Cultural impediments, land and female farmers : the case of Lower Gqumahashe, Nkonkobe Municipality

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University of Fort Hare


This study sought to investigate how cultural barriers hinder female farmers from accessing land at Lower Gqumahashe village. This settlement is situated in Alice, Eastern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. The hypothesis of the study is that land rights and customs at Lower Gqumahashe limit the participation of female farmers in agricultural development. There are several factors that interfere with land ownership at the study area and elsewhere in the world. However, this study only explored the effect of marriage since it is the only factor that has negative effect on accessing land at the study area. The researcher adopted a qualitative research approach because she wanted to observe and describe events as they occur. The goal of the researcher was to capture all the richness of the everyday behaviour. The findings of the study suggest that, female farmers at Lower Gqumahashe, as elsewhere in the world, are not immune to gender imbalances based on customs. At Lower Gqumahashe, as elsewhere in the world, land is the most essential resource, because a very large proportion of people depend on it for cultivation and therefore their livelihoods. This study recommends that, there is a need for a re-assessment of property ownership as well as legacy customs and practices. Furthermore, the study recommends that class and sex discrimination can be rectified if the government is committed through its extension of credit program makes provision to ensure loans for women are available.



Agriculture -- Social aspects, Women farmers -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Women in agriculture -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape