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Dynamics of change in a ‘female farming system’, Mbanza Kongo/Northern Angola
- Temudo, Marina Padrão, Talhinhas, Pedro
- TheJournal of peasant studies 2019 v.46 no.2 pp. 258-275
- employment, farming systems, females, food industry, hunger, income, livelihood, men, oils, poverty, prices, women, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo
- The inhabitants of the Zaire Province of northern Angola, belonging to different subgroups of the Bakongo, offer an interesting case to study social and agricultural change in what Boserup would call a traditional ‘female farming system’. Since the 1930s, several factors have produced multiple dynamics of change – sometimes abrupt and other times gradual – in both livelihoods and the gender relations of agricultural production. Of these, the paper is going to highlight late colonial intervention, the anticolonial war, the long civil war, the economic boom after the end of the war and the recent economic crisis. While colonial interventions reinforced women’s role as food producers, the wars acted in the opposite direction by increasing the participation of (non-conscripted into the military) men in agriculture for those who took refuge in the then Republic of Congo. The economic boom that followed the end of the civil war opened income-earning opportunities out of agriculture for young men, but the recent fall in the international oil price reversed this trend, and agriculture – as a sole occupation or combined with casual off-farm jobs – became again a way out of hunger and poverty.