children marry, women's groups take the initiative in clearing the area where
the marriage is to take place, and on the day of the wedding, the group
prepares food or brews beer. Women are honored to perform this service and do
it voluntarily. The degree to which women engage in cooperative labor in
agricultural production and other enterprises deserves further investigation.
Literature on women in other parts of Africa suggest that such groups may
provide an important vehicle in development.
In the mid 1970s, the government began identifying problems faced by women
in rural areas. As discussed earlier, within the Ministry of Agriculture,
there are female extension agents and cooperative extension personnel (Women's
Bureau) who operate at the village level in an effort to ease women's
agricultural burdens. Within the Ministry, the Women's Bureau focuses on
social and economic integration of women in development efforts. Occasionally
women are selected from village cooperatives to participate in agricultural
training programs that emphasize ways to broaden traditional skills into
commercial activities. Training programs might include foci on literacy,
nutrition, health care and leadership.
There is a central "umbrella" organization, operating through the Ministry
of Home Affairs--The Women's Affairs Unit (WAU) which acts as a coordinating
body for many women's groups. Women's organizations are not legally recognized
unless they have a constitution and are registered under the Societies Act with
the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Although informal organizations remain important, there are many formal
ones. Detailed information on the most relevant of these on CRSP purposes is
1. Name of Organization:
Botswana Council of Women (BCW)
P. 0. Box 339, Gaborone, Botswana
President, Vice-President, Chairman, Secretary
Liaison Officer, Treasurer
To develop good citizenship among women; promote
mutual understanding between different cultures;
encourage high standards of living through self
National or International
Branches in Country:
Organize seminars for urban and rural women; hold
meetings to discuss social problems; take part in
Government-sponsored events, participate in
community activities such as building of nursery
schools, clinics, bus shelters, restrooms;
organize home and hospital visits; encourage women
in home gardening and vegetable growing; undertake
fund raising activities to promote projects for
the advancement of women.
Member of International Council of Women
The BCW is the most active of all women's organizations, serving most of
Botswana. For example, in the Central District in 1973, the BCW had branches
in 19 villages with a combined membership of 334. In the Ghanzi area, in
1972, this group had 58 women members. With the arrival of the Community
Development staff, the activities of BCW in this region increased, both
groups assisting each other to achieve their set goals. In the Katleng
District, the BCW with other organizations, such as the Young Women's
Christian Association, Botswana Guides, the Trefoil, the Tri-Ys and 4-8
Clubs, took keen interest and had active participation in the promotion of
family welfare and youth training.
When the Botswana Council of Women was established in 1965, its original
purpose was to unify existing women's groups in the country. This objective
has never been completely fulfilled and the organization has developed new
objectives. The Council is one of the largest women's organizations in the
country. Membership in the organization is also open to men and a few have
2. Name of Organization:
Botswana Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
P. 0. Box 350, Gaborone, Botswana
President, Vice-President, National Secretary,
Render community services to help women and young
National or International
Branches in Country:
Informal education, adult education, literacy
programs, teaching of handicrafts to young girls,
food-raising activities, setting up community
clinics, running day-care centers and
kindergartens, building bus stop shelters and
running a private secondary school.
World YWCA in Geneva
Three in urban centers, thirty-seven in rural areas
In Botswana, the YWCA is the second most active women's group. In the
Central District alone, this organization had branches in 10 villages by 1973
with a combined membership of 227. Literacy, cookery and baby care classes
were held in addition to the provision of bus shelters and toilets.
The most outstanding service provided by the Y.W.C.A. in Botswana is its work
with refugees. The organization has rented houses to accommodate refugees
and enrolled them in Y.W.C.A. programs.
3. Name of Organization:
Business and Professional Women's Club of Gaborone
P. 0. Box 654, Gaborone, Botswana
President, Two Vice-Presidents, Principal Officers
National or International
Branches in Country:
4. Name of Organization:
To uphold the interest and advancement of
experienced professional women; to promote higher
education in professional activities; to contribute
to the community by provision of facilities; to
increase involvement of women in development
Fund raising, collect subscriptions from members;
organize around community and other local issues
such as price control and cost of living; sponsor
art exhibitions for children; head local and
regional meetings and conferences
International Federation of Business and
Association of Botswana Women's Organizations
Secretary, Association of Botswana Women's
Organizations, P.O. Box 1305, Gaborone
President, Vice-President, Permanent Secretary
To co-ordinate development programs and activities
of all registered women's organizations in the
country; to negotiate with government and other
institutions in matters affecting the interest of
women in Botswana; to be a link between member
organizations and the Government, International
Women's Associations and other agencies.
The association does not have any individual members
but consists of the member organizations as stated
below. It is led by an elected seven member commit-
tee from various registered women's organizations.
This committee consists of a chairman, a vice chair-
man, a secretary, a vice secretary, a treasurer and
two committee members. There are also three
ex-officio members, i.e., a representative of the
Ministry of Local Government and Lands, a represen-
tative of the Ministry of Home Affairs and a
representative of the Botswana Christian Council.
National or International
Branches in Country:
5. Name of Organization:
Being newly formed the Association has not as yet
engaged in any activities, but the following plans
have been discussed: 1) annual general confer-
ences, 2) seminars--follow-up and reports by
members who have attended conferences, seminars and
courses abroad, 3) hosting of future interna-
tional conferences, 4) a poultry keeping project to
be located in Gaborone, 5) the association is also
discussing building of offices and a hall.
Has six affiliates. The Association of Botswana
Women's Organizations is a co-ordinating body made
up of the following member organizations: Young
Women's Christian Association, Business and.
Professional Women's Association, Christian Women's
Fellowship, Botswana Nurses Association, Botswana
Girl Guides Association, Women in Development
Committee. All the above member organizations
operate at a national level.
Women's Affairs Unit (WAU)
Ministry of Home Affairs, P/B 002, Gaborone
To coordinate women's actitivies in Botswana at
local, national and international levels; to
disseminate information; to conduct research on the
overall situation of women; to work with different
government departments on issues related to women.
Open to all, particularly women in rural areas.
Organize seminars; act as a central body
disseminating information; make women aware of
political issues inside their country; press for
better living and working conditions for women and
provide assistance to women's groups and
individuals, wherever possible, through pamphlets,
talks and workshops.
National or International
Branches in Country:
Women's Development Planning and Advisory Committee
The Woman is the One Who Carries the Nation
International Women's Organizations
These are organizations that have affiliates in Botswana.
1. Name of Organization:
International Alliance of Women (IAW)
National or International
Branches in Country:
Promote all reforms as are necessary to establish a
real equality of liberties, status and oppor-
tunities between men and women; urge women to use
their rights and influence in public life to ensure
that the status of every individual, without dis-
tinction of sex, race or creed, shall be based on
respect for human personality, the only guarantee
for individual freedom; take part in constructive
work to promote understanding between nations.
National affiliated societies in 53 countries
ECOSOC; UNESCO; ILO; FAO (liaison status); UNICEF;
UNCTAD; CI of Europe; NGO Relations, Member of
Liaison Committee of Women's International
International Women's News; Journey Towards Freedom
History of IAW; Digest of International Conventions
Related to the Status of Women; The 20th
Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights;
Reports of Congresses and Seminars
2. Name of Organization:
International Council of Women (ICW)
13 rue Caumartin, F-75009 Paris, France
Plenary Assembly, President, Immediate Post
President, and others.
Bring together in association women's voluntary
organizations from all parts of the world for
consultation and action to promote the welfare of
mankind, the family and the individual; support
efforts to achieve peace through negotiation,
arbitration and conciliation; promote recognition
and respect for human rights and work for the
removal of discrimination, such as that based on
birth, race, sex, language or religion; promote
equal rights and responsibilities for both sexes in
all spheres; encourage women to recognize their
responsibilities in the community and train and
stimulate them to participate in public life on
local, national and international levels; deepen
the understanding and increase the mutual
sympathies of women through international contacts.
National Councils, composed of national and local
women's organizations of different scope in 74
Has supported the ideas of international peace and
arbitration, equal legal status for women
(including suffrage and rights of citizenship,
equal pay for equal work), family and child
welfare. Work is directed to making known the
principles of human rights and achieving their
application in every aspect of life. International
Standing Committees (13) on: Arts and Letters
(with a Sub-Committee on Music); Child and Family;
Economics, Education, Environment and Habitat;
Health, Home Economics, International Relations and
Peace; Laws and Status of Women; Mass Media,
Migration, Social Welfare, Women and Employment.
Study of questions which affect the status of women
and their capacity to play an active part in all
aspects of life. Regional seminars on human
rights, literacy, education, the advancement of
women and their participation in economic and
National or International
Branches in Country:
3. Name of Organization:
ECOSOC; UNESCO; UNICEF; FAO; ILO; WHO; UNCTAD;
UNDP; UNEP. The European Centre of the Council has
Consultative Status with Council of Europe; NGO
Relations Conference of International
Non-Governmental Organizations approved by
Consultative Arrangements A and B with UNESCO;
'Non-Governmental Organizations Committee on
UNICEF. Founder member of Liaison Committee on
Women's International Organizations
ICW Newsletter, History of ICW and National
Councils, Highlights in History of ICW, Community
Development (parts I and II), Women in Modern Life
and Work, Literacy--a Social Experience, Women in a
Changing World: a History of ICW, Anthologie de la
poesie feminine mondiale, Women and the UN, ICW
resolutions, Congress reports
Women's Corona Society
501 Eland House, Stag Place, London
National or International
Branches in Country:
Provide a link between women of different
countries, promote friendship and understanding by
increasing knowledge of other cultures and customs,
with particular reference to the Commonwealth; give
practical help and information to women who are
going to live in countries other than their own.
Branches and groups in 24 countries and territories.
Living Overseas Courses, Triennial Conference,
4. Name of Organization:
National or International
Branches in Country:
World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
377 quai Wilson, CH-1201 Geneve, Switzerland
Council composed of delegates from National
Associations; Executive Committee
Unite associations which are working in accordance
with its basis and principles and meet the require-
ments for affiliation; coordinate them into a world
movement; act on their behalf in matters for which
it has received authority.
Associations in 79 countries.
International and Regional conferences of members;
study of educational, social and economic questions
particularly those concerning the status of women
and youth, family life, migration, inter-racial
relationships, mutual service between associations,
exchange of leaders, and publications, rehabili-
tation work with refugees and migrants, Christian
education and ecumenical questions; Leadership
training, problems of women and youth in a changing
world; problems of women and girls migrating abroad
for economic reasons, peace, environment, housing,
rural and urban development, education (life-long,
adult, vocational, literacy, cultural, ecumenical);
job creation; family life education; political
education; participation in national development;
international voluntary service; work with youth
and students; health, human rights.
ECOSOC; UNESCO; FAO; UNICEF; ILO; UNHCR; NGO
Relations; Member of Conference of Non-Governmental
Organizations in Consultative Status with the
United Nations Economic and Social Council (CONGO),
International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA),
Non-Governmental Organizatins Committee on UNICEF
Common Concern; World YWCA Directory; Annual
Report; Pack of Europe (booklet of addresses for
young people travelling in Europe); Programme of
Cooperation for Development, programme materials,
Leadership in Women's Organizations in Botswana
In most of the organizations, leadership positions are open to all members
and are reviewed annually or once every three years. At times, officers in
some organizations are drawn from the elite circles (e.g., the chief's wife).
When this is the case, other women may be reluctant to voice their opinions
and truly participatory types of activities may be limited.
Funding for Women's Organizations
There is a serious lack of funds to carry out many of the proposed
projects. Most of the money comes from the women's fund-raising efforts.
Because of the lack of funds and information about funding agencies, some
viable projects have been postponed. With access to more flexible and
reliable funding sources, women's organizations in Botswana could be more
responsive and supportive of local initiatives.
University of Botswana
Tel. Gaborone 51151
Until recently, higher education in Botswana was provided by the University
of Botswana and Swaziland, which was comprised of two university colleges--one
at Gaborone, Botswana and the other at Manzini, Swaziland. To date, Botswana
has an autonomous higher education system through the University College of
The University of Botswana provides instruction in humanities, science,
economics, social sciences and education. It includes the Institute of Adult
Education and the National Institute for Research in Development and African
Studies. In the Institute of Adult Education, activities fall into 3
categories: social development, including education through study groups for
organizations of savings and credit societies, agriculture modernization
schemes and community development programs (co-op, housing, etc.); adult
studies (courses, conferences and seminars for specific groups); training
through university's academic resources and with external assistance for
upgrading of civil servants and leadership development. Methods include mass
meetings, radio broadcasting, week-end study conferences, short and long term
courses and study clubs. Close liaison with appropriate government
departments, since activities of division is directly related to government
1. Lobatse Teachers' Training College
2. Serowe Teachers' Training College
3. Francistown Teachers' Training Colleges
1. Matsha Community College
Martin L. Bryram
Boipelego Education Project
2. Tutume Community College
P. O. Tutume
IV. A Selected and Annotated Bibliography
This bibliography is a selected guide to materials on women's work in
agricultural production in Botswana. It draws on a number of previously-
existing bibliographies, especially the one prepared by Eicher (1981) and data
sources such as Dissertation Abstracts International, Sociological Abstracts,
the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), Agricola, CAIN and Resources in
Annotations written by other authors have been: utilized. In many cases,
additional commentary of relevance to the project has been added.
Most of the materials cited are available at Michigan State University.
Resources were reviewed from the Non-Formal Education Center, the Agricultural
Economics Reference Room, the Women in Development Reading Room and from the
main library. Where documents are noted without annotation, the referenced
material was not available. These were included in the bibliography because
they appear to provide information relevant to the CRSP project.
Africa South of the Sahara. 13th ed. 1983-84. London: Europa Publishers,
Analyses of physical and social geography and of the economy are set forth
followed by a statistical survey which provides an economic profile of the
country. A directory provides data on the government, the press, finance,
trade and industry, transport, etc. and a brief bibliography concludes the
description. This volume offers general and statistical overviews of all
the countries of Africa. No specific information on women is included.
Allison, Christine. The Determinants of Participation in Primary Schools in
Kweneng, With Special Reference to Cattle and Mine Labour Migration.
Gaborone: National Migration Study/Central Statistics Office, 1978.
Considers the Tswana household as the decision-making unit, vis-a-vis
primary schooling in exploring the relationship between the number of
adults in the household and the demand for children's schooling: whether
children from female-headed households are more inclined to go to school;
whether more educated parents will demand more education for their
children; whether as labor migration increases, household demand for
schooling falls; whether households living in communities with good schools
have higher level of demand; and if communities with good employment
prospects have higher demand for schooling. (Eicher Bibliography)
Alverson, Hoyt. "Agricultural Development in Botswana: Targets and
Constraints." Institute of Development Management Public Lectures,
November 23, 1978, Gaborone, 1978. Mimeo.
Outlines some problems facing Botswana in its national effort to develop
agriculture, based upon the major goals stated in Botswana's Fourth
National Development Plan: (1) attaining self-sufficiency in production
of essential staple crops; (2) providing secure and adequate livelihoods
for Botswana; (3) eliminating political and economic dependence on
Rhodesia and South Africa; and (4) saving (earning) foreign exchange.
S"Arable Agriculture in Botswana: Some Contributions of the
Traditional Social Formation." Rural Africana, Spring/Fall 1979: 33-47.
Analyzes what is already known about the socioeconomic organization of
arable agriculture in Botswana. Identifies information gaps and suggests
ways in which national policy implications about the development of
agriculture may be drawn. (Eicher Bibliography)
The first question Alverson poses is what is the social and economic
organization of agriculture in Botswana? His answers include the follow-
ing: the proportion of the total population involved in arable production
is declining; towns and large villages are experiencing an increase in
population; pressures on land are increasing due to demands for both more
grazing and arable land; crop failures are frequent due to variation in
rainfall; variation in yields and in hectarage cultivated are attributable
to a multiple of factors; the rights and privileges of access to the means
of production, even within households, are not equal; traditional agricul-
ture is not self-sustaining or self-financing; the contribution of agri-
cultural production to total household income shows a convex curvilinear
relationship; overgrazing is a serious problem; traditional social
institutions contribute to arable production, distribution and consumption.
The second question Alverson explores deals with areas of controversy and/
or consensus in the literature. The first concerns draught power. He
notes that between 30 and 45 percent of households that cultivate do not
own or have access to cattle as draught power as a traditional right. The
next concerns the high opportunity cost of expanding food production vs.
the lower costs involved in migrating to work elsewhere. The traditional
social formation of the household and its context in a broader social unit
comprise the fabric of a community. Exchange to enhance survival occurs
within and between each of these units. The traditional system of mafisa--
loaning cattle out to get milk and offspring--includes the use of cattle
for draught. However, it is highly unusual, given social custom, for a
female who is head of a household to receive such cattle as care of these
animals is normally the domain of men.
SMind in the Heart of Darkness. New Haven: Yale University
This ethnography on the Tswana seeks answers to the question of how social
institutions shape an individual's beliefs about who and what he is.
Specifically, Alverson considers the effect of working in the mines in
South Africa on men who go there on labor migration. Although the study
offers a wealth of information on the Tswana, including their own self-
perceptions, certain comments are more relevant to this bibliography than
Great emphasis is placed by Tswana people on kinship as the basis on which
the political, juridical, economic and religious aspects of society are
organized. Age is an important ranking criteria and is elaborated in a
complex system of age-set or age-regiments (an offshoot pattern of social
organization predating the mfecane, the spread of the Zulu under Shaka in
the 19th Century). Male and female adolescents are separated into sexually
segregated sets and remain in these sets throughout life. Leadership in
age sets normally rests upon a royal's relative who is a member of the set.
These sets are activated at the local level for warfare (in pre-colonial
times), public works, hunting, policing of executive decrees, entertain-
Traditionally women were viewed as minors dependent on a male kinsmen.
Marriage was not fully consummated until the negotiated bridewealth from
the man's family was transferred to the woman's. Since Tswana highly
value their cattle as being the source of their wealth and prestige, women
are often referred to as cows who will produce a nation at her husband's
place. Since Tswana society is patrilineal and patrilocal (descent through
the male line with residence at the father's village), women are removed
as productive units from their parents' household. For this removal
recompense is made to the female's family in the form of bridewealth.
These practices, however, are no longer strongly adhered to in favor of a
young man making his own marriage arrangements without bothering to
Concerning education, Alverson commented that it is women more often than
men who want their children educated so that they might better adapt to
changing conditions; men generally see education as economically necessary.
He asserts that because more women value education as a means to advance
they are also more adaptable than men in seizing ways to earn income--
cottage industry, petty trade, etc.--and that this income often exceeds
the cash value of what men can receive from slaughtering stock. The
traditional view of women held by Tswana elders (men) is that women cannot
work for themselves so they should get married. Economics and ecology,
among other things, have altered this view of women drastically.
While the major portion of Alverson's analysis is on the miners who return
to Botswana, there is a great deal of information on the Tswana in Eastern
Kweneng, Central Kweneng (Kalahari Desert) and Gaborone.
The Social and Economic Context of Agriculture in Botswana:
Some Indicators. Gaborone: Institute of Development Management Research,
Paper No. 6, 1979.
Summarizes results of a small-scale study of the principal social and
economic features of contemporary farming practices in general and in the
Kweneng district of Botswana in particular. Findings confirm existence of
a class system in rural Botswana which has numerous important implications
for the organization and practice of agriculture. (Eicher Bibliography)
S__"The Wisdom of Tradition in the Development of Dry-Land
Farming: Botswana." Human Organization, Vol. 43, No. 1, Spring 1984:
While economists have developed theories of small-farm production, the
author states that little or no attention is paid to the cultural organiza-
tion of agriculture in the total context of social reproduction. The lack
of this focus has led economists to design development programs to change
production techniques with added technology or institutional innovation in
order to achieve increased yields. He argues that great potential exists
to increase production within the culture of traditional agriculture as it
is practiced and uses the case of Botswana to illustrate this point.
Alverson begins his case study with some background information on
Botswana: arable land is between 13,000 km and 30,000 km. About 80,000
rural households participate in.either arable and/or livestock production,
with between 400,000 and 600,000 ha. under regular cultivation. Population
growth is more than 3% per year and urban populations have grown as a
result of natural increase and the decreased need for migrant miners in
South Africa. Towns are growing at about 13% per year. Concerning crop
production, sorghum, maize and millet constitute the principal sources of
food energy. Some 50% of the 80,000 households engaged in farming culti-
vate fewer than 3 ha. and 18% do not cultivate at all. Only 10% of farmers
in 1980 cultivated more than 7 ha. Less than 8% cultivated more than 8
ha., the minimum required to feed a household of 7 or 8 members. House-
holds which do not own cattle and must borrow them in 1980 planted only 1.7
ha., those with 1-10 cattle planted an average of 2.6 ha., those with 11-40
planted 3.8 ha. Larger herd ownership does not correlate with arable
agriculture but with commercial cattle ranching income.
Cattle Herd Average Area Yield per
Size Cultivated Hectare
0 1.7 106 kgs
1-10 2.6 102
11-20 3.8 130
21-30 3.9 148
31-40 3.7 141
41-50 4.5 215
51-60 4.0 133
In reporting on the Integrated Farming Pilot Project (IFPP) at Pelotshetla,
35 kms from Kange, the Southern District capital, Alverson found that there
are 23,000 ha. of arable land and 325 farming households. Only 35 families
did not have easy access to cattle and most farmers plough between 6 and 10
ha. Ploughing is done with a single mouldboard plough drawn by between 4
and 12 in-spanned oxen. The most widely grown crops are sorghum, maize,
millet, beans and cowpeas, with sorghum and maize accounting for over 90%
Alverson then goes on to discuss the "package" of arable practice
recommended to traditional farmers as opposed to the practices already in
place. These include:
a) Winter (dry-season) ploughing or
or sweeping to kill weeds and reduce
reduce compaction of soil, thereby
reducing water loss through evapo-
ration and transpiration
b) Regular crop rotation but omis-
sion of a grass phase in the cycle.
(Grass does not add much humus
because of termite activity and
the high temperature of the soil.)
c) Use of precision tools (either
ox-drawn or tractor-drawn) in
plowing, planting and weeding.
d) Application of fertilizers
(250 kg superphosphate per hectare
for sorghum and 250 kg 2-3-0 per
hectare for maize.)
e) Use of improved seeds.
f) Two weedings after planting.
g) Planting after first rains in
h) Harvesting immediately at
maturity to reduce loss from birds
a) Ploughing only after the first
summer rain, with planting immediately
b) No information is given on this
c) The single-blade plow is the only
tool used; seeds are broadcast.
d) No fertilizer is used, except
manure intermittently and irregularly.
e) No information given in this
f) One weeding, if any at all.
Planting immediately after summer
Harvesting depends, as does ploughing,
on labor availability.
A comparison of the two systems reveals that the IFPP requires much more
labor (150.58 hours of bird scaring vs. 28.18 in the traditional system),
a much greater capital investment, and much higher use of inputs which are
available only for cash. Alverson found that the traditional system yields
a more favorable return than the IFPP. He also points out that the intro-
duction of fertilizer makes weeds grow faster and that labor is not avail-
able to do more than one weeding. This illustrates that any change in the
production system has ramifications for the entire system.
In conducting trials on changing planting practices, it was found that
traditional methods of hand broadcasting associated with timely ploughing
after the ground is wet increases yields by almost 100%. Thus it is
argued that changes not in the forces of production but in the quality,
timing and patterning of various tasks associated with management of the
arable cycle have more long-term impact in terms of increasing yields.
Arntzen, Jaap W. Firewood Collection in Mosomone: Kgatleng. Gaborone:
University of Botswana, Institute for Development Research and
Documentation, Research Note No. 11, 1983.
Undertaken as part of a broader research-utilization project in Kgatleng
District, this study focuses on the collection and use of various species
of wood for the purpose of making fires. Data is analyzed on the basis of
stratification with varying levels of people making use of different
resources. The author states that firewood is collected by women in
Kgatleng, but that if donkey-carts or sledges are used for transporting
wood, men are often involved. Wood is collected by the members of each
household for their own use, although some surplus may be sold. Selling
wood, however, is not an important source of income to households in
Mosomone. The frequency of collection varies from daily to once a month
depending on means of transport, season and household size. Distances
travelled range between 0-9 kms per trip, each round trip takes from 1-4
Bailey, Charles Ray. Cattle Husbandry in the Communal Areas of Eastern
Botswana. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University, 1982.
This study is about cattle husbandry in the semi-arid, unfenced and
communally held rangelands of eastern Botswana. People keep cattle for a
variety of reasons, among them the use of cattle draft power in arable
agriculture, the sale of cattle to meet immediate cash needs, home
consumption of meat and dairy products and the accumulation of wealth.
Since the last major drought in 1965/66, the cattle population of Botswana
has approximately doubled and now poses a potential threat to the long-run
carrying capacity of the country's rangelands. The open-access nature of
the range removes the individual incentive to limit stock numbers or to
systematically rotate animals among different grazing areas. Although
cattle are the best means for exploiting the water and land resources of
eastern Botswana, only half of all rural households hold cattle.
This study was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the use and
management of two of Botswana's major natural resources--land and water--
for the production of cattle. The analysis proceeded on two levels:
1) the aggregate effects of individual decision making on range condition
and water resource management and development, and 2) the effects on
individual herds of cattle holder herd management. Empirical data were
gathered through a series of questionnaires and open-ended interviews
carried out with 245 cattle holders in twelve communities in eastern
Botswana during 1979/80.
Stocking rates were found to be substantially higher than those recommended
by government range ecologists. Cattle holders appeared to be building up
their herds to take the fullest advantage of the forage produced by a
succession of good rainfall years. Water was not a constraint on growth
in herd numbers. Water availability did vary seasonally and from place to
place, but not enough to shift cattle and allow the range to recover from
local grazing pressure. Cattle holders required at least 35 to 40 animals
to plow with a full team of oxen. Net revenue in cash and kind reached an
initial maximum in herds of between 41 and 50 head. (Dissertation
Behnke, Roy and Kerven, Carol. "FSR and the Attempt to Understand the Goal and
Motivations of Farmers." Culture and Agriculture, Vol. 19, Spring 1983:
In Botswana less than 1/4 of all farm dwelling units are solely dependent
upon agriculture; 2/3 obtain more than 40 percent of their income in off-
farm labor. While FSR researchers may be concerned with measuring and
increasing farm income, farmers are concerned with stabilizing and
increasing their entire income, much of which may come from non-farm
employment. One risk-reducing strategy employed is cooperation among close
kin. The authors cite a case study in which an old, non-farming mother
lives with her youngest son and two daughters, with the eldest brother
living elsewhere. The two daughters and the son farm three plots, but
hire-in animal traction from their older brother, while the younger brother
hires out his own traction. The younger brother provides cattle in return
for the labor of his sisters and their oldest daughters. The younger
brother has only small children. The women brew beer and pay the older
brother for animal traction with the proceeds. The authors pose the
question, what constitutes the household in this case?
Households are governed by kin relationships and rules, not by close
calculations of short-term costs and benefits. Meeting with people outside
of the household is not economic but social--the family, as broadly
defined, acts as a unit of production with family-type relations extended
to the world at large. Family relations are never limited as that would
limit risk reducing strategy. Designing recommendation domains may obfus-
cate the economic and social interdependence of the community under study.
Every assistance or risk-reduction network will have overlapping members in
contiguous areas or among the broader family. There is a heterogeneity of
contiguous farms in which a degree of specialization has occurred. Thus,
communities really constitute multi-household production units or supra-
household cooperation networks.
The authors advocate selection of "dwelling units" rather than households
as units of analysis in applying research methodology since all other units
have multiple and overlapping layers of allegiance, cooperation, membership
and residence. Probing of these units would lead researchers into other
rural and urban networks.
Belien, J. The Suitability of Horticultural Crops in the Okavango Area.
Gaborone: UNDP/FAO Project, Swamp and Dryland Soils of the Okavango
Delta, Project Field Document No. 8, June 1978.
Provides a broad outline of optimum horticultural practices and varieties.
Indicates which crops are economically viable. (Eicher Bibliography)
The Suitability of Some Vegetables in the Okavango Area
Swamp and Dryland Soils of the Okavango Delta. Gaborone: UNDP/FAO, June
Provides field data on crop varieties, trials, climatic influence,
irrigation, fertilizing, spacing and crop yields. (Eicher Bibliography)
Bell, Morag. "Rural-Urban Movement Among Botswana's Skilled Manpower--Some
Observations on the Two Sector Model." Africa, Vol. 50, No. 4 (1980):
This study seeks to achieve three goals which run counter to modernization
theory assumptions concerning rural-urban migration: 1) identify the
influence of formal training on the propensity to migrate, 2) assess the
level of integration of migrants into the urban community, and 3) question
the effect of movement on rural households and rural production, as well as
on urban social processes and labor market conditions.
Where young people have received education up to the Junior Certificate
level, good prospects for securing well-paid employment in the public
sector are available. (Those with only primary school leaving certificates
are not deemed "educated".) While the Tswana have a tradition of movement
to take care of their cattle and crops, the decision of an individual to
migrate into the city is based upon a perception of job availability
(learned about through communication along kin and friendship networks)
and the presence of a relative in the city with whom to stay. Those with
Cambridge level education and higher apply directly to ministries for work
and secure jobs. Hence, migration of the more educated population is
employer-centered, while migration by lesser educated individuals is
potential employee-centered. Women fall mainly into the less educated
category, and job commitment and security are viewed as even more
important for independent females with families. Females who are living
in the urban areas with their husbands tend to be better educated and
better off since many women in this category waited until they finished
their education before marrying and/or having children.
Willingness to consider the city home was found to be a function of
education, with concomitant job security, the ability to buy a house or,
for less-educated, lower-income migrants, whether family members (kin)
were also in the city.
Ties to people in the rural areas remained strong with those earning
adequate wages sending remittances at least once every three months. For
many, a monthly return visit to work on the cattle posts or in the fields
was normal, while for those who did not receive adequate wages both
remittances and return visits were less frequent. The urban elite also
maintain a traditional stratification pattern in that part of their
earnings are invested in the purchase of cattle. Investment in land and
cattle provide a useful supplement to urban wage.
As Bell puts it, "The spouse was based permanently at the rural home with
authority to organize and manage the lands and cattle post, while the
migrant returned home regularly at weekends." In this way both the farm
and the urban migrant could support each other. However, independent
women in town do not have a rural spouse and so must depend on other
relationships for support.
Bettles, F. M. Women's Access to Agricultural Extension Services in Botswana.
Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Field
Services, Women's Extension Unit, 1980.
This paper presents an analysis of women's extension work in Botswana,
relating it to the wider context of women's role in agriculture
generally. The analysis is presented in three parts: an overview of
agriculture with specific emphasis on constraints faced by female farmers
(including land ownership, arable efficiency, access to draft power, labor
and equipment); an historical overview of women's extension activities
(including the Integrated Farming Pilot Project, courses for women,
liaison activities and policy proposals); and proposals for the future
integration of women into agricultural policies and projects. The final
section includes a table of on-going work and future plans for the
expansion of the Women's Extension Unit, projects of relevance to the
needs of women, evaluation of currently-existing course offerings at rural
training centers, further work on appropriate technology and liaison
activities. This table is expanded into a discussion of each topic. The
paper ends with the following note ". the talk of integrating women
into development becomes a nonsense. Without women there is no
Bond, C. A. Discussion Paper in Agricultural Extension for Women. (No
publisher cited), 1977. (Mimeo)
To solve the problem of female agriculturalists not being visited by male
extension agents, the post of Agricultural Officer, Women's Extension was
created. The paper describes the activities of people in this post and
the ways in which women may be brought into a stronger network of informa-
tion sharing. Many attempts to expand extension contact have failed due
to the intrusion of other projects which required the time of extension
officers, vacation schedules, etc. Basic approaches utilized by extension
workers are problematic in that they wait for their clients to articulate
certain needs to them rather than offering certain new ideas to farmers.
Biases of extension workers include perceiving females as those who are
not decision-makers, as the poorest when they are heads of household, etc.
This negative attitude is further exemplified in courses designed for
female farmers. Officials are apathetic in recruiting more female
Women's Involvement in Agriculture in Botswana. Gaborone:
Ministry of Agriculture, 1974.
This study seeks answers to the following questions: What is the role of
women in Botswana agriculture and what is the extent of their participation
in field operations and decision-making? Other questions involve
extension work as it relates to women farmers.
Women are responsible for weeding, bird scaring, harvesting, threshing and
storage. They also keep pigs and poultry. When husbands are absent, women
make all decisions regarding crop operations and when husbands are present,
there is a free exchange of ideas on farming practices. This could have
resulted from more traditional practices which left men in charge of herd-
ing and women in charge of gardening. The results of a survey (covering
204 rural households) indicate women perform between 47.7% and 73.6% of all
crop activities. Where there are no males in a household, women must hire
men or depend on relatives to clear the land, plough and to do some plant-
ing. This work is most often done in exchange for cash thus necessitating
a minimal level of cash accumulation by female-headed households. Women
provide 81.6% of the labor for all operations after ploughing.
More than one-half of women's time is spent in household labor. Tasks
include food preparation, washing, grinding corn, fetching water,
collecting and chopping wood, collecting wild fruits and vegetables,
brewing beer, shopping and house building.
In matters requiring specific decision-making, the survey found that
decisions concerning tractor ploughing, cattle sales and fencing are made
primarily by males, and that women decide about ploughing at times and
about planting. But in most instances, discussion reported to have taken
place between males and females with a decision being reached mutually on
The report recommended the creation of specific extension services that
would meet the needs of female agriculturalists.
Women's Involvement in the Integrated Farming Pilot Project.
Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture, 1977.
This report sets forth background information on the IFPP and outlines the
areas of livestock and crop production the project addresses. The History
of Developments section deals with the ways in which women were incorpor-
ated into the project. A section on future plans lists the courses being
offered to women and how groups might be formed to enhance both the
efficiency and the effectiveness of the project. The report ends with a
profile of each of the women's groups participating in the project.
Botswana. Agricultural Statistics Unit, Ministry of Agriculture. 1979
Livestock and Crop Survey. Gaborone: Central Statistics Office, Ministry
of Finance and Development Planning, 1979.
This survey is a continuation of a series of annual surveys conducted
since 1967. It covers the traditional tribal farms in the Agricultural
Administrative Regions and all freehold and commercial farms in the
country. In interpreting the data, several limitations were pointed out:
the standard error for district estimates is very high, district totals
might have been misreported due to farmers living in one district and
actually farming in another, the use of a point system to determine
whether a marginal holder qualified as a farm reduced the number of farms
The tables on crop and livestock production which comprise the bulk of the
data are extensive and should be consulted (along with surveys published
subsequently) to have an accurate picture of the production of cowpeas and
Botswana. Crop Protection in Botswana, Biennial Report 1973-1975. Gaborone:
Ministry of Agriculture, 1979.
Reviews research carried out on insect and avian pests, plant pathology
and weed control in 1973-75. (Eicher Bibliography)
Botswana. Division of Planning and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture.
Preliminary Investigations into the Marketing of Crops and Livestock in
Botswana. Gaborone: Government Statistician, 1971.
Three surveys were conducted in order to elicit information on crop and
livestock marketing by farmers in Botswana, on traders in the Ngwaketse
and Barolong regions, and on prices and demand for agricultural products
In ascertaining marketing information the survey indicated that sorghum,
maize and cowpeas were the main crops sold, in order of importance, mainly
to traders at harvest time. The survey on traders indicated that
quantities of beans and cowpeas purchased from local producers were mainly
sold directly to South Africa.
The tabular presentation of data is useful, though dated, and should be
used in the project as indicators of production and pricing at the time
the surveys were conducted.
Botswana. Dryland Crop Production in Botswana: A Review of Research, 1969-74.
Gaborone: Agricultural Research Station, 1974.
Botswana. The Rural Income Distribution Survey in Botswana, 1973-1975.
Gaborone: Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Central
Statistics Office, 1976.
Rather than summarize this document, some of the problem areas which were
pointed out in the survey will be noted. This survey was conducted
"Male-less" households suffer from an inability to plough either adequately
or on time; also, no funds supplied by migratory labor are remitted to aid
such households in hiring these services. Women brew beer to generate
Weevils are the main problem in storing food.
The Botswana government taxes cattle owners on a per head basis, so there
is underreporting of the number of cattle owned. Also, the same rates
apply to ranchers and smallherders.
At the time of the survey, farmers were paid low prices for their grain
harvests thus leading them to conclude that production of crops for sale
is not adequately compensated especially since extra effort is needed to
grow more. The survey provides good base line data.
Brown, Barbara. "Girls' Achievement in School in Botswana." Botswana Notes
and Records, Vol. 12, 1980: 35-40.
The major reason for girls not achieving higher levels of education, though
girls outnumber boys in primary school, is pregnancy. Unable to continue
school because of the need to take care of their children, women are thus
denied access to skilled jobs. With at least 30% of the households in
Botswana headed by women, the author notes that rural incomes are low due
to females not being able to earn adequate incomes. In a survey conducted
at the Molefi and Linchwe II schools, Brown discerned a high degree of sex
stereotyping in terms of career aspirations and particular jobs. Women
were considered incapable of driving a tractor, being a pumper or building
a brick house, although these views altered the higher the level of educa-
tional achievement of the respondents. Perceptions of future roles by
girls included being a mother and 50% of the female respondents indicated
that they alone would be responsible for their children's welfare. Hence,
career aspirations tended to focus on decreasing the dual burden of
children and career.
Present government policy states that girls who become pregnant are
expelled from school and are not to be readmitted. The author advocates
changing this policy so as not to lose part of the labor resources of the
Women, Migrant Labor and Social Change in Botswana. Boston:
Boston University, African Studies Center, Working Paper No. 41, 1980.
Brown begins her analysis with a brief historical overview which describes
the "semi-proletarianzation" of the African population during the colonial
period in which the people of Southern Africa constituted a labor reserve
for the mines in South Africa. Laborers were dependent both on their
salaries and on receiving support from their families in rural areas since
mine owners were not willing to pay wages that would ensure the reproduc-
tion of the family unit.
Views on what is acceptable work for men and women impede women from
obtaining salaried jobs which pay a supportable wage (e.g., women are
generally hired as domestics and have no job security). Some 50 percent
of the country's population depended on remittances in 1974, but these came
largely from men who worked in the mines. Agriculture was viewed as a
secondary activity for most households due to its tenuous nature and
reliance upon rains for decent harvests. Yet women have been relegated to
this activity. Where central villages have become overpopulated, a house-
hold may be divided with some members going to live on their fields during
the agricultural cycle while older family members remain in the village
with school-age children.
Of the 210 households interviewed in Kgatleng, Brown found that 35 percent
were de jure female headed households (widows 20 percent; single women 15
percent). The area also has the highest out-migration of any district.
Characteristic of female headed households as agricultural production
units are the following comments: many do not own or hold cattle; they
tend to plough late or not at all; and they may lack sufficient labor
power to hoe and scare birds. Brown found that if cattle are owned,
generally they number less than the critical 10 needed for ploughing.
Half of the female headed households that ploughed did so by hiring a
tractor--a very costly process. Widows have an added problem in that when
their husbands died, the relatives of the deceased may have repossessed
any family cattle.
Half of the women interviewed by Brown were unmarried mothers, few of whom
received any support from the fathers of their children. Nutritional
studies indicate these children are the most undernourished, and of these
children, girls suffered most nutritionally.
An educational profile documents a high dropout rate for girls at the point
of taking the 7th grade certificate exam. The most significant reasons for
dropout were pregnancy and failure to pass exams adequately to gain
entrance to the next higher level of schooling. Moreover, a survey of high
school students indicated that females aspire to traditional female
professions--teaching and nursing--which do not require higher
The paper concludes with a number of recommendations that concern helping
women in income generating activities; allowing women who become pregnant
to return to school; encouraging women to fight for their legal rights;
and training greater numbers of female extension agents.
Women's Role in Development in Botswana. Gaborone: Ministry
of Agriculture, Rural Sociology Unit--Planning and Statistics, 1980.
SWomen's Role in the Development of Kgatleng District in
Botswana--A Preliminary Report. Gaborone: National Institute of
Development and Cultural Research, 1978.
Bryant, Coralie. "Women Migrants, Urbanization and Social Change: The
Botswana Case." Paper prepared for the 1977 Annual Meeting of the
American Political Science Association, September 1-4, 1977, Washington,
As part of a survey research project on rural to urban migration conducted
by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana, a sub-sample of 35
migrant women was chosen for in-depth interviewing to discover the poten-
tial for back migration, the underlying causes of migration, and the types
of adjustment problems migrant women face. The women lived in "unit
housing, site and service, self-help or traditional housing and servants
quarters." The author found that type of housing correlated with
differences in women's perceptions of their problems. The data indicate
that women (who form the majority of migrants in Botswana) tend to migrate
for economic reasons. The effects of South African mining (causing
massive male outmigration), the collapse of polygamy and the responsibi-
lities of women with dependent children are interrelated factors. The
women's own perceptions of their problems are presented and their stories
help to elucidate their points. The women defined their major problems to
be jobs, housing, and dependent children; the author perceived their major
problems to be jobs, housing, the lack of child support from fathers of
unmarried women's children (primarily when they are in mining camps or out
of the country) and the lack of organizations in which women could use
collective action for collective needs. A more generalized discussion of
female employment compared with male employment in Gaborone elucidates the
employment situation of migrant women. (Rihani Bibliography)
Campbell, A. C. "The Rural Economy: A Sociological Perspective." Botswana
Notes and Records, Vol. 3, 1971: 192-94.
Enumerates the three main features of traditional life that changed with
the new economic order: (1) the outlook on property, especially cattle;
(2) the attitude towards the definition of labor between the sexes; and,
(3) the hierarchy of the social structure. (Eicher Bibliography)
The author describes the modes of production of various peoples in
pre-colonial times and notes that "each mode of subsistence had created
around it set patterns of behaviour to which its members conformed. These
patterns assured the continuation of the system and the relations to other
members of his family. Foremost amongst these patterns was kinship--a
man's relations to the other members of his family. The lower the
subsistence level the more complex and widespread the kinship web, together
with all the mutual economic ties involved. At the lowest subsistence
level, economic ties extended beyond the family to every person in the
group. The more evolved the subsistence level the less the kinship ties
In speaking of more pastoral lifestyles Campbell notes that cattle were
not killed for food, they were killed to emphasize important relationships
and events and that they were a means of cementing position in society
rather than as wealth alone.
In discussing the division of labor he notes that men conducted the
prestigious work while women did the "necessary work of keeping the family
alive." All this changed, however, with the introduction of money into
the economy. He states that the result of a monied economy placed a new
value on cattle and crops, handcrafts, skins and ivory. At the same time
it required that a new attitude be taken towards ownership and disposal of
In pre-colonial times, Campbell posits that a man knew exactly where he
stood in society and exactly what society expected of him. In the same
way a woman knew her exact position and what society expected of her.
Women's ambition was limited to marriage, and usually this was arranged
The change in value orientation which occurred as a result of colonialism
was more akin to new wine in old bottles than to a complete transformation.
He cites several examples. The brigades, organized for mutual work and
learning, are really an extension of the old practice of grouping both men
and women into age regiments for work and war. He notes the tradition of
communal tenure could be reactivated for the purpose of establishing experi-
mental and demonstration farms. He advocates a change in traditional
attitude towards labor allocation, with men becoming agriculturalists and
breeding fewer cattle of high quality instead of more cattle of poor
quality. He notes also that women consider agricultural work a drudge and
have no ambition to be vigorous cultivators. One of the main reasons for
this is that women do not have the right to dispose of cereal crops, only
men have that right.
Carruthers, Richard, et al. The Sun, Water and Bread. Gaborone: Ministry
of Health, Nutrition Unit, 1978.
Reports on an Appropriate Technology Workshop on Food and Nutrition
convened at the Rural Industry Innovation Centre, Kanye, November 5-17,
1978. Includes syllabus and critique of two-week workshop for better
communication skills and construction techniques of family welfare
educators and home economists in Botswana. (Eicher Bibliography)
Cliffe, Lionel and Richard Moorsom. "Rural Class Formation and Ecological
Collapse in Botswana." Review of African Political Economy, May/December
Links rural class formation and agricultural economy to 1) the
impoverishment and "proletarianization" of poor peasants; 2) a worsening
of the position of women in peasant households; 3) a general decline in
food production capability; and 4) a closely linked "collapse" of an
often fragile ecology. (Eicher Bibliography)
Although Cliffe's argument focuses broadly on rural transformation, the
specifics about women are as follows: he feels women have borne most of
the costs of rural transformation brought about by changes in the division
of labor in the adoption of capitalist agricultural production and the
ensuing shortages in the means of production. In drawing male labor into
the mines in South Africa, women were left with the dual burden of caring
for the home and family, as well as for all the agricultural production
including the management of herds. Moreover, in the instances where
females also migrated, jobs open to them were menial and very low paying.
Thus, it is women, overall, who bear the costs of social reproduction.
Cliffe notes that women who are left on the farm have greater control over
the production processes, but that women have not been adequately equipped
to assert efficient control and so are unable to attain economic
Colclough, Christopher and Peter Fallon. Rural Poverty in Botswana--
Dimensions, Causes and Constraints. Geneva: International Labour Office,
Rural Employment Policy Research Programme Working Paper, World Employment
Programme Research, 1979.
Analyzes the distribution of rural incomes and the highly inegalitarian
ownership of capital in the rural areas. Concludes that the distribution
of formal employment opportunities appears to have exacerbated this bias
against poorest groups. Urges action to change access to or ownership of
cattle among the poorest 40% of rural households, concluding that rural
income distribution will continue to become more unequal in the future if
present situation continues. (Eicher Bibliography)
Colclough, Christopher and Stephen McCarthy. The Political Economy of
Botswana. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
This volume considers issues relating to economic growth and structural
change; political and constitutional change; mining, industry and
dependence; migration, employment and income distribution; and schools,
skills and social policy. The chapter on agricultural production and
inequality is particularly germane to the current study.
An important link between cattle rearing and arable production is that the
ox-drawn plough is used for repeated cultivation of extensive areas of
arable land with rather low yields per hectare. As a risk-reducing
strategy, mixed pastoral and arable production provides some security
against the uncertainties of rainfall. Traditional methods of achieving
a degree of security, which included redistribution of crops and livestock
by chiefs, appear to be breaking down.
In analyzing rural inequality, the authors divided the rural population
into three groups: those who own no cattle, those with small- to medium-
sized herds (up to 50 head) and those with large herds (more than 50 head
of cattle). They found that households with no cattle (45%) correlated
positively with absolute poverty. A high proportion of this group
consists of female headed households which are short of male labor for
ploughing (a male task). Owners of small to.medium-sized herds (40%) were
found not to have sufficient resources to acquire exclusive ownership of a
bore-hole to water their cattle, but had a sufficient number of animals
for ploughing. Owners of large herds (15%) practiced cropping as a
peripheral activity (3/4 of the national herd is owned by this 15% of the
population). The traditional practice of mafisa (lending out cattle)
accounts for between 10 and 20 percent of the national herd.
Arable plots are generally located near villages while pastureland is more
distant. Where arable land is not located nearby, families migrate from
the villages to their fields where they remain intermittently until the end
of harvest. A problem in ploughing is the condition of oxen at the onset
of the rainy season, there being little grass for them to eat before
ploughing commences. Tasks are allocated along gender lines: men plough,
men and women plant, and women weed, scare birds, harvest and thresh.
An increasing consumer preference for maize over sorghum, a more
drought-resistant crop, has been reported. This has resulted in part from
the availability in the cities of a factory produced sorghum meal which is
regarded as inferior to the hand-ground meal. The preference for maize
may in the long run be attributable to the high requirement for female
labor that sorghum requires in growing (more bird scaring) and grinding
Also positively correlated with cattle owning was the average hectarage
planted, the overall average kg. production, and the ownership of
implements. Where cattle are not owned, they must be borrowed or hired.
This means that the owners of the oxen plough first, and then relatives,
friends or clients may have access to the span. Normally oxen are
available for hire or borrowing well into the rainy season thus allowing
only a relatively small portion of an arable plot to be cultivated. A new
invention--the Makgonatsotlhe (a "tool carrier") to which can be attached
sweeps, planters, cultivators and scotch carts, and which uses donkeys as
draught power, has helped to increase yields in farmer trials.
In times of drought, households depend for their food on the sale of
livestock or on broad networks of family relationships. Where these
relationships have broken down, an FAO study revealed that 30% of rural
households depended at one time or another on food assistance and on food
for work programs. These households, which comprise the poorest in terms
of resources, were largely headed by women.
Females who are heads of household manage their enterprises using
strategies different from more resource-rich farmers. Those who have no
cattle either have close links with those who do, or receive some kind of
remittances from migrant workers who are family members.
Comaroff, J. "Class and Culture in a Peasant Economy: The Transformation of
Land Tenure in the Barolong." Journal of African Law, Vol. 24, No. 1,
Spring 1980: 85-113.
Beginning with a political-economic sketch of the history of Barolong and
Barolong Farms (a farmer training scheme), the author discusses some of
the agricultural practices of the Tshidi chiefdom in terms of its
adaptability to changing economic relations of production. He notes that
people traditionally lived in villages, and when the chief so counselled
at the outset of the rains, various members of a household would move
their cattle from the cattle posts to the arable plots where both people
and animals would stay until the harvest was over.
As a result of peasant capitalist formation in Barolong, those who did not
accumulate capital through the generation of surplus became vulnerable to
sharecropping agreements under disadvantageous terms. The author analyzes
how the chiefdom was established as a separate political community in
1970. The Tribal Land Act, he argues, seemed to have been designed to
leave existing land rights intact, while simultaneously changing the
agency of distribution and management.
Throughout this analysis women are not mentioned as a group who were
particularly disadvantaged in peasant-capitalist formation.
Comaroff, John L. and Simon Roberts. "Marriage and Extra-Marital Sexuality:
The Dialectics of Legal Change Among the Kgatla." Journal of African Law,
Vol. 21, No. 1, 1977: 97-123.
This article examines the changes that have occurred in marriage practices
among the Kgatla since Isaac Schapera wrote on this subject in 1933.
Labor migration has produced transformations. Women are no longer under
the close scrutiny of their male guardians (fathers). When a child is
born out of wedlock women now are able to seek compensation or child
support from jural authorities, whereas beforehand a claim against the
father of the child had to be made by the guardian. Polygyny is rare but
has been replaced with serial monogomy; formal marriage negotiations can
now be conducted between a man and a woman instead of between the
guardians of two corporate groups; and restitution for a promise of
marriage with subsequent bearing of children can be sought by individual
females. Fines are also receivable by individual women instead of
guardians, and are generally paid in cattle. The authors conclude that
judicial institutions provide the public context wherein the logic of
social order--and thus, of social change--may be apprehended and
articulated by the Kgatla themselves; and it is this process which, in
expressing the dialectic between social principle and its normative
negotiation, underpins the dynamic of the legal system.
Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation. The Horticulture Industry of
Botswana: With Implications for Domestic Consumption and Export
Opportunities. Toronto: Resource Management Consultants, Ltd., 1976.
Cooper, David. Rural-Urban Migration and Female-Headed Households in Botswana
Towns: Case Studies of Unskilled Women Workers and Female Self-Employment
in a Site and Service Area Selebi-Phikwe. Gaborone: Central Statistics
Office, National Migration Study, Working Paper No. 11, 1979.
Presents twelve biographical case studies based on interviews with female
heads of households. The biographies focus specifically on women who are
unemployed, self-employed on a small-scale, or unskilled wage earners, and
who have built their own compounds in town. (Eicher Bibliography)
Although the author indicates that each one of these cases is atypical, in
their composite aspects these women's lifestyles are indeed typical.
Female urban squatters rely on beer brewing to generate income. Where
enough is generated a female might enter into a cultivating partnership
with a friend or relative in the rural areas to grow crops for sale in
urban markets. Sometimes crops are grown by relatives in the rural areas
and brought in by them for sale. In 1975 when one female sold beans and
groundnuts, she grossed P90, but in selling sorghum and maize she grossed
P228 profit. Reciprocal exchange also exists between urban squatters and
rural peasants--melons, sweet reed and maize are sent to the city, while
money, sugar and tobacco are sent from the city. These coping strategies
are really an extension of the semi-proletarianization of the African
economy begun in the colonial phase with laborers semi-dependent on both
wages and rural production. Mines did not pay a sufficient wage to cover
the cost of social reproduction; thus the cost of reproducing the family
was shared between wage earners and rural agriculturalists. The
"oscillating migrant" gave rise to the rural female-headed household.
Women have access to land either through their parents or through direct
appeal to land boards or tribal authorities, but.do not have easy access
to cattle. These are inherited by males as well as herded and cared for
by them. Women can acquire cattle through cash savings. When women are
hired to perform traditional agricultural tasks they are generally paid in
kind or in reciprocal assistance rather than in cash (which men receive
for clearing land, ploughing and planting).
The domestic division of labor has changed little since the 19th Century.
With oscillating male migrant labor, the addition of agricultural and farm
management tasks to the female burden has resulted in the need to
renegotiate the domestic division of labor.
Where females find urban employment, kin networks provide informal creche
services for children. Even though a wage-earning job may be found,
incomes are supplemented in several ways, primarily by brewing beer and by
holding beer and food parties. Hawking vegetables grown by relatives in
the rural areas was problematic in Phikwe because members of a religious
sect had cornered the market.
Women traditionally care for sheep and goats while males care for cattle.
A three-generational matrifocal chain of relationships appears to be the
female urban squatter's support network--the female head of household
relies upon her mother in the rural areas and vice-versa for the support
and sustenance of her children and for the reproduction of the social
unit. Links with male relatives are diminishing in overall importance
although a substitute father for a woman's children is sought in the form
of a brother or a mother's brother who is seen as being able to give
advice, care, or ploughing assistance when needed.
Curtis, D. "Cash Brewing in a Rural Economy." Botswana Notes and Records,
Vol. 5, 1979: 17-25.
Although the traditional sorghum beer, bajalwa, was used in a variety of
economic/social settings among most of the agricultural groups in
Botswana, beer brewing has taken on different significance in Manyana and
Mankgodi in the southeastern part of the country since the advent of the
In some cases particular women become known for preparing good beer, and
their compounds become places where people gather and where tankards are
purchased and taken home to be enjoyed in the milieu of good friends. In
other cases, several women might pool their resources to brew beer and
share the profits much like a rotating credit society.
The agricultural calendar ends with the harvest and with people living at
home during September, October and November before the new season's
ploughing gets underway. This is the period of the year when much beer is
brewed. The study found that the households with greater resources could
brew more beer. Those headed by widows or single women lacked the labor
resources to be successful beer brewers. Proceeds from brewing and
selling beer augment the domestic budget. Money can also be used for
taxes, school fees, or the purchase of stock--all of which are generally
the husband's responsibility.
Women reported that the value of a poor sorghum harvest can be increased
100% by using the sorghum to brew beer and then selling it, thus making
maximum use of resources. (The author notes this was also done to milled
corn that was distributed in a "work for food" program during a famine
Other sources of income in the rural areas are highly unreliable; thus,
beer brewing is an income-generating strategy which reduces the risk of
starvation. The most successful strategy in the Manyana households was
labor migration (68% of 190 households surveyed reported one or more
Curtis, Donald. "The Social Organization of Ploughing." Botswana Notes and
Records, Vol. 4, 1972: 67-80.
This is a descriptive survey of 279 households, carried out in June/July
1971 in the Manyana area, where ploughing is usually done with a team of
six or eight beasts. Ideally, the animals should be oxen, but if these
are not available, bulls, cows and heifers are used. Results show uneven
ownership of cattle and widespread use of mafisa cattle.
The practice of mafisa entails an owner giving some of his cattle or goats
to another who cares for the animals, milks and works them and receives
the first calf as payment on caring for the animals. Other practices
differ slightly in that the caregiver is not paid with a calf for his
services, but he may use the animals for ploughing during the period he
cares for them.
Tswana ploughing customs involve one operation with corn, sorghum, beans
and various cucurbit seeds thrown upon the section of the field to be
ploughed. The soil is then turned covering weeds and covering seeds
(plough-planting) with a broad moldboard plough. The spread of quick
grass has altered this practice and a two-part operation (turning the soil
and planting) has been instituted to choke the effect of weeds and ease
the burden of hoeing. Where more than one ploughing is required (as a
result of changes in planting practices) sharing of oxen with neighbors is
reduced as animals are required on one farm for longer periods. This has
consequences for social relationships.
The practice of "putting in hands" to help one farmer who has draught
animals is reciprocated by the oxen owner lending out his spans to his
assistants. In this way, the author notes, a widow sent her two grandsons
to work for two oxen owners and thus had two spans at her disposal when
she wanted to plant. Women who own ploughs but no animals can make
exchange arrangements with neighbors. The difficulties in these
arrangements center on timing. Where loans of animals are made on a
short-time basis (peak season), owners of the beasts take care of their
fields first. In cases where animals are "hired", ploughing might be done
in good time. Widows and single women, who do not have males to help
them, brew beer to earn money to hire both labor and draught animals.
The bond between brothers and sisters is instrumental in sharing animals
and labor. The author argues that since sisters and their children are
not in competition for the assets of inheritance there is more cooperation
than with sisters-in-law who may be living in the same area (the paternal
A conclusion the author reached about those who "plough alone" is
insightful: those who plough alone must have sufficient draught power at
their disposal, and the ability by negotiation, chance, or at the cost of
offending the norms of cooperation within the family, to avoid
obligations. Thus the ability to plough appears to be a function of
wealth or a function of social relations.
Draper, P. "IKung Women: Contrasts in Sexual Egalitarianism in Foraging and
Sedentary Contexts" in R. P. Reiter (ed.) Toward an Anthropology of
Women. New York: Monthly Review Press (1975): 77-109.
Draper attempts to alter the view of !Kung women's work as uninteresting
and unchallenging by analyzing the tremendous ecological knowledge these
women possess in order to gather appropriate foods at the time they are
ripe. She also notes the social processes in which women partake when
gathering in groups. !Kung women retain control over their own production
and can redistribute it as a gift to band members.
Although there is a distinct division of labor, especially concerning food
gathering, other tasks might be shared. The author noted that while women
traditionally build houses, men sometimes perform these tasks. Fetching
water is generally women's work, but when the water source is quite distant
men will haul it. Among sedentary !Kung, however, gender roles are more
rigidly adhered to. To grow food, men clear the fields and erect brush
fences around the gardens, while women perform the rest of the agricultural
tasks. The diet of sorghum, maize, squash, melon, etc., does not offer
the same rich nutritional variation as was available in more nomadic
settings. The overall effect of sedentism, as the author asserts, is the
decrease in women's autonomy and influence relative to that of men.
Duggan, William R. Informal Markets, Technology and Employment on Arable Land
in Botswana. Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture, ALDEP Employment Study,
Paper II, 1978.
Egner, E. B. and A. L. Klausen. Poverty in Botswana. Gaborone: University
College of Botswana, National Institute of Development and Cultural
Research Documentation Unit, Working Paper No. 29, 1980.
Eicher, Shirley F. Rural Development in Botswana A Select Bibliography
1966-1980. Washington, D. C.: African Bibliographic Center, 1981.
This bibliography is a very valuable resource. Among the categories of
materials the author either noted or annotated are government documents,
analyses of agriculture, development, education and training, employment,
labor and migration, health and nutrition, land tenure and land use,
livestock, marketing, cooperatives and credit and women in development.
Many of Eicher's annotations have been noted and utilized in this selected
Fair, T. 3. D. Towards Balanced Spatial Development in Botswana. Pretoria:
The Africa Institute of South Africa, 1979.
Family Health Care, Inc. and Africare. Health and Development in Southern
Africa, Vol. VIII. A Review of Health Care in Botswana: Issues,
Analyses, and Recommendations. Washington, D. C.: AID, Southern Africa
Development Analysis Program, 1978.
The major causes for morbidity in Botswana are respiratory and
gastrointestinal ailments, and pulmonary tuberculosis is a major cause for
hospitalization. Malnutrition is uncommon, but chronic undernourishment
is more prevalent due to lack of total food intake.
Urban migration has been running about 16% annually for the past several
High nitrate concentrates in water from boreholes and groundwater supplies
has affected children. It is envisioned that by 1985 all villages with
more than 500 inhabitants and two-thirds of settlements with less than 500
will be supplied with safe water. It is intended that nobody should have
to walk more than 400 meters to the nearest standpipe.
Women of child-bearing age comprise 20% of the population. Family welfare
educators--mainly women--receive three months of pre-service training to
work in their villages on local health problems--child care, immunizations,
family planning and nutrition. The educators are chosen by Village
Reported population statistics include a growth rate of 2.6%; a low
mortality rate, and a low infant mortality rate of 97/1000 births.
Fertility is 6.5 births per woman. Child bearing is spaced in accordance
with the belief that a woman should not conceive until her last child has
been weaned at about 18 months.
Recruiting women for nurses' training is difficult because other careers
offering better salaries and working conditions are available. Early
marriage, child-bearing and family obligations are additional facts which
cause a drop out among nurses trained.
Finch, Glenda S. and Peter 0. Way. Country Demographic Profiles Botswana.
Washington, D. C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
In 1978 approximately 80,200 females and 65,200 males were enrolled in
primary school. During that same year approximately 8,900 females and
7,000 males were enrolled in secondary schools.
In 1971, 67.9% (140,000) of the total female population 10 years and older
worked in family agriculture, while 5.8% (12,000), worked for a salary;
66.7% of the male population (107,100), worked in family agriculture,
while 23.4% (37,600) worked for a salary.
The projected mid-year population for 1980 was the following:
Fortman, Louise. Women's Agriculture in a Cattle Economy. Gaborone: Ministry
of Agriculture, 1981.
Two problems seem to affect women in agriculture more than men: access to
draught power and labor. Over 50% of female-headed households (varying
between 20% and 43% of the total) own no cattle; of those who did own
them, 60% had ten or fewer. (This is significant as between 20 and 32
beasts are necessary to allow a farmer to field a span of six oxen.)
Average small stock herd size was 5.1 for females. Households without
sufficient draught power generally plough late as oxen must be borrowed
after they have been used by their owners. Where animals are not
available there must be ready cash to pay for the hiring of a tractor and
a man to drive it. Such cash outlays reduce profit per acre. Women do
undertake ploughing with animal draught when necessary, but this activity
is incompatible with pregnancy, carrying small children and the completion
of household chores. While women might hire some of the labor power, it
is generally thought to be unreliable due to low wage rates. Poorer
females hire themselves out to other farmers on a sharecropping basis
known as majeko. Arguments for and against women remaining in agriculture
are examined in the conclusion. Recommendations are made concerning what
might be done to either eliminate or accommodate the special constraints
women face in agricultural production.
Women's Involvement in High Risk Arable Agriculture: The
Botswana Case. Washington, D. C.: AID, 1980.
The author begins her study with a review of the literature on women in
agriculture in Botswana. A point she stresses is that women have little
access to draught power for cultivating and few or no cattle to serve as
"savings on the hoof." Incomes of female headed households are not
substanitally increased by remittances from husbands working in th-e mines
in South Africa, so that 54% of these households earn below the poverty
line set at P395/year. Access to labor for these households is also
problematic in that the quality, reliability and quantity of time of male
laborers is always open to conjecture.
An analysis of data collected from a Water Points Survey is presented.
Women stated that lack of seed was yet another problem in growing more
crops. Since women gain access to draught power later in the planting
season, they are unable to fully utilize the land they have. Thus, their
harvests are smaller and they are unable to save sufficient seed from
their harvests to plant in the following year.
Policy issues are considered in the following section. Fortman notes the
creation of the post of Agricultural Officer for Women's Extension, but
this has not solved the labor and draught problems. She points out
difficulties in making draught or tractor power available (insufficient
arable land, no room for grazing, operating costs) and in providing
incentives for increasing agricultural production. She asserts that one
way to keep women in agriculture, opposing the already-existing transfor-
mation of women's work to more artisan and market-focused occupations, is
to provide direct subsidies to women. Additional funds could be utilized
to solve both labor and draught problems.
The report concludes with a recommendation that agricultural researchers
move off the research station and on to the farm to discern the specific
problems of women so that more relevant solutions can be developed.
Fox, Ray S. Farm Management Survey Results. Gaborone: Division of Planning
and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, 1981.
The fourth in a series of farm management survey reports covering
1970-1980, this writing continues to document trends and variations in
weather and how it effects both crop and livestock production. The
objectives of the survey are: to describe farm enterprise organization,
to identify physical and financial returns in the form of input-output and
cost-returns data for individual crop and livestock enterprises, to
establish standards for planning and decision-making purposes and to
identify changes in agricultural production practices-adopted by farmers
over time. Data was collected from farmers at nine collection stations:
Polokwe in Ngwaketse North, Gakgatla in Kweneng South, Mookane in
Mahalapye, Maunatlala in Palopye, Masunga in Tate, Matobo in Tutume and
Gorokhu in Ngamiland East. The other two stations were established in
Ngamiland but data were not included in this report. Methodologically,
data was stratified by station, by female farmers with and without
adequate draught power and by males with and without adequate draught
power. Data presented in tabular form are comprehensive and provide
information according to gender.
Some of the findings of the survey include the following. Crops were
grown by 91% of survey farmers with sorghum grown by 92% of crop-growing
farmers (constituting 45% of planted area), maize grown by 95% of crop
farmers (29% of planted area) and beans by 81% of farmers (14% of planted
area). The average area devoted to crops in 1980 by survey farmers was
5.7 hectares, but 45% of farmers planted on less than 4 hectares and 16%
planted 10 or more hectares.
Among survey farmers, males with adequate draught power had net incomes
from crops about double that of females. This is attributable to 31% of
female farmers using tractor power compared to 12% of males (with a
variable cost to females 56% greater than to males), to female farmers
planting smaller amounts of land and to females receiving slightly lower
commodity prices on their crops. Females with inadequate draught power
had higher crop incomes than males. Farmers with the highest per hectare
income from crops tend to have lower incomes per livestock unit from their
livestock activities and vice versa.
Since certain of the specific findings on crop production are relevant to
this Resource Guide, they are presented below in full rather than in
Of the 120 FMS sample farmers 92 percent or 110 farmers planted crops in
1980. Following are selected summary findings of those farmers' practices
1. Plowing practices--Cattle were the primary source of draft power used
for plowing in the spring of 1979. They provided the draft power for 72
percent of the farmers, donkeys 16 percent and tractors 12 percent. Only
one of the 110 farmers fall plowed their crop land for the 1980 crop. Of
the remaining farmers 41 percent plowed after the first planting rain
while the remaining 58 percent plowed later. Forty-four percent of the
farmers who plowed later did so because of inadequate draft power and
another 44 percent because their draft animals were in poor condition.
The reason the latter was so high was because of the poor grazing
conditions that prevailed during most of 1979 in many areas of Botswana.
Although only one farmer plowed in the fall of 1979, 53 percent of all the
farmers fall plowed at one time or another in the past. Of these farmers
38 percent felt weeds were a greater problem, while 35 percent thought
they were less when fall plowed. Sixty-seven percent of the same farmers
felt that their yields were the same or less when fall plowed. Of all the
farmers 17 percent said that they would not fall plow in the future
primarily because they did not think it was beneficial.
2. Planting Practices--Broadcasting seed just prior to plowing continues
to be the most dominant method.of seeding crops. The broadcast seeding
method only was used by 84 percent of the farmers. An additional eight
percent did both row planting and broadcasting. Sixty-two percent of
these farmers said that they did not row plant because they did not have
nor could they afford to buy a planter. However, 84 percent of these
farmers said that they plan to row plant some time in the future.
Of those farmers who seeded their crops by broadcasting, 76 percent
practice mixed cropping. Somewhat more than half of these farmers
practice mixed cropping to save time especially when rains are late and 44
percent felt it was more reliable in low rainfall years. In addition, 30
percent believed mixed cropping required less labor.
Some farmers, 38 percent, intentionally stagger their planting dates. Of
these farmers, 79 percent stagger their plantings to improve the chance
that some of their crops would be in a growth cycle that could best
utilize the rainfall pattern of the year. In addition, 38 percent of
these farmers staggered their plantings to spread out their labor inputs
over a longer period of time.
When planting the 1980 crop 25 percent of the farmers used seed from their
previous year's production. When selecting their seed, 73 percent made
their selection in the field from standing crops. The remainder of the
farmers selected their seed from their crops while in storage.
Twenty-five percent of the farmers acquired their seed from cooperatives,
20 percent from the drought relief program and about 12 percent each from
BAMB, private traders and friends or neighbors. The type of seed most
often acquired from outside sources was sorghum followed by maize then
3. Fertilizer Practices--Only two of the 110 survey farmers growing crops
used chemical fertilizers on their 1980 crops.
Manure is a more commonly used fertilizer. Thirty-one percent of the
farmers said that they had used manure during the last five years. All of
the farmers that used manure said it improved yield. Of the 69 percent of
the farmers that did not use kraal manure 34 percent said they had no way
of transporting the manure from the kraal to their fields. Twenty-one
percent felt that manure didn't improve yield while another 20 percent
said it required too much labor. A significant 14 percent said that they
knew nothing about the use of manure as a crop production input.
To get an understanding of the amount of kraal manure available and its
location, farmers were asked where they kraaled their animals relative to
their fields and for how long. Eighty-four percent or 101 of the survey
farmers had livestock. Of these farmers, 63 percent kraaled some or all
of their livestock some time during the year. The average number of
livestock unit months that animals were kraaled (night time only) was 107
of which 100 livestock unit months were cattle and 7 were small stock.
Assuming that five kilograms of kraal manure is produced daily per
livestock unit then 107 livestock unit months would yield about 16 tons.
This is approximately what is required for one hectare. Thus the average
farmer with livestock who crops between five and six hectares would be
able to manure all their crop land about once in every five years or so.
The average distance between kraal and crop land is relatively short at
0.8 kilometers. Seventy-eight percent of the farmers who kraaled their
livestock had their kraals within one kilometer of their crop land.
The farmers were asked if their land was producing as well as previously.
Half of the farmers felt that their land was producing less well than it
did before. As a result of this 44 percent of these farmers said that
they would apply manure or fertilizer, 32 percent said they would keep
farming as they have been in the past and 14 percent said they would
abandon their land.
4. Weeding Practices--Survey farmers generally weed their crops once
during the year. Seventy-five percent of the farmers weeded their crops
once in 1980 while 23 percent performed this activity twice or more. The
remaining two percent did no weeding at all. Of these farmers who weeded
only once 74 percent did so because they did not have enough labor to do
more weeding. Twenty-nine percent of these farmers felt one weeding was
The hand hoe was used almost exclusively for weeding purposes. Ninety-
nine of the farmers used the hoe for some or all of their weeding needs.
Of the 16 percent of the farmers who did some row planting 33 percent used
a cultivator on some of their crops. The reason 92 percent of the farmers
who row planted but did not use a cultivator was because they did not have
access to one.
5. Water Sources, Fencing and Lands Area Occupancy Practices-- Almost
one-half of the survey farmers or someone from their household stay
permanently on their lands area. About one-fourth of the farmers go to
their lands area for plowing and planting then leave and return occasion-
ally during the crop growing season and for harvest. Another one-fourth
of the farmers go to their lands area for plowing and stay until
harvesting is completed before returning to their villages.
Boreholes provide 40 percent of the survey farmers with their water needs
at the lands area. Thirty-three percent acquired their water from wells
while 28 percent do so from rivers and pans.
Thirty-four percent of all the survey farmers have their crop land
fenced. Of these farmers, 70 percent have bush fences and 38 percent have
wire fences. Also, 26 percent of all the farmers have some protection of
their crop land through the presence of community built drift fences.
Garforth, C. J. Crop Husbandry in Southern Botswana: Report of a Knowledge,
Attitudes and Practices Study. Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture,
Evaluation and Action Research Unit, Agricultural Information Services,
Examines the attitudes toward crop husbandry in Kweneng North and
Ngwaketse North, in conjunction with the preparation of an educational
campaign on crop husbandry. (Eicher Bibliography)
Gibbon, 0. Dryland Crop Production Systems in Semi-Arid Botswana: Their
Limitations and Potential for Improvement. Norwich: University of East
Anglia (Overseas Development Group, Development Studies Reprint 1), 1974.
Gibbon, D., J. Harvey and K. Hubbard. "A Minimum Tillage System for Botswana."
World Crops, Vol. 25, No. 11, Sept./Oct. 1974.
This article explains the design and various functions of the "versatool,"
an animal-drawn tool which has several attachments for several
operations: overall sweeps, overall chisel plough, marking out, subsoil
plough, planter, steerage hoe and fertilizer application. The tool can be
helpful in cultivating cowpeas.
Gollifer, David, Theo Wilcocks and David Salmon. "Dryland Farming." Botswana,
No. 5 (n.d): 27-31.
Timing is crucial to seed planting and seed-bed preparation since more
than half of the semi-arid soils of Botswana form clods as a result of
sporadic rainfall patterns. Primary tillage breaks open the soil surface
and allows rain water to penetrate the soil and reduce run-off of water.
Reduced tillage techniques need to be devised, therefore, which require
less draught energy. Two types of crop production systems have been
developed--one using a traditional mouldboard plough and the other an
animal-drawn tool bar, the former being used in the autumn before soils
dry up and oxen are still in good condition. Autumn ploughing allows for
spring rains to easily penetrate the soil and enhance the preparation of
seedbeds and early planting in November and December.
Crop rotations in the dryland areas are as follows: sorghum, sunflower,
sorghum, cowpeas, sorghum, and maize.
Grant, Sandy. "Old Struggles, New Hopes." Botswana, No. 4, n.d.: 53-57.
The common sequence of family disintegration resulting from male heads of
household going to work in the mines is as follows: absent husband finds
second wife, contact with the home ceases, support dries up and the women,
mother and wife, are left to struggle all alone as best they can.
Where a family has a substantial number of cattle, occasional sales to the
meat commission help meet larger expenses while sorghum and beans serve as
the family staple.
Grivetti, L. E. "Nutritional Success in a Semi-Arid Land: Examination of
Tswana Agro-Pastoralists of the Eastern Kalahari, Botswana." American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 31, No. 7, July 1978: 1204-1220.
This study, which was undertaken between April 1973 and May 1975, focuses
on dietary traditions and nutritional status of the Moshaweng Tlokwa, a
Tswana agro-pastoral society in Tlokweng, Southeast District, Botswana.
The author found that during July-September families live in villages, but
with the onset of the rains in October, families move to homesites at the
interface between agricultural fields and communal grazing lands 6-12 kms.
from the village.
Nutritional success during severe drought falls into five broad categories:
1) diversified food base, 2) food preservation techniques, 3) cooking
methods, 4) dietary practices, and 5) food distribution mechanisms.
Food Base--Of 126 holdings examined, the following agricultural crops were
noted: sorghum (16 varieties)-99%; maize (6 varieties)--40%; sweet reeds
(6 varieties) 37%; cowpeas--44%; tepary beans--27%; peanuts--15%; hem
squash--58%; pumpkin--33%; watermelon--29%. Of 145 household gardens
examined, the following horticultural crops were noted: maize--50%, sweet
reed--27%; peanuts--41%; potatoes--10%; pumpkin--25%; gem squash--19%;
watermelon--13%; tomatoes--34%; peaches--32%; black mulberries--30%;
oranges--18%; grapes--16%; papaya--15%; pears--13%; figs--12%;
Preservation Techniques--Foods are sun-dried, salted, parched, or
fermented. Leaves of several wild and domesticated species may be cooked,
sun-dried, and stored for winter use.
Food Storage--Traditionally each family compound had its own mud, timber
and thatch silos, with the headman or chief erecting a separate silo for
communal food resources to be distributed at a time of greater need. The
silo tradition, the author contends, has been abandoned and grain is now
stored in rough burlap sacks and kept dry under protective plastic tarps
or sheets of galvanized metal. Freshly harvested and sun-dried vegetables
are stored in burlap or leather bags and unhulled legumes are stored in
the same manner. Cracked pots, no longer serviceable as water or cooking
containers, hold small quantities of grain, legumes or wild seeds.
Cooking Methods--All varieties of legumes are boiled whole in the pod.
After cooking, the shells are split, seeds consumed and pods discarded.
Legume pods are eaten, however, during periods of food shortage. All
legume dishes are referred to as dikgobe and these are difficult to
disaggregate in research. The following combinations, however, were
noted: peanuts mixed with boiled, stamped maize flour; peanuts blended
with boiled sorghum; beans mixed with boiled maize flour and cracked maize
kernels. Cowpea leaves are commonly stewed and served with meals as green
vegetables or as relishes.
SDietary Practices--Three meals are prepared daily--a breakfast of sorghum
porridge, a mid-day meal of meat, stiff porridge and green vegetables and
an evening meal of leftovers from the mid-day meal. Children are breast-
fed for about one year and are weaned on to thin gruels or porridges
prepared from sorghum. Encouragement to abandon breast feeding is
conducted by smearing a paste made from chicken dung, hot spices or tobacco
on the nipples. Boys and girls are forbidden to eat the meat of certain
animals and honey due to the belief that consumption promotes forgetful-
ness. Girls are not allowed to eat eggs for a number of reasons related
to fertility and child bearing. Pregnant women have special diets which
strongly favor the inclusion of dishes prepared from stewed green leaves,
especially those from domesticated cowpea or selected wild species. Great
quantities of green-leafy vegetables are served to mothers in the months
after delivery, but the ingestion of all legumes stops until children have
Food Distribution--When an animal is killed, meat is distributed according
to sex, age and social status. In times of food shortage, relatives ask
each other for food before going to the chief for a gift.
The author concludes on a note of warning--should the Tlokwa embark upon
cash crop farming on a large scale, the damage done to the environment in
clearing the bush will endanger the plant species which have provided
these people with the diversity of foodstuffs for survival. If diversity
cannot be maintained, the Tlokwa face an uncertain future.
Guenther, M. G. "Bushman Hunters as Farm Laborers in the Ghanzi District of
Botswana." Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1977:
This is a study of how San people have adapted to sedentary agricultural
practices, even though they have traditionally been hunters and
gatherers. The study covers about 4,000 people who have become a part of
the labor force of the rural economy. This labor force is employed almost
totally on white cattle farms which number about 300.
The author notes that even within the farm community, San "camps" or
"bands" remain together thus maintaining traditional social organization.
Problems in adaption center on three points: the nomadic-type lifestyle
of bands, the inability to accumulate stock holdings and an inability to
"make do" on the lower-than-subsistence wages, the attitudes of non-San
people toward the San--e._g, "once a hunter, always a hunter."
While no comment is made specifically about women, it is ascertained that
where San join the labor force a number of gender-related issues will
Gulbrandsen, Ornulf. Agro-Pastoral Production and Communal Land Use, A Socio-
Economic Study of the Bangwaketse. Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture,
Rural Sociology Unit, 1980.
Discusses rural poverty and the increasing absolute number of poor
households which have very few cattle and which produce crops below the
subsistence level. Examines the increasing pressure on communal land
resources and the serious danger of deterioration of grazing land.
On Socio-Organizational Aspects of the Bangwaketse Land
Tenure System with Special Reference to the Tribal Grazing Land Policy.
Bergen, Norway: University of Bergen, 1978.
Discusses the implementation of the TGLP within the Bangwaketse territory,
and man's relationship to his land and to the community with regard to
land. (Eicher Bibliography)
Hamilton, Andrew G. A Review of Post-Harvest Technologies, Botswana. Ottawa:
Canadian University Service Overseas, 1975.
This report is an in-depth analyses of agricultural practices, storage
techniques and facilities, marketing and distribution channels, utilization
of sorghum as the crop most widely grown, and the results of a rural con-
sumer food preference and storage survey in Kweneng District. The survey
makes the point that rural women earn most of their income from beer
brewing (from sorghum). No less than 40% of the households are headed by
women and this figure does not include those women who are nominal house-
hold heads while their husbands and/or fathers are temporarily absent from
the area on labor migration.
The three crops most widely grown in the survey area are sorghum, maize
and cowpeas. Wood and manure ash are commonly used insect preventatives
in storage. Where cowpeas are stored, damage levels are higher than for
the other two crops. When animals are used, women have to rely on men for
ploughing and carting activities. Estimated legume consumption per person
per year is 24.3 kgs or 66 gms/day. These include cowpeas, jugo and mung
beans. They are eaten generally at lunch and dinner time.
Henderson, Francine I. Women in Botswana: An Annotated Bibliography.
Gaborone: University College of Botswana, National Institute of
Development and Cultural Research, Working Bibliography No. 4, 1981.
A general bibliographical guide on women in Botswana with references as to
where each item is found in Botswana.
Higgins, Kathleen M. Women Farmers and Their Training. Gaborone: University
College of Botswana, National Institute of Development and Cultural
Research, Working Paper No. 39, 1981.
This is an evaluation report of a non-formal education program provided for
women by the Ministry of Agriculture at rural training centers. The first
chapter is an overview of the WID perspective and how it bears upon women
in agriculture in Botswana. The second chapter discusses the lack of
educational opportunity at all levels for women and broadly outlines the
various departments and institutes which have NFE components. It also
details the background of how women's courses in agriculture were
introduced at the NFE level. The third chapter describes courses offered
at various training centers including a breakdown of which courses were
requested and which were offered, an outline of recruiting and training
practices and an evaluation by the women themselves as to whether or not
their needs were met. The final chapter asks certain evaluative questions
of the program in general and makes several recommendations as to how
programs might be changed to better meet women's needs, including having
them participate in developing their own programs.
Hinchey, Madalon T. (ed.) Proceedings on the Symposium on Drought in Botswana.
National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana, June 5-8, 1978. Gaborone: The
Botswana Society, 1979.
Botswana was ill-prepared for the severe drought which affected it during
the 1960s. As there is a strong possibility that extended drought
following a series of below-normal rainfall years will occur in the 1980s,
and with the lessons of the Sahel drought of the 1970s in mind, the
Botswana Government is actively examining strategies and making plans to
cope with future droughts. The Botswana Society organised a symposium in
1978 to further this objective, and in collaboration with the Government,
University College, Botswana, and Clark University, Massachusetts, invited
participants with both local and international expertise from a wide range
of disciplines. The proceedings consist of twenty-eight papers, edited
discussions and speeches loosely grouped into the physical and social
aspects of drought and with a substantial final section on combating and
ameliorating drought. Many papers are short but all are informative and
only about half relate solely to Botswana so that there is much of
interest for students of other parts of Africa. In view of the increasing
need for inter-disciplinary understanding of such problems as the
ecological, economic and social collapse which may accompany drought, this
volume is one that can be recommended to a wide readership. (Review by R.
A. Pullan, Africa, 50 (2), 1980.)
Hitchcock, Robert K. Kalahari Cattle Posts. Gaborone: Ministry of Local
Government and Lands, October 1978.
This is a preliminary draft describing a number of different people and
their agro-ecological adaptation to the Western Sandveld Region of Central
District. The study includes a profile of the natural environment, the
social environment, the physical and social infrastructure, water source
locations and ownership, the various economic systems of the Sandveld
including hunting and gathering, pastoralism, employment and agriculture.
The study concludes with a number of recommendations to the government
relating to the Tribal Grazing Land Policy and a general development
policy for the area. The analysis is based on agronomic data and does not
disaggregate findings by gender.
"Tradition, Social Justice and Land Reform in Central
Botswana." Journal of African Law, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring, 1980: 1-34.
This article addresses the issue of land tenure as it was altered as a
result of the Tribal Grazing Land Policy of 1975, and how traditional
political and social organization have been attenuated as a consequence.
The study focuses particularly on the Ngwato people (a Tswana group) of
the east-central Kalahari. Prior to the implementation of the policy,
residential and arable lands were divided according to ward affiliation,
pastoral zones were divided for use by several wards, and hunting areas
were unallocated. Access to land was through membership in a social
group, which was hierarchically stratified with a chief and his royal
family at the apex, commoners who were absorbed through conquest,
foreigners who had sought refuge among the Ngwato, and serfs who were
members of other ethnic groups held in low esteem (e.g., the San, the
Kgalagadi and the Sarwa). As serfs, property ownership was denied, and as
a result these groups did not own cattle nor did they have access to land
for their own use. All of these practices changed, however, as a result
of the policy.
Concerning access to water: all open surface waters were considered
tribal property and were accessible to any who needed them for their
cattle. However, when an individual sunk a borehole, dug a well or built
a dam, the person responsible had sole use rights over that water. But
permission to make these capital improvements had to be sought from
Concerning land rights: Government-created land boards (1970) transferred
land allocation from tribal chiefs to a body of elected and appointed
members, although in many instances the transition has not been complete.
Where land was divided into commercial and communal zones, previous
occupants in "commercial" areas were forced off the land or became
squatters subsisting on gathered or begged-for food. This was especially
true for non-stockholding populations such as the Sarwa who were never
given access to land and who were traditionally perceived of as hunters
with no permanent residence (although every anthropologist writing on
hunting-gathering populations comments on their territoriality).
The overriding concern of the author is that traditional institutions are
perceived of as being static and unstructured resulting in the political
elite of the country expanding its authority at the expense of local-level
organizations. He notes that unwillingness to take into account the
comments of tribal authorities has already resulted in the failure of a
highly capitalized development project--the AID Range and Livestock
Management Project--and that such lack of success will continue if certain
social variables are not considered.
Hjort, Anders and Wilhelm Ostberg. Farming and Herding in Botswana.
Stockholm: Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing
Countries, Report No. R:l, 1978.
Surveys literature on farming and herding in Botswana over the.last 20-30
years. The authors raise a number of troubling issues about changes in
Tswana society and rural development. The unspoken conclusion is that
inequality in rural areas is increasing as Tswana move into the monetized
economy. Recommends more research on who benefits from migration, on
causes of rural inequality and on the role of women in rural development
in Botswana. (Eicher Bibliography)
Farmers in Botswana tend to participate in a number of activities and
conduct a mixed farm, mixed crop enterprise to withstand the exigencies of
climate. As a result of overgrazing, the withdrawal of mutual labor to
the mines or cities, etc., the subsistence farmer is becoming more and
more sub-subsistence. About half the households in any given village live
under subsistence level.
While traditional chiefs and herdsmen no longer have power over when
sowing and harvesting are to begin, many of these former political leaders
profited from their positions during the colonial period and now often
comprise the people who own the local tractor, oxen or plough teams.
Political support is maintained by a chief pledging the use of his farm
equipment to his supporters.
Households headed by single mothers have few or no cattle. They lack an
economic base to establish an independent household and thus are dependent
upon the male members of their families.
Due to the scarcity of water, cattle are taken to cattle posts which can
be quite distant from the homestead. In such cases, and when the family
does not have sufficient resources to hire herdsmen, it is possible that
both fathers and mothers may live at the post during the dry season. The
authors note that this is especially the case when arrangements can be
made to house school-age children so that when parents go to the posts,
the children will be taken care of.
Government development programs to improve herding practices and the
quality of livestock and to develop marketing systems, etc., have largely
benefitted the economic elite of the cattle industry--who themselves may
be government officials. In such situations, increasing numbers of the
rural population must gain their livelihood from activities other than
Settlements have become more dispersed as a result of fragmentation
brought about by the increasing inability of chiefs and headmen to
allocate land. Cultivable fields as well as cattle posts are the locales
for many new homes. This movement has tended to isolate social units and
has precipitated interaction on the basis of mutual commercial interests
and formal agreements rather than familial loyalties and obligations.
Hudson, Derek 3. "Rural Incomes in Botswana." Botswana Notes and Records,
Vol. 9, 1977: 101-108.
Reports on a sample survey to measure rural incomes, including the
statistical distribution of income among citizen households in rural areas
of Botswana; the extent of relative poverty; the extent of absolute
poverty; the contributions of various sources of income to the total
household income; the relation of income to the number of cattle owned by
the household. Also analyzes certain socioeconomic characteristics such
as size of household, how household members spend their time, fertility
patterns of mothers, etc. (Eicher Bibliography)
Income was generated through the following activities: 1) sale of maize,
sorghum and millet crop, as well as of beans and peas (a high proportion
of the latter was sold due to favorable prices); 2) sale of small stock
(goats and sheep); 3) employment in areas ranging from the full-time
"modern" to casual subsistence sector (e.g., temporary reaper of crops at
harvest); 4) beer brewing; 5) petty commodity production, and other
means. Data on the distribution of the incomes earned through these
activities was not disaggregated by gender.
Institute D'Etudes Economiques et Sociales. Transformation of Customary Land
Tenure Systems as a Result of Socio-Economic and Political Change: The
Case of Botswana. Paper prepared for the World Conference on Agrarian
Reform and Rural Development, July 12, 1979, Paris.
Describes changes in land tenure and land utilization, and discusses
problems relating to land reform. (Eicher Bibliography)
Izzard, Wendy. Rural-Urban Migration in a Developing Country: The Case of
Women Migrants in Botswana. D. Phil. Thesis, Oxford University, 1982.
A more detailed and comprehensive account than the fieldwork report
Rural-Urban Migration of Women in Botswana, Final Fieldwork
Report. Gaborone: Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Central
Statistics Office, National Migration Study; Ministry of Agriculture,
Rural Sociology Unit, 1979.
Presents some preliminary results drawn from nine months' fieldwork in
Botswana on rural-urban migration to Gaborone, focusing on women who are
heads of households. The research emphasizes the following topics: the
emergence of female-headed households and the matrifocality of the family
group; the stages of formation, growth and decay of the life-cycle of the
household in terms of support; the generational structure of these house-
holds; the interdependence of female-headed households; the decision-making
process in migration; the degree of permanency of the migration, and the
social and economic problems encountered by these women and how such
problems can be overcome. (Eicher Bibliography)
The author interviewed 84 female household heads in Gaborone, and 61 in
the villages of Kanye, Ramotswa and Oodi. Methodologically, she used a
life history matrix format to ascertain information on migration. Under
"Emergence of Female-Headed Households" Izzard defines matrifocality as a
situation where jurally, children are not necessarily affiliated to their
father's kin and where in terms of domestic relations and child rearing,
the mother and maternal kin predominate. A full 82% of the sample
interviewed fell into this category. Matrifocality tends to correspond
with the declining importance, both socially and economically, of the
father-figure within Tswana society. This may be due to the changing
pattern of economic relations where rural women are legally allowed to own
their land and urban women can support themselves through formal
employment. Moreover, a century of male labor migration made females de
facto heads of household; with legal and economic independence, women have
become de jure heads of household. She notes that female heads who have
not had adult males live with them predominate in the urban areas while
female heads who are widows, divorced or separated predominate in the
rural areas. Some 69% of the latter households are older (past
child-bearing age). Of those in the city, 61% first resided with
relatives and friends in Gaborone before establishing their own households.
While migration of a female to Gaborone is seen as bringing potential
benefit through remittances to the rural household, the study revealed
that 36% of the urban women were supported solely by their parents at the
birth of their children.
Some 77% of rural women either owned or borrowed land, but many had not
ploughed for several years due to the unavailability of labor. In
discussing why women migrate, the author makes the following points:
educating a daughter predetermines her migration to town; unmarried
mothers must earn income to support their children and that need guides
women to migrate; as women rarely set up their own households in town
immediately, the presence of a relative or friend with whom to stay might
enhance the decision to migrate.
The paper concludes with a number of policy recommendation on how to
address the needs of female-headed households, and how the government
needs to change its perceptions of women to that of human captial which
should not be wasted.
Kam, Ulla. Voluntary Women's Organizations in Botswana. Gaborone: Swedish
International Development Authority (SIDA), 1979.
Kerven, Carol. "Academics, Practitioners and All Kinds of Women in
Development: A Reply to Peters." Journal of Southern African Studies,
Vol. 10, No. 2, April 1984: 259-268.
In critiquing Peters' article ("Gender, Developmental Cycles and
Historical Process: A Critique of Recent Research on Women in Botswana"
in Vol. 10, No. 1, 1983), Kerven attempts to correct some of the
misconceptions Peters has given rise to. The first point relevant to this
bibliography is that of female-headed households and how policy does not
adequately address this issue. Kerven notes that the phenomenon of female-
headed household was first brought to the attention of the Government by
Bond in the early 1970s. It received wider focus as more researchers
found that such households are more disadvantaged than those with a male
head. This conclusion, however, prompted more finely-honed research by
the author which found that female-headed households are a highly
heterogenous group and are not uniformly disadvantaged. They are a very
mixed category in terms of wealth, composition and size of household,
ability and need for crop production, etc. While many households headed
by females are in a cyle of poverty because of the lack of draught power,
lack of male labor power, and lack of male migrant remittances to pay for
labor and draught inputs, many other female-headed households do have some
access to these inputs in social networks of reciprocity. This also has
its drawbacks, however, since use of draught and labor supplied by others
comes later in the season, after the others have tended to their own
ploughing and planting. Thus women almost invariably harvest less and
receive lower incomes from the sale of their produce.
Kerven takes exception to the directions for research Peters suggests.
Peters did not include women's wage employment in her study while Kerven
notes that it is arguably the single most important factor affecting the
social and economic position of women in Botswana. Kerven also strongly
recommends further research in the area of male support to women who have
their children, and how such support might correlate with class
_. National Migration Study Bibliography. Gaborone: Ministry of
Finance and Development Planning, Central Statistics Office, National
Migration Study/Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Sociology Unit, 1979.
A preliminary bibliography representing the collection of materials
gathered by the National Migration Study. Divided into two sections--Part
I lists the works dealing directly with migration in Southern Africa and
Part II lists a selection of works on social change, agriculture, income
and rural development in Botswana. No historical works are included.
National Migration Study. Urban and Rural Female-Headed
Households' Dependence on Agriculture. Gaborone: Ministry of Finance and
Development Planning, Central Statistics Office, 1979.
The author separates female-headed households into two groups: those who
either have some resources (e.g., cattle, land) of their own or who
receive reliable remittances from husbands on labor migration, and those
who have no husbands, no resources or no adult children.
The author summarizes her conclusions as follows: successful farming by
female-headed households depends on age of the head, marital status,
employment status, age and education of children and composition of the
household (how many laborers). Absence of young males from the rural
areas is due to the unattractive employment opportunities for them there
and the relative ease with which they can obtain wages in towns and in the
mines of South Africa. Work that females do now has traditionally been
done by-men. Consequences of this are decreased yields, more labor power
leaving to earn money to make up for agricultural inadequacies, and more
dependence on the communal group to share in the harvest.
Certain cautions are advanced by the author concerning policy. If women
were to be given draught power, this might upset the labor balance since
many women work on farms in return for draught power for their own
holdings. Policy must be directed not only at women, but their associated
other "segments" who are elsewhere, i.e., policies designed to target one
group might negatively effect another. She notes that one policy might be
beneficial to all: the subsidization of labor.
SReport on Tsamaya Village North East District. Gaborone:
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Sociology Unit, Division of Planning and
Statistics, Report Series No. 1., 1976.
Reports on a two-month study on a Tsamaya village and concludes that women
must be brought more effectively into agriculture planning and extension.
Also stresses that attempts must be made to involve entire communities in
development schemes, that severe labor and resource constraints must be
overcome, and that arable agriculture and its development must be seen as
inextricably linked to livestock programs. (Eicher Bibliography)
Underdevelopment, Migration and Class Formation in the North
East District of Botswana. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Toronto,
The subject of this thesis is urban migration in North East Botswana. The
central problem is to explain the economic underpinnings of the labour
migration pattern as found, and in particular the continuing need of urban
dwellers to maintain their economic links with rural areas. The continua-
tion of these links calls into question some theories of urban migration
which explain urban/rural ties as a consequence of "traditionalist"
tendencies among African migrants or else as ties between the unconnected
"dual economics" of urban versus rural sectors.
This problem is investigated from several aspects, namely present day
socio-economic patterns in the town of Francistown and its hinterland,
specific historic forces of imperialism and commercial activity and the
individual behaviour and attitudes of both urban and rural dwellers.
The methods used in the investigation, which consisted of ten months field
work in Botswana (1975-76) were participant-observation, life history
interviews and archival research. Three research locations were studied,
two squatter settlements in Francistown and a rural village of
out-migration some 25 miles away from the town.
The results of the research indicate that migration to town is largely a
product of the rural areas' inability to provide subsistence and cash
opportunities, for the majority of the population. The previous
alienation of land by a private company, at the turn of the century, set
into motion a process of rural impoverishment and a need for cash. This
resulted in out-migration of adult males, which in turn deprived the rural
areas of labour power and further underdeveloped them. Meanwhile, urban
wage levels were set low enough to prevent migrants from completely
relying on wages for subsistence in the town.
Therefore, urban and rural dwellers are straddling a fine line between
marginal rural subsistence and low, unpredictable wage employment. Rural
economic links are maintained in order to support members of a migrant's
family and to provide insurance against unemployment, sickness and old
age. Consequently, the rural and urban economic spheres are highly
The conclusions of the thesis support the argument that it is the
imposition of a colonial capitalist mode of production in southern Africa
which has necessitated a pattern of migration in which rural economic
links must be maintained. Thus the urban capitalist sector is dependent
for part of its profit upon the rural pre-capitalist sector which is
therefore integrated with the former rather than isolated from it. The
rural sector has been allowed to stagnate to the point where it can only
provide economic back-up to migrants, rather than an alternative viable
subsistence. This merging of two modes of production has been accompanied
by an emerging class structure which is neither fully capitalist nor
pre-capitalist, but an underdeveloped combination of the two.
Ketlareng, C. L. "Grain Storage Methods." AGRINEWS, Vol. 7, 1976: 8-9.
Kooijman, Kunnie. Bokaa, Living and Learning in an African Village.
Cambridge: International Extension College, 1980.
Although the author's fieldwork, conducted in 1971, 1972 and 1977,
originally was designed to ascertain the needs for non-formal education in
the village of Bokaa, some 40 km from Gaborone, due to difficulties in
ascertaining meaningful responses, the author decided to translate her
assignment into an analysis of the social and economic problems of Bokaa.
An account of social and cultural change is given as well as one of
community development and health care. Chapter 4: Cattle, Agriculture
and Economic Change is most relevant to this bibliography.
Although cattle husbandry and agriculture continue to be the major
economic focus of the middle-aged and older people of the village, the
rest of the population depends on wage labor/remittances and other income-
generating activities such as beer brewing. However, the Rural Income
Distribution Survey indicated that even with several types of income, 45%
of the population still live under the poverty line. Cattle are accumu-
lated as economic goods, but not necessarily to be sold to raise standards
of living. They have high prestige value and are relied upon heavily for
milk and draught power. It follows that those who are poor in cattle
(those who have less than 6 cattle required for a span to plough) are also
poorest in crops since without cattle, households must await the loan of
another family's cattle to plough after they have finished their own
fields. Cattle are also used to pull sledges on which firewood, crops,
and water are carried, in barter in exchange for grain, to pay court fees
and herd boys, to exchange for brides, and to be killed and consumed at
ritual feasts. A cow is assigned to each child (including girls) at birth
and parents are seen as the guardians/caretakers of such animals and their
offspring until children grow up and can assume responsibility for
themselves. For these reasons, it is the quantity of cattle which is
important, not necessarily the quality. In conducting a survey of 110
households, the author found that 35% of the households had no cattle,
another 8% had only 1-4 (not enough to plough) and another 35% had between
5 and 14. Only 4 households had between 50 and 100 head, and many of
these more commercial ranchers.lent out their cattle (mafisa) so that they
would not be accused of witchcraft because of having accumulated so many
animals. More than 20% of households had received mafisa cattle, but in
65% of these instances they were given to households which already had
Almost 93% of households cultivated their fields in sorghum, millet, beans
and small quantities of maize, sweet reed, squash and watermelon. The
author notes that Beans are the only crop which are primarily grown for
sale as the market price is relatively high. But farmers were unable to
meet even subsistence needs due to exhaustion of the soil, poor agricul-
tural techniques, inequality of cattle ownership and migrant labor. The
gender-specific division of labor makes women responsible for crops and
men for cattle; thus young males are reluctant to enter agriculture even
though a family's fields may have been expanded. Women must cultivate to
feed their families as there is little other choice for them in paid
employment. Weeding is done only once and is usually started when weeds
are already tall and strong. In performing a labor survey, the author
found 46% of households cultivated without men ages 16-55 and another
14.8% did so without males or females in this age group. The growing
demands of cropping altered the herding priorities of men such that cattle
posts were abandoned, and cattle were kept close to the fields. This has
resulted in gradual destruction of the local environment.
Traditional settlement patterns have been altered as a result of economic
pressures and the attenuation of the political system. More people stay
in homes on their fields throughout the year than live in the village once
the harvest is in. Fragmentation has resulted in the inability to form
farmer organizations which might facilitate an extension worker's job or
build stronger reliance mechanisms. An extension agent has been in the
village since 1948, but due to lack of cooperation tends to work more with
"scheme" (more progressive) farmers and ignores the rest. The scheme is
an educational endeavor in which pupil farmers are taught to be master
farmers, but problems in implementing the scheme involve poverty, labor
shortage, limited rewards and traditional beliefs.
The chapter on women, love and marriage illustrates how education has
opened new avenues for both political and economic mobility for women,
even in rural village leadership.
Social and Economic Change in a Tswana Village. Leiden:
Afrika Studiecentrum, 1978.
Botswana has seen significant economic change and has undergone a rapid
political transformation since its independence, not only at the national
but also at the local and district levels. The country's economy remains
based on the earnings of labour migrants to South Africa, on agriculture,
and on animal husbandry as it did in pre-independence times. Today,
however, economic opportunities have diversified with the growth in local
and national government employment, new mining developments and with
increasing opportunities for trade and commerce. Diversification is the
key word here, for those who have grasped these opportunities have not
abandoned the pattern of migration and agriculture, rather they have.
combined new opportunities with the old.
Kunnie Kooijman gives us an account of change in one Botswana village.
She traces some the changes in production, labour availability, and
related patterns of residence and is anxious to point out the structure of
inequality in the village. What she does not do is present us with a
systematic analysis of productive relations, property ownership, and
capital accumulation in the village, or of the significance of multiple
occupations for rural differentiation.
Ms. Kooijman's overriding view is that of a 'traditional' society
collapsing under the impact of the 'forces of modernisation.' The ethos
changes from communalismm to individualism' while, on the political front,
the traditional chiefship is in decline. She is undoubtedly correct that
the chief does not have the power he once had, but the impression of
village life she gives is almost one of a political vacuum. This would
seem strange, given accounts we have of other contemporary Tswana
villages. There, an increasingly diversified economy has given rise to
new resources, new classes, new competitions and new institutions; while
political struggles have been fought out in new, often informal and
overlapping, arenas. This book alludes to such developments in local
politics but does not really give them the empirical or theoretical
attention they deserve. (Review by Nicholas Mahoney, Africa, 51 (4),
Koussoudji, S. and E. Mueller. "The Economic and Demographic Status of
Female-Headed Households in Rural Botswana." Economic Development and
Cultural Change, Vol. 31, No. 4, 1983: 831-859.
The purpose of this article is "to analyze the demographic and economic
status of female-headed households" in rural Botswana where "insufficient
earning opportunities force many men to live and work away from home."
The article demonstrates that these households are poorer than others and
explores the reasons for their poverty. It analyzes the social customs,
economic institutions and economic behavior of women that either alleviate
or aggravate their economic problems. Basing much of their information on
the data collected as part of the Rural Income Distribution Survey, the
authors found the following: being unmarried or separated may be a
characteristic of a particular life-cycle stage since the preponderance of
males who migrate are in the 20-40 age group with many deferring marriage
until after labor migration ceases at about age 40; female-headed house-
holds are somewhat younger than male heads and that a separate household
may be formed before any children can be net contributors to it; female-
headed households receive the greatest portion of their income from their
own labor and that even when transfer payments are included in calculating
household income, female-headed units still have less income than male
heads; one of the explanations of female poverty is the low level of asset
ownership among female-headed households (cattle, land, equipment); women
may own cattle, be bequeathed them, win them in a court case or buy them,
but usually cannot have access to them through traditional mafisa lending;
female headed households with no males present own the lowest number of
stock; women receive land from their husbands or the fathers of their
children or through Land Board allocation, but in the latter instance the
household must be able to cultivate in order to receive a holding; female
headed households cultivate only 2/3 the area of male headed households;
often female crop income derives from women working in other people's
fields; the gender based division of labor allocates chores to women
requiring little capital and is characterized by low-productivity, and
those that are more capital intensive and more productive to men; child
care obligations tend to confine women to less productive economic
activities and prevent them from translating their educational qualifi-
cations into opportunities in the wage labor market. The article concludes
with several policy recommendations: special credit facilities should be
available to women; fathers should bequeath more cattle to their
daughters, women should receive more crop extension education; and more
rural cooperatives should be created.
Kowet, Donald Kalinde. Land, Labour Migration and Politics in Southern Africa:
Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of
African Studies, 1978.
Development specialists in Southern Africa as well as desk-bound
academicians should start their area orientation by reading this volume.
Dr. Kowet has provided a refreshing departure from more conventional
analyses of political economy and dependence networks. Unfortunately, the
attention of the reader is constantly interrupted with spelling,
punctuation and grammatical errors. The author moves beyond an indictment
of colonialism and capitalism to a Real Politik which allies traditional
leaders, new black managerial elite, and South African socio-economic
interests in the maintenance of the status quo.
Professor Kowet's analysis is based upon Samir Amin's three-part typology
of colonial penetration in Africa: first, those countries of the colonial
economy; second, countries administered by the concession-owning
companies; third, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda,
Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and Angola.