Front Cover
 Title Page
 Introduction: Physical feature...
 Pre-colonial situation
 Colonial period
 Post-independence period
 Women's access to agricultural...
 Women's relation to research
 Impact on nutrition
 Impact of cash economy on food...

Group Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Title: Impact of modern changes i the Chitemene Farming System in the Northern Province of Zambia
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081694/00001
 Material Information
Title: Impact of modern changes i the Chitemene Farming System in the Northern Province of Zambia
Series Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Tembo, Mary N.
Publisher: University of Florida
Publication Date: 1986
Subject: Africa   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Africa -- Zambia -- Northern
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081694
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: African Studies Collections in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Introduction: Physical features
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Pre-colonial situation
        Page 3
    Colonial period
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Post-independence period
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Women's access to agricultural extension services
        Page 8
    Women's relation to research
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Impact on nutrition
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Impact of cash economy on food and nutrition
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
Full Text

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The central theme of this paper is the fact that women's ability

to produce food has been deteriorating over time in the Chitemene

FarminG System in the Northern Province of Zambia. The high male

migration to other rural or urban areas has caused women to form

a larger percentage of peasant producers. The intensification of

cash crop production, dominated by men, has led to male shift away

from food production.

An important change in food and nutrition is the replacement of

millet by cassava. The nutrition situation is precarious and the

tendency of people to sell groundnuts, beans and millet without

having a surplus makes this still worse. Traditional values and

attitudes too should be taken into account.

The methodology used in tackling the above identified problems

is based on investigative techniques as well as analysis of written

documents and direct observation of the rural women's life in the

Northern Province.


Physical Features

Northern Province is one of the nine provinces of Zambia. It is

bordered by the Republic of 1Malawi to the north east, Republic of

Zaire in the Northwest, Luapula province to the west, Central

province to the south and Tanzania to the north. The province has

a total area of 157,727 Ka2 out of which 96,288 Km is arable land,

but the rest is non arable land because of Muchinga Mountain range

all along the eastern part and swamps along shires of lakes

Bangweulu and iweruwantipa. The soil is generally leached and

acidic because of high rainfall; but with good management many

crops can be successfully grown. At the same time, it is worth

noting that there are few patches of good soils here and there.

Liming should be used to correct the acidity is a permanent

system of arable cropping is to be substituted for the traditional

methods of shifting cultivation. Heavy use of nitrogen and other

fertilizers will be needed in order to maintain Good crop yeilds.

These soils are as susceptible to erosion as most other sandveldt

soils if soil conservation practices are not used.

The annual rainfall exceeds 1000 mm. The more cloudy and humid

environment makes conditions less suitable for virginia tobacco

and maize although both crops can be grown. Pineapples and some

fruit trees grow well where irrigation can be provided and so do

coffee and tea on deep soils. Pasture improvement by reseeding,

use of fertilizers and irrigation and where available it is also

possible for dairy farming near large urban areas. In general,

however, the strongly leached sandveldt soils in the Northerm

Province must be regarded as poor soils, with a low economic


- 2 -


The Northern Province of Zambia is divided into nine (9) districts,

namely; Chilubi, Chinsali, Isoka, Kaputa, Kasama, Luwin.u, Mbala,

Mpika and Mporokoso.

The population of the area is slightly over 677,894 and more than

60% practise subsistence farming, and live on cassava, millet,

beans and local vegetables as their staple food. While fishing

is also another occupation for people living along lake shores of

Banoweulu, Mweruwantipa and Tanganyika. (Annual Report 1983/83).

It should be observed that in Zambia more specifically in the study

area, there is a preponderance of fewiale over males in the popula-

tion distribution. Linked to this fact is a marked proportion of

households which are headed by females. (IRDP, Occassional paper

No. 5). Clearly these aspects have important implications on

available household labour resources and type of decision-making

processes at household level. Female predominance in the popula-

tion does not seen to be reflected in programmes membership, For

instance the Integrated Rural Development Programmes only had 24%

of females participating, although it is noted that Integrated

Rural Development Programmes (IRDP) have recognized the dominance

of women in Northern Province. (ASSP, 1933).

Details on population distribution and growth rate in the study

area is shown in Table I and the distribution of rural/urban popu-

lation and sex ratio is shown in Table II.




Chitemene Shifting Cultivation

Chitemene Shifting Cultivation is the traditional a :ricultural

system of the Bemba in Northern Zambia. It is an agricultural

system, where crops are ,rown in the ash after burning a pile of

collected, stacked branches, lopped and chopped from treus of an

area 5 to 8 times the size of the cultivated garden. Finger

liillet, groundnuts and sorghum are planted for three years conse-

cutively. After so;a years of cultivation, the plot is left fallow

until the trees are grown enough again. The chitemene shifting

cultivation makes nutrients available which were previously stored

in the vegetation it utitizes the natural forest or woodland as

the agricultural fallow crop. (Journal of Internation Agriculture),

Both men and women performed specific agricultural tasks within

the agricultural cycle. Men lopped or felled trees, and turned

fresh soils. Together with the women they scared birds, harvested

and built granaries. ;!omen turned the soils, planted, weeded,

scared birds, harvested and carried the produce to the villages

for storage. They also cultivated additional crops such as

pumpkins, sweetpotatoes, groundnuts and other nuts. Clearly,

women performed more tasks than the men. But while this was the

case in the agricultural sector, men were more active in hunting,

fishing, smelting and interregional trade. Single women in these

societies had access to land independently, brothers or uncles

could control the labour of their children (Muntemba, 1977).

Due to low level of technology (axe and hole), fields were limited

in size. The possible shortage of staple grains was compensated by

a variety of other foods such as nuts, pumpkins and sweetpotatoes.

'hen these did not see then through the year or when the climate

was unfavourable, women gathered wild relishes such as caterpillars,

mushrooms, vegetables and fruits at certain times of the year when


- 4-

these were available.

The Colonial Period

A review of women as food producers during the colonial period,

in the Northern Province, cnn be aeen as those from nreas which

experienced high male labour migration.

As copper mining intensified, the establishment of related

industries became possible. Early 1906, the British South African

Company (BSAC) formed in 1684 had assisted in financing a rail

link from its southern african interest to Kabwe. The generationn

of related industries that followed were all located along this

so-called line of rail, which also happened to pass through the

best agricultural land in the country.

As might be expected in a colonial context, agricultural policies

were turned towards promoting the interest of the white settler

community who occupied the most accessible and best agricultural

land. The indigenous population was seen essentially as a source

of cheap labour for the copper industry and associated construction

activity. A native tax payable in cash forced the Africans to take

up employment in the mines. They had not the capital to take up

farming oriented to supply the food to the growing urban and mininc

sector. That was loft entirely to settler farmers. Indeed the

marketing network for African produce and the rural road system

were deliberately left undeveloped (ILO, 181). The result was that

the African having nothing to sell was forced to sell himself (Sklar,

1975). For the purpose of this paper, three policy issues are

identified that are of particular importance during this period

i.e. migration, agricultural policy and land policy.

a) Migration and Agricultural changes

As copper mining intensified in the region, stretching from South

Africa to the Congo (Zaire), African labour from Northern Rhodesia

(Zambia) circulated among these countries. Men from the Northern,

North-western, .iontern and parts of Lastern Provinces migrated in

great numbers. Yet in these areas their contribution to a.-riculture,

i.e. to fell or lp trees for the purposes of fuel and subsequent ash

fertilization and to help care birds was more important. The lnnd

rotation system, whereby fields had t(; be continuously extended was

essential By 1930s some villages could not practise this owing

to absence of young !.en. ';o en who had started t. per form most

tasks, could not fell or lop trees. Less fertilization of soil

occurred (Lof, G. 1974). Those who tried the chitemene system,

cut down the whole tree which was easier for wcnem and children,

but the rerowth of the trees was inhibited. This has serious

consequences for the fertility of the soil (Fyson, 1972).

In the 1950s there was an outbreak of locusts in the province and

most vegetation was destroyed. ilany people had no food that year.

This was the be.ining of the introduction of cassava in tne area

as a crop to turn to when there was a similar disaster. !foren

planted cassava with millet in their gardens in the first year.

In the second year the cassava is often so hi,;h already that the

Groundnuts do not grow very well (Audrey Richards). There was a

drift towards Growing less nutritious crops (such as cassava)

which were less taxing in terms of labour(Intensive Development

Zones 1977). In a number of cases the poor nutritional status

of rural children may be directly attributed to the pressure on

women to fulfill the multiple tasks which included raising cash

to send children to school, food preparation and processing (ILO,191).

b) Agricultural Rural Policy

Until 1945, the Agricultural Rural Policy consisted almost entirely

of encouraging he production of cash crops such as maize, cotton,

tobacco and groundnuts. However, financial, technical and rarketin.

assistance was limited to the South, Central and Eastern parts

of the country which were the major agricultural areas. (Huntemba,

1977). From 1960, the government attempted to sublimate national

- 5 -

S 6

aspirations by extending 'rural development projects to 'non-

a :ricultural' areas. Efforts were half hearted and did not :c'

any impact. Furthermore, the government 1w/ished to keep the

non-producing region as a labour reservoir. For these reasons,

male outward :.igLration .rew while vis. ta by nmirant workers to

their homes became few and far between and ;many more were .ccRiig

urbanized (Muntemba, 1977). Thus, although land reainzod abundantn'

in the Northern Province, problems connected with labour accele-

rated. In general though not intentionally agricultural iupro-

ve:ents were naliacst entirely orientated to cen. This affected

the wou..en adversely and further undermine their economic situation.

c) Land

By tradition, women had always had access to land. 1'ith the

opening of biji fari.is to the production of cash crops, land was

allocated to .2als head of household. The result was thio i.

only could practice modernn methods of agriculture and. as fertile

land is very scarce, husbands became reluctant to allocate plotz

to women for traditional crop production apart froi:! the family

plot (Muntenba, 1979). The female headed households weu

adversely affected.

Post Independence Period

Initially, the independent government was committed to rural'

development' through the :.oney economy (Klepper, 1979). But as

can be seen clearly from Table 3 none of these objectives were

achieved. It also wished to increase a6ricultures' contribution

to the Gross i:ational Product (GNP).(Muntemba, 1977). Fro, t.'e

early 1970s copper prices started to slide down the world market.

Agriculture, therefore, was seen as a means of earning fori-rn

exchan_;e. For these reasons peasants were exhorted to increase

their cash crop production, particularly of cotton, sunflower and

tobacco. They were alco urged to Grow riaize and other foo< crops

: .- /7...

to feed the nation andl to increase their ,roundnut production

fur oil extractic-.. The 'non-producing' labour reservoirs

northernn Province) were also encourag-d to produce Cr.nize,

not as a do.:estic food but as a saleable crop. To aid the:, in

increasing productivity, the state hei.~htened its support and

improved the a ricultural prices of cash cr.ps rMore an micre

peasants were :iven training in effienient methods of production

hut the wooen were not trained.

1981 To-d?.te

Data available still portray that womcn's capacity to produce

has continued to deterior:.te.

According to the population recorded in the 1980 census, it is

stated that the "oil lineof rail" provinces (Central, Copperbelt,

Southern anr; Lusaka) have gained in population mainly et the

expence of Northern and Luapula Provinces. (Table 4). This

means that migration has continued even in these years, depriving

the province of the nuch needed labour force.

It must be noted that the use of oxen, where available in the

North, while it reduces the number of hours needed for cultivation

does not reduce the tilie needed for weeding, sowing, or harvesting,,

being tasks done by wo:en. (Constantina Safilios-Rothschild, 1925).

More specifically, a study undertaken in Mpika, 1iorthern Province

showed that in a random sample of 112 farms household, women spLnt

average of 6.6 hours per day in agriculture .iurin.; the far:ling

season while men spend 5.7 hours per day. In addition, of course,

women spend on the average 4.1 hours per day in household activities

while men spend only 0.4hrs. Thus, on the average, during the

farming season women contribute 53% of total hours of I:bour in

agriculture while men contribute 47' (Due and Mudenda 1934).

In another study conducted in 5 villages of varying socio-econon-ic

characteristics in .Mubanga, Chinsali, it was found that 26, of

the woi,en arnd only 15.75 of the men were working full-tiae on

S. .

the fir"i. On the otLhr hand, 14.1 percent of tihe ;n;-n andO 10.5

percent of the ':o.icn iwor-ked Icrt-tim.c on the farr.o. e 'o t..e

nen who work on the farn only part-tii.e, Lend ~ mot ;f their tie

fishing, (49+) "whiie their rest attend other chores of villapc li:C..

such as looking: after cattle, repairing thatched roofs (ilwila, 1 91).

Furthermore, it has been identified that wo:..en are engaged in all

agricultural tasks anIl produce all crops (sorghum:, .maize, millots,

groundnuts, sweetpotatoes). Very few tasks such as weeding .,nd

harvesting are shared with uen (IRDP, 1083). Therefore a1oour

saving technology fur women is necessary in order to improve

their participation in both the traditional and the cash crop


The usage of outside labour is linked directly to farn sales and

eventually far:: income. Thus, women's agricultural workload is

heavier auiionj low-inco:me farm households in which labour cannot be

hired (Allen, 1904). In some instances the labour is hired at a

time when the family plot needs weeding and therefore is neglcct'.d.

The rainy season too contributes to the heavy daC.:.nds in labour

There is only one rainy season in Zambia in which a farmer as to

,row all the different crops he needs and has to do it in a vezy

short time. As farms expand, weedin, is likely to be the -:ost

seriously constraininu factor.

.;omen's Access to Agricultural Extension Services

Although the agricultural extension objectives are the reduction

of poverty and the increase of agricultural output, up to now the

focus has been primirily on the latter and hence, on well off

farmers who can afford modern agricultural inputs. Tne advice

given has continued to be concentrated on maize, sunflower,

tobacco and cotton together with a package of cultivation methods

and inputs designed to encourage an intensive approach to production

(Muntemba, 1977).

Little attention has been paid, on the other hand, to the traditional


9 -

crops such no,. cass. iv:, sor'.hu' and i;,illot whici. ..re "tuonents

crops". Thus, woe;en Z,:r'.iers have had little access to : riculc:t'r '

extension staff because they have been viewe 1d -a subsistc -ce .r:re;rs

despite the fact that a considerable number of ;wo:.en cultivate

food as well as cash cr-ps and most sell so..Ie of the surplus.

It is a clear factor that in siLne areas, there are cultural lbrriers

to women's access to male a.ricultural extension staff and the

lar:e pcrcentaje of -xtension staff are do;:inated by .-ale. In

1961, the available data showed that thore were 1,44'; as.:ricuitural

extension staff r.ia-bers to the provincial and district levol,

and out of that 9.6% were women (Safilios, 1935).

Althoufjh the disse;.in:'tion of agricultural information and i.;prvr.v.

agricultural practices is very important for both wives ,uJ' female

heads of huou.-ehold, a first aaj.or effort should bae .;a1e to incre-se

the number of wu.-en i.;ricultural extension workers in c.-istricts

in which the incidence of female heads of household is hi:;h as can

be seen in table 5.

Jonen's -ccess to -'armer's training: centres has been ani :'.ill

continue to be very limited as long as it is offered at residential

centres. A study in .Norther!l Province reports that only 5;- of the

women had .ttende farmer training courses (Gaobepe and uienda, 19o0).

In a district like Samfya in which 41,o of farr: households are

headed by women, no wo:en were reported to have attended the

courses offered at the Samfya Farmer's Training Centre throuth-..ut

1903. This is hardly surprising since women farmers who are

heads of household cannot take several weeks off to attend *lsses

offered away from their village.

Women's Relation to Iesearch

As in the case with all activities within the agricultural production

agricultural research still appears tc be mostly confinol to

the solution rf classical agricultural proble:as, which are

essentially technical, such as research in pure stand crops


- 10 -

especially cash crops :.ni -ono-culture, which h are still continuinC

to be a do;.:;in of ;.~;e (Snchak, 1977). Moreover, rc(;:t nr;oblz:s .f

agricultural iiprovei;.ent being resolved as primarily technical

problems such as i::iprovingI crop yields arid ani:i:al production t!;rou.;h

the optiaum- packa e of inputs, how to conserve the soil etc. have

been studied in isolation as each separate problem. As could be

judged now, obviously, technical solutions alone h!v= not been

adequate answers to the proble;,s of improving agricultural produc-

tion, and it is new realized that agricultural levelop.ment involves

human ahnd not merely technical problems. Sachak (1977) strongly

argues that, very little is known of research which deals with

the multi-cropping practices of traditional African production

which has been the domain of women in a riculture revolution of

the seventies, and the impact of the International .;o:.ienls Year,

not data was available on women in most social science developl -nt

studies (Paparek, 1975). Many of the available books on women

are in most cases too vague, over generalized and contain in noat

comparative surveys which include little concrete information

except for nicro data such as work participation rates or educa-

tional statistics. ''allo.an (1977) concludes her amralysis by

saying that, >:ost historical examination work done on the status

of women in particular cultures, were pioneer works which however

in most cases, lack depth an: theoretical vigour.

Nelson (1979) relates the little available research done on wor.in,

to the fact that most researchers, planners and me;.bers of funing

agencies have been ien, who have perceived women as basically

peripheral to any important socio-economic process (unless it be

the so-called 'Irome economics' which are quickly perceived as -he

concern of women). Most often iimn have in the past planned .nd

researched for men about men, regarding women as the dependents

of males andl their proper place has been in the calculation of


/ *II ...

- 11

In most cases the past researchers, planners, cnd development

experts .ieve also becn ..:ildle class western :l;en, with particular

views on the .lace of 'women and who could have contributed to this

limited perception of women's proper place in develop..e.t process.

The few available women researchers hnve perhaps hesitated tc study

women, partly becaur,- they have been trained by male colleagues

an-1 thus nEve absorbed their biases, and partly because they c.-

afraid to be labelled feminists a pejorative 1:.bel for .:a:y in

the third world as well as in the west.

The very way in which researchers, planners define developn.nt

has also contributed to their attitude to women in the develoi;uent

process. most of then have viewed development as to mean a move

tuwards the market situation and/or wage employment ('ebstor, 196i4).

Mabo;iunje (1910) discussed levels of development in terms of 3ross

National Product, which one would argue against it prcvidinr

statistical data on the performance of majority of countries, and

on which iany decisions are based. Webster (19849 also argues

that the Gross National Product data are usually national avera-es

which in themselves say nothing. about the distribution ci resources

amono the population, moreover, tIey leave out certain activities

that have economic value: the work of dormestic labourers usually: :

women who receive no payer.-nt for running and caring for the house-

hold), and activity that takes many hours of unsocial l;.bour ti'.eo

and the work of fa,:ilies in producing food for their own consulmption

subsistence production. Really one would question how accuratee

these figures are, hew they are compile, by whom and for what.

Hence such concept uo development has led to concentration on the

male heads of households, because they are the family memb-rs '.ho

most frequently participate in the formal market economy.

Another factor which could be linked with the concept of levelupment

is the difficulty in defining work. Statisticians, planners, and

scholars fine. it very difficult to define -nd quantify work.


- 12 -

This could be as D result *f th' failure of t.;; c.on:vetion-l

rese.-rch tools t, rc.ccri infur:nal work (ITlson, 1979). Data

fro::: ::icro-.studies, census, and national ;.;a:le surveys conflict

and fail to reveal anry of the co::plex-: processes of economic life

taking place in the villages (Zeidenstein, 1975). 'i uiti/at:

result of this conce-tual confusion is a tendency to Jcfine :o:t

rural wc.len as dep:nd;ents who are peripheral to the developc: nt

process. Since wo!on do not 'work' it is only necessary to

educate and uodurnise the male heads of households in order to

brin.; about developlunt changes.

Impact un Nutrition

"To conclude, it can be said that most constituents consicd.red

essential to a balanced dietary are present in the Boob3.!h viron-

ment, with th -c i:.portant exceptions of sufficient anima:nl protein,

fat and salt. Th.-re is an absolute shortJ e of rmillet rcclkncd

either by the fi 'ures of the amount available annually or from

the obvious seasonal scarcity, and the natives' reliance on this

one staple -lakes this lack a dangerous one. The most viluabll

accessary foods such as the pulses only last part of thu yoar, ani.

the supply of green vegetables is li,.ited to a iw izonths. i.ilk

is never obtainable. Except in the case of ae-at and ill;, t'lse

deficiencies appear to be due to difficulties of production,

storin and exchange r.thuir than to any particular environmental

defectss." (Audrey iRichards).

In generall the situation is more or less the same. Chantes can

be noted in cases where cassava has replaced r:illet as a staple

food to a large extent a-d that salt is now widely available.

A study undertaken in Kasama, estimate that most people in thesee

areas use at least 70', cassa-va meal to aake their iJshima, although

they prefer to mix this with millet meal (the other 3O;'). Since

they do not have enough millet, they cannot use more for the nzhina;


- 13 -

in the period January to 'iay they may vcry well have to rely on

cass-va alone. Hiillot is preferred to cassava because of its

'lasting powe-r'(it takes longer before you feel hun ry .-::in).

There are no storing problems as far as millet is concerned.,

but the difficulties of production are important as ;lention2.

earlier (labour constraints). Jince now women have t:;- easily

produced cassava as a replacement they tend to use millet -,:cre

and more for brewing beer which is later sold to ,:ain inco;:;e.

Nutritionally this has affected children who benefited frcmn the

more nutritious Nshiiza made out of millet.

The amount of cassava flour used in the preparation of nshiir.'a

varies depeaninC on the availability but on the aver:a: it is

about 400;gm/dy/p-rson. Such cassava nshiima gives a nutrient

supply of 1,361 calories, 2:m protein, 220 ma calcium, o.O Ma

iron, 0.16 Lo thiamin, 0 vitamin A, 0 vitamin C. 0.16 :. ribo-

flavin, 3.2 :;: nicotinic Acid. (The requirement of an adult ;;:an

moderately active according to Food and A-riculture Orjanizetin

requirement table (1974) is 3,000 calories, 37 ig of protein,

5.9 mg of iron, 400-500 mg of calcium, 1.2 ,m of thiamin, 1.6 ;-

of riboflavin, 19.8 me of nicotinic acid, 30 mg of vitamin C

and 750 mg of vitamin A).

The same amount (400c) of millet meal made in nshimn., will live

a nutrient supply of 1,392 calories, 26.4 g:i protein, 1060 .; of

calcium, 16.0 in; of iron, 0 vitamin A, C vitamin C 1.36 ra: Thia.iin,

0.64 mi of Riboflavin, 2.0 mn of nicotinic acid.

Maize is probably more common than in Audrey Richards' days, 'ut

it is still not so important and it is mainly eaten as cobs lurir-

February to April. The taste of maize is also liked for ten nshin.;

but maize is considered to have less 'lasting power' than millet,

and eore over the pounding of maize means hard labour for women

in areas wi eru there is no hammer mill or where they have t' wIlk

long distances to the hammer mill. Thiu.h maize production has

increased in thx :irea, Post of it is sold, andi very few hous,--

holds prc:luce nr.ize to primarily be used for home consu.1pticn.

Lack of suit'bl'l soil and the labour to protect it from: bir's hA-,:

resulted in th, dJissappeorence of sorghun. Sweetpotatoes ae.

cassavr had only been ijrown widely during the locust r-ids in

response to direct juvernment pressure (.R.). Today, -a ie sea,

cassav. is very coi-:ionly -:rown, since it is a tiL,:e rnJd ioour

savin- crop which uill produce even on soil clse to exhaustion.

Sweetputatoes are found every where but in unimportant cquantitius.

They are available from April to August and serve often as a

quick :meal or snnck (nt breakfast or lunch time).

In fact, only nshima with relish is considered to Le t i-:ol.

Most of the ti.:'e people do not have regular meals because of

lack of tiine for the wvuian to prepare a 'eal since it isc .nly

a woman who can cook traditionally.

Animal protein sources are indeed. not plentiful in N!orthirn Province.

There is hardly any came left and the huntin, is illegal without

a licence. Even if it were legal, :;en are not plenty to hunt

anymore. Sometimes people eat caterpillars and insects or at

special occasions a chicken. According to the Food Consumption

Survey (FCS) all thvse animal protein sources (?a.ae included)

constitute together 51;/person/year for icrthern Province. This

means 2-3 oa animal protein/person/day on the average. More

important is dried fish which is eaten once or twice a week

(especially in the dry season) supplying 10-15 .-: ania;:l protein/

person/-ay. Fresh fish is ..ore often available in the Cha.ibe1hi

valley and alone, the shores of the lakes. Most fish has been

destroyed due to intensive fishing, (with poison).

Groundnuts and Leans (women's crops) are the main vegetnhle protein

sources giving. some 5-10 -n vegetable protein/person/day according

to the Food Consumption Durvey (FCS) data for Northern Province.


- 14 -

15 -

Le.fy> vye. ot.bltes are the .o ;t coi:.;;on relish, besides .uahroo:.:s

:nd puupkine (which -.r:- *;ll women's crops) iwhicl. .r, nutriti-nally

less relevant but important. These are usually Irie. an., ecten

in le-n monthshs.

Fruit trees :re ;i.:firly coriuon especially ian,.osns n.. b:.nanna s,

But fruits are i:oainly considered to be for children or for o:.-en

perhaps. Tney ar. no't eaten i i.iportant quantities exce-t

during the *,ianco season (Dec,;iaber-January). In tu Chna.ibocshi

valley fruits are ,:v.ilable throughout the year (c;uavas =n-.

pawpaws). There are also plenty of wild fruits.

The Impact of Cash Economy on Food and Nutrition

"The introduction of money has encouraged natives to sell r.cre

millet than they should, but its circulation is not sufficient

to make it useful as a general means of exchan.;, ran the !),:o]le's

attitude to its use still prohibits them working' for -- r -ul-ar

sale and exchange of foo" (A.R).

Today the circulation of many is not so much a pro'len. :ven in

a remote :rea whi-re people can be said to live entirely at suL-

sistence level, villagers receive money occasionally, usually

rem;ittance from relatives, piece work with other people's fields

and from sales of their own agricultural produce. Nost of this

money is spent quickly in stores to buy soap, sugar, paraffin,

candles or it is used to buy school uniforms. Rarely .u ipople

budget for this money or reinvest to bring in more incoe. The

people also buy home brewed beer and millet from each other, or

fish from passing traders.

A regular sale and exchange of food is not so much prohibited

because of insufficient circulation of money, but more because

of a lack of agricultural surplus production and the fact th:.t

most people do not know how to save and to invest money. eican-

while people are selling more millet than they should and the


and the same is true for groundnuts and beans.

An example shows that; for selling half a Lajket of groundnuts

still in the husks which is the supply for two to three weeks

for a household of eiz people one can earn K2 or K2.50n. This

money can easily be spent. (Zk 5.86 = 1 US X). (Example in Table 6).

Thus selling of groundnuts means a considerable nutritional loss

and the same will be true for beans and millet.

Men tend to neglect agriculture and especially the cultivation of

food crops in favour of the possibility to earn money. This

attitude affects seriously the self-sufficiency in the production

of foods. The possibility of money income does not necessarily

replace the loss of food production. Since these people are not

used to the money economy, the cash earned even from farming is

not properly utilized for the benefit of the family. The situation

is worsened by the fact that the heavy workload in agriculture is

on women who have limited roles in decision making even concerning

the utilization of available resources.

The agriculture practices in Northern Provinces (the changing

farming systems) and men migration coupled with the money economy

has played a role in lowering the nutrition status of the area.

Until recently, agriculture research in the Ministry of Ajriculture

and Water Development (MAWD) has focused on cash crops. On the

other hand, prising policies and transportation policies of the

marketing agencies have for a long time favoured cash crops. This

has lead to the expansion of cash crop production at the expense

of tradional crops.

In 1985, the National food and Nutrition Commission carried out

a study in Mpika area to assess the Nutritional impact of the

Integrated Rural Development Programme activities. The weight/

height indicator (a current nutritional status indicator) showed

that throughout

- 16

17 -
that througheas the programme area includingg Chinaali) as farmers

move from subsistence farming into the market economy the nutri-

tional status of the children (6-60 months) in the households

declines, (Example in table 7).


From the tone of this paper, one would conclude that, women in

the Northern Province suffer from two severe biases. At one

level they are victims of national policies which have for a

long time been biased towards the urban industrial (mostly mining)

sector and concentrated along the line of rail connecting the

Copperbelt with the coastal parts of Southern Africa. Thus the

rural sector of the province, has been seen as the provider of

labour for the mines and of the food to feed workers. The effect

has been to deprive agriculture of the able-bodied men and contri-

buted to the rise of female-headed households. Secondly, agricul-

tural pricing policy has been directed to providing cheap food

for the urban sector, depriving the rural areas of its potential

income from cash crops.

While the above stated bias is general to the rural sector, the

other bias is specifically against the aspirations of the women

folk. Women are major coniributora of agriculture and in fact

dominate in food production. However, the policies favouring

cash crops has meant a major source of bias against women. Cash

cropping has indeed attracted the necessary infrastructure, market,

extension services and credit, but closer examination shows that

these have distorted production to men away from women who are

the ones responsible for subsistence.

The available data indicate that women in Zambia and in Northern

Province in particular, play an important role in food production

which varies according to their marital.family status (and the

type of prevailing agriculture) and non farm activities. Wives


19 *

therefore, have different constraints and needs from female heads

of households and require different strategies and approaches in

order to be able to effectively participate and benefit from

agricultural programmes.

Furthermore, 'de fact' female-headed households created through

male migration may have very different resources, constraints and

needs than 'legal' female headed households created through death

or divorce. It is therefore, important that agricultural programmes

research collect more data about the differential resources,

constraints and needs of wives and of different types of female-

headed households, and +ests strategies and approaches recommended

in this and other relevant documents that can alleviate the

existing constraints and develop the potential of women as a

force in food production.

Glora inspwtion of the t*aiing programmes, shows that training

for women is not geared towards production. It would be said that

home economics and nutrition are important subjects once the

production side is solved but they will not be of immediate use

in the absence of adequate food supplies.

Food is a major item of household expenditure, despite the

general productivity of food production by +hese households.

Presumably it is more profitable to sell the cash crops and buy

i either inferior or preferred food stuffs. It is possible that

this is a positive trend if favourable prices are offered for

'women crops' and may help to eliminate the continued food

shortages in Zambia. Such policies would need to be supported

by 'he extension services since women are in the majority in the

rural areas and head some households. It means giving much more

serious attention to women and viewing the household production

systems including subsistence as a whole. If the purpose of

development is to involve people's participation in a process

leading to increased productivity, more equitable distribution
I* f

- 19 -

of resources and more control by individuals over their own

lives, then surely rural development objectives must clearly

include opportunities for increasing women's active participation

rather than treat them partonisingly as beneficiaries.

In general, women have in many ways shown willingness to be involved

in development programmes and have in fact formed the requisite

infrasturcture for development. What they lack mostly are access

to credit and technical know-how. They are also too over burdened

with work to actively become involved in new programmes that are

separate from their traditional tasks.

The changes necessary to give women their rightful place in the

food production system may well give the appearance of something

revolutionary. However, what is perhaps more amazing is the

extent to which women have been overlooked despite the fact that

it is really common knowledge that they are the crucial factors:-

*...... it is important to clarify here that we.' are

not interested in Ihe role of women in development simply

because they are women. The important point is the

serious loss of potential brought about by neglecting the

roles of women .........."

(Achola Pala)

Table I

Population Distribution in Districts inthe

Northern Province


Chilubi 15,253 20,407 35,660 0.9

Chinsali 32,122 35,351 67,473 1.4

Isoka 43,845 49,797 93,642 1.7

Kaputa 22,114 22420 44,534 4.2

Kasama 71,493 77,313 148,806 3.0

Luwingu 24,481 27,589 52,070 0.9

Mbala 51,116 60,531 111,647 1.4

Mpika 38,644 42,733 81,377 2.9

Mporokoso 20,305 22,380 42,685 0.8

Total 319373 358,521 677,894 2.0

Source: Compiled from 1980 Census of population and Housing:
Preliminary report Central Statistics Office



Chilubi District:
Chilubi Township
Rural Areas


Chinsali District:
Chinsali Township
Rural Areas


Isoka District:
Isoka Township
Nakonde Township
Rural Areas


Kaputa District:
Kaputa Township
Rural Areas


Kasama District:
Kasama Township
Mungwi Township
Rural Areas


Luwingu District:
Luwingu Township
Rural Areas


Mbala District:
Mbala Township
Mpulungu Township
Rural Areas





4- 4 -'-




15,253 20,407 35,660

2,067 2,144 4,211
30,055 33,207 63,262

32,122 35,351 67,473

3,269 3,563 6,832
2,109 2,490 4,599
38,467 43,744 82,211

43,845 49,797 93,642

534 597 1,131
21,580 21,823 43,403

22,114 22,420 44,534

18,879 19,214 38,093
2,888 3,175 6,063
49,726 54,924 104,650

71,493 77,313 148,306

1,836 1,927 3,763
22,645 25,662 48,307

24,481 27,589 52,070

5,468 5,711 11,179
2,990 3,364 6,354
42,658 51,456 94,114



&~- 4





Mpika District:
Mpika Township
Rural Areas


Mporokoso District:
Mporokoso Township
Rural Areas


I .- ---- --


9 I-,--- -






38,644 42,733 81,377

2,901 3,107 ,008
17,404 19,273 36,677




TOTAL NORTHERN PROVINCE 319,373 358,521 677,894
| I i I i II-ll l I


STable 3
Compariso of the Mining and Agricultural Sectors in 1970


% of gross domestic product (1969) '',

% of Exports by value ,

% of wage earners

Average African wage (including self employed) K1,453

Table 4

1980 1969 1963
Census Census Census

Central 9.0 8.9 8.9

Copperbelt \ 22.0 20.1 15.6

Eastern 11.6 12.1 10.7

Luapula 7.3 8.3 10.2

Lusaka 12.2 8.7 5.6

Northern 11.9 13.4 10,2

North-western 5.3 5.7 6.0

Southern 12.1 12.2 13.4

Western 8.6 10.1 10.4

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0


35.4% (According to 1980
Population Census)

(GM) %

Half a basket
of groundnuts

1 tin of milk

3 bottles of
larger beer

3.5Kg of

1Kg Meat






17,500 100

800oo.00 0000 2.50

2,000 11.5 1OQo0 12.5 3.00




14,000 80.00

0.4 4.50


2,000 11.5 190.00 24.00 6.00


Nutritional Status
Adequate (% of



of Malnutrition
Moderate Severa

farmer (N=46)

Farmer (N=73)

Farmer (N=30)

(National Food and Nutritional
Commission of Zambia)









AgRICULTURE Sector Support Programme
1983 An Evaluation

Department of Agriculture
1983 Northern Province Annual Report

1984 Women's Contributions Made Visble: of Farm and Market
Women to Farming Systems and Household Incomes in
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Gaobepe, M.G. and MWEENDA, A.
1980 The Report on the situation and needs of Food Supplies:
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Intergrated Rural Development Programme
1983 Serenje-Mpika-Chinsali Project. Occussional Paper No.5

International Labour Organization (
1979 "Activities in African Countries of Special Interest
to Women Workers" ECA Regional preparatory Meeting for
the UNDP Conference on Women, Lusaka, Zambia.

Klepper, R.
1979 "Zambian Agricultural Structure and performance"
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Log, G.
1974 The Impact of Modern Changes on Food in the Rural Area
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Muntemba, M.S.
1979 "Expectations Unfulfilled: The Under Development
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Muntemba, M.S.
1977 Women as Food producers and Suppliers in the Twentieth
Century. The case of Zambia.
Nelson, N
1979 Why has Development Neglected Rural Women? Pergamon Press

Paparek, H
1978 "Women in Southern and South East Asia: Issues and
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Society. Vol. I, No. I: 193-212.

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Volume 23,

Richards, A.I.
1958 A Changing Pattern of Agriculture in East Africa. The
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Richards, A.I.
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Sachak, N.
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Wallman, S.


Whitby, P.

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