Logo Tropentag

Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Food Security, Poverty Reduction and Gender a Key to Food Security in Africa

Rita Schäfer

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences (IWSL), Germany


International research on food and gender issues should start from an actor oriented approach. This means the possibilities and constraints of local producers have to be taken into consideration. At the same time not all producers should be seen as a homogenous group. It should focus on power processes, gender hierarchies and generational conflicts which influence production systems and food security on household level. Two different case studies from West Africa and southern Africa will show how gender differences in the access to and control over food are interrelated with socio-economic and political power relations. In addition, cultural factors like the changes of food habits in the context of rural-urban migration are considered. A core issue is the importance of agro-ecological knowledge and resource management for food security. This paper will analyse factors and frameworks like the unequal access to land, information, technology and markets in rural African societies which hinder the use of local knowledge systems for food production and food security. In order to understand the complexity of the current situation historical dimensions like the colonial agricultural policies and post-colonial land reform programmes are taken into account.

Keywords: Gender and resource management

Contact Address: Rita Schäfer, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences (IWSL), Luisenstr. 53, 10099 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: marx.schaefer@t-online.de

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