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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Worker-Peasants and Farmer-Housewives in Africa: The Debate about 'Committed' Farmers, Access to Land and Agricultural Production
Author:Potts, Deborah
Year:2000
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:26
Issue:4
Period:December
Pages:807-832
Language:English
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:rural-urban relations
migrants
land law
Women's Issues
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Urbanization and Migration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637572
Abstract:From a structural perspective, the impact of migration has often been characterized as creating worker-peasants and farmer-housewives. Migration's impact on agricultural productivity and the environment is frequently seen as very negative. It is often argued that migrants should lose their land rights, thereby being forced to choose either to be 'committed farmers' or 'permanent urbanites'. This paper argues that such views are frequently based on ahistorical development narratives which ignore or misunderstand crucial aspects of the relationship between migrants and the land. It presents evidence and arguments from within (Zimbabwe) and outside the southern African region which counter the negative view of the impact of urban migrants' land rights. The arguments against migrants' land rights can be divided into three main areas: the impact on land shortages, agricultural productivity issues, and political economic debates. The present author emphasizes the social and economic security that the land provides for many urban workers in an extremely insecure environment. She also shows that the impact of migration on agricultural productivity is very complex and highly contingent; that remittances in certain circumstances can improve agricultural productivity for rural households and that labour shortages, if they are problematic, can be addressed through a wide variety of strategies for mobilizing other sources of labour. Notes, ref., sum.
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