Interrogating marriage as an organizing framework in land based businesses: A Case Study of women horticulture farmers in Ward 25, Nyadire District, Mutoko, Zimbabwe
Katsande, Rosalie Kumbirai
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This study explores married women’s rights and entitlements in horticulture businesses located in irrigation schemes in Ward 25 in Nyadire District, Mutoko, Zimbabwe. The study is primarily directed at understanding the role and impact of laws and policies on marriage and business and the differential effect of these laws on the lives of women as compared to men. Central to the argument presented in this study is the need to transcend the historical male dominated notion of marriage in family business arrangements and look at it as a partnership relationship that defines the responsibilities between the parties to each other beyond the marriage relationship. In family business relationships, marriage should not be central and treated as it has traditionally been, that is, as the dominant framework, but, rather, the business relationship should define individual contributions to the marriage. In this study, I am arguing that the under-valuation and chronic under-recognition of women’s contribution to family economies lie in the dominance of marriage as the organizing model for farming business activities in both communal and small scale resettlement land. The study focused on not just the contribution of women to horticultural production through their labour input into the plot and household, but also on the relationship between production and reproduction in a family business that came into being as a result of marriage. The findings show that women are given minimal recognition in the business as they are not involved in the major business decisions, most importantly decisions on how the income generated from the business is used. The business models discussed in this study are the family and co-operative models. These models are layered in a way that adversely affects women’s capacity to engage with them. The findings show that the family model dominates despite the overarching old co-operative model. Whilst the operation of the irrigation schemes is regulated by state law, in reality, operation is guided by a set of norms that are more applicable and seen as being more acceptable than state enforced laws. The study concluded that regardless of whether marriage is formalised under statute or custom, women in the irrigation schemes do not enjoy anything more than the mere rights to use the land. Married women rarely enjoy equal rights to control proceeds of the horticulture businesses. This study, therefore, seeks to profile women horticulture farmers as serious contributors and to see them not only as wives but also as partners in the business. To achieve this, the first step is to recognize the economic value of women’s work in the home and in the horticulture plots. Valuing women’s work will show the extent of women’s contribution to the horticulture business. A platform for this has been created by the 2013 Zimbabwe Constitution through the provision of an unqualified equality clause in section 56. The national objective on marriage in section 26 also provides for equality of rights and obligations of spouses during marriage and at its dissolution; and that in the event of dissolution of a marriage, whether through death or divorce, provision should be made for the necessary protection of any children and spouses. This has been put into effect through the new Agricultural Land Settlement (Permit Terms and Conditions) Regulations of 2014 (SI 53/2014) which is discussed in this study.
Additional Citation InformationKatsande, R. K. (2016). Interrogating marriage as an organizing framework in land based businesses: A Case Study of women horticulture farmers in Ward 25, Nyadire District, Mutoko, Zimbabwe (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
SponsorNorwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
women horticulture farmers
marriage and business
gender and economic justice