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GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
THE IMPACT OF MCDERN CHANGES IN THE CHITE-HENE
,FABRiING SYSTEM Ii THE NORTHERN PROVINCE OF
A PAPER PREPARED
MARY N. TaiBO AMiD LLIZAETH CHOLA PHIRI
HCL.-E ZCCNCHICS SECTION
DEPAuTM .~;T OF AGRICULTURE
LUL. AK! ZAMBIA
TO THL CO F1iRENC ON TILl G.,lNDlR Ib;lS IN F.IARING oYjTES
RESEARCH AND Ti;.LI~A, FEBRUARY 26TH to 13T ..RCH 1906
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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 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
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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
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
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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.
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
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.
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
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
Little attention has been paid, on the other hand, to the traditional
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
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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 ...
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.
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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;
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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.
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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 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
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
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
- 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 .........."
Population Distribution in Districts inthe
AREA MALES FEMALES TOTAL AV. ANNUAL
% GROWTH RATE
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
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
TABLE II CONTINUED
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
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
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
CAL % PROTEIN PROTEIN
Half a basket
1 tin of milk
3 bottles of
800oo.00 0000 2.50
2,000 11.5 1OQo0 12.5 3.00
2,000 11.5 190.00 24.00 6.00
Adequate (% of
(National Food and Nutritional
Commission of Zambia)
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1983 An Evaluation
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