Sociological and gender issues in smallholder horticulture: the division of labour and horticulture in relation to household welfare and nutrition
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Understanding sociological and gender issues is the key in developing the scale ol' horticultural production among smallholders. This paper is based on practical experience in working with smallholders in Zimbabwe, available information sources and personal experience from a communal upbringing. To date horticulture remains a small operation for most smallholders in Zimbabwe. Even in areas with irrigation facilities and well developed infrastructure, the scale of operation remains well below its potential. To understand this there is need to realize that horticulture is viewed by the smallholder as only one of myriad of other operations that demand his attention. The time and effort therefore given and the scale at which the operation is done depend on the importance rating attached to each enterprise. Horticulture, although a high input enterprise in labour and investment, still has a subsistence rating among many smallholders. With the high quality demanded for export it is rather viewed in terms of the hassle involved. Women smallholders find this more so as they have to shoulder more family responsibilities and jobs than their male counterparts.