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close this bookFood from Dryland Gardens - An Ecological, Nutritional, and Social Approach to Small Scale Household Food Production (CPFE, 1991)
close this folderPart I - Gardens as a development strategy
close this folder3. Gardens, economics, and marketing
close this folder3.4 Marketing garden produce
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.4.1 Women and Marketing
View the document3.4.2 Risk, Investment, and Return
View the document3.4.3 Cooperation
View the document3.4.4 Garden Income and the Household

3.4.1 Women and Marketing

Money necessary for household maintenance and child care must often be provided by women, and does not come from a common household fund. Where this is true, marketing garden produce can be important as a source of independent income for these women (Figure 3.5). In some areas where women’s market gardening has become more profitable, men have started competing with them after seeing how much income can be earned by market gardens.

In a project in Botswana a cooperative of 29 women and 4 men from the poorest households in the community work 33 garden plots that are hand irrigated with water stored behind an adjacent dam (section 3.4.3).45 Produce is eaten by the gardeners, shared with those who helped in the garden, or marketed. For 21 of the 33 gardeners, gardens are their major or only source of cash income. But as the commercial potential of such gardens is realized, better-off individuals have started claiming entire dam sites for themselves, and some have suggested that it may become necessary to reserve gardening sites for groups of the poor, most of whom are women.46

On the Tonga plateau of Zambia, a fruit and vegetable growing cooperative was begun by local villagers. Most of the women involved used land borrowed from their husbands, and as the project became more profitable the husbands took over. In response, 26 of the 33 women in the co-op now obtain their garden plots independently of their husbands and many of the women (44%) feel that their garden income has made them less dependent on their husband’s income.47

Sometimes the opposite situation can occur. In an area of southern Senegal, extension agents first promoted gardens to men.48 But the men soon stopped gardening and the women took over. The men said this was because gardening involved fetching water, a women’s activity which the men felt was inappropriate for them.

Marketing garden produce provides women an opportunity to leave the house and socialize, especially with other women. In the market, relationships can be formed or reinforced, and information, goods, and services are exchanged. Market days may be one of the few times available for important activities such as these.

Where women’s activities are restricted by religious customs, such as the seclusion of Moslem women, earning income must be done in or near the home compound. The possibilities include gardening, food processing, sewing, craft work, teaching and raising small animals.49 Garden produce can be sold to customers who come to the women’s homes, or sold outside the home by children.