Contribution of women to food security. The case of Chipinge Rural District
The research sought to establish the contribution of women to food security and the challenges that women have faced towards this end. So often the role of women in food security has been severely undermined because they often lack land and property rights. Food security has been widely viewed as a state matter so states have generally looked to commercial farming development and not given much attention to subsistence farming which is predominantly carried out by women in rural areas. Chipinge community was chosen as a case study of the contribution of women to food security. Qualitative research was used because it allowed the researcher to better understand the participants. Questionnaires, written records and interviews were used to gather valuable data. Questionnaires allowed for the general quantifying of data to show trends and interviews allowed for collection of intimate first hand information whilst written records gave a reference point to the researcher to analyse findings. The capabilities approach was used to analyse data and it was suitable for this purpose because it looks at what women are actually doing to contribute to food security rather than what they could do and it also advocates for the improvement of the position of women in community. The study made several findings. Chief amongst them being that the contribution of women to food security in Zimbabwe is very important because not only do they feed their households they also help feed relatives in towns whilst other excess produce finds its way to urban markets thereby supply dietary requirements whilst creating jobs at markets and food processing industries. The study also established that patriarchy has handicapped women because they have few land rights and that the Land reform Programme failed to address historical land ownership imbalances between men and women. There is also need for effective macroeconomic policies to help foster a stable environment to ensure food security and climate change has not helped the effort to ensure food security because of less rainfall. The study recommended that government should find ways to increase funding for rural farming projects, which are the domain of rural women, in order to improve food security. There is also need to ensure that women have the same land and decision making rights as men as this will improve the status of women and also improve food security since women do most of the actual work. Political violence and intimidation in rural areas like Chipinge have not helped efforts to attain food security because livelihoods have been destroyed or disrupted so government needs to do more to protect vulnerable groups such as women and children.