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Women Farmers and Commercial Ventures: Increasing Food Security in Developing Countries

Anita Spring, editor
Women Farmers and Commercial Ventures: Increasing Food Security in Developing Countries
ISBN: 978-1-55587-869-6
2000/419 pages/LC: 00-021686
Directions in Applied Anthropology: Adaptations and Innovations


Women around the world are entering commercial agriculture—and often succeeding—despite development policies designed to exclude them. In this comparative volume, case studies reveal that farm women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are rapidly becoming more than “subsistence producers.

The authors explore the societal and domestic changes brought about as women move from subsistence agriculture to positions as wage laborers, contract growers, farm owners,  and agricultural marketers. They demonstrate cogently that entry into commercial agriculture may increase women’s power and status, as well as increasing the quality and quantity of food and household income.


Anita Spring is professor of anthropology and African studies at the University of Florida. She is author of Agricultural Development and Gender Issues in Malawi and editor (with Barbara McDade) of African Entrepreneurship: Theory and Reality.


  • Commercialization and Women Farmers: Old Paradigms and New Themes—A. Spring.
  • Gender Ideologies and Normative Effects on Commercial Endeavors.
  • The Differential Effects of Capitalism and Patriarchy on Women Farmer’s Access to Markets in Cameroon—D.L. Roos and C.H. Gladwin.
  • The Myth of the Masculine Market: Gender and Agricultural Commercialization in the Ecuadorean Andes—S. Hamilton.
  • Extrahousehold Norms and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Gender in Sudan and Burkina Faso—M. Kevane.
  • Income, Productivity, and Evolving Gender Relations in Two Tahitian Islands—V.S. Lockwood.
  • Women Are Good with Money: The Impact of Cash Cropping on Class Relations and Gender Ideology in Northern Luzon, the Philippines—V. Jefremovas.
  • Commercialization’s Effects on Household Food Security, Nutrition, and Food Distribution Systems.
  • Kyofar Women Who Get Ahead: Incentives for Agricultural Commercialization in Nigeria—M.P. Stone and G.D. Stone.
  • Women Farmers, Small Plots, and Changing Markets in China—L. Bossen.
  • The Fields Are Full of Gold: Women’s Marketing of Wild Foods from Rice Fields in Southeast Asia and the Impacts of Pesticides and IPM—L.L. Price.
  • Does Gender Matter for the Nutritional Consequences of Agricultural Commercialization? Intrahousehold Transfers, Food Acquisition, and Export Cropping in Guatemala—E. Katz.
  • Entrepreneurs and Family Well-Being: Women’s Agricultural and Trading Strategies in Cameroon—J. Krieger.
  • Small-Scale Traders’ Key Role in Stabilizing and Diversifying Ghana’s Rural Communities and Livelihoods—G. Clark.
  • New Technologies, Marketing Opportunities, and Organizational Structures.
  • Men, Women, and Cotton: Contract Agriculture for Subsistence Farmers in Northern Ghana—A. Wilson.
  • Women and Export Agriculture: The Case of Banana Production on St. Vincent in the Eastern Caribbean—L.S. Grossman.
  • Agricultural Commercialization and Women Farmers in Kenya—A. Spring.
  • The Importance of Gender Issues in Revitalizing Commercial Agriculture in Suriname—G. Smith and D.E. McMillan.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: The Struggles of Seasonal Women Workers in Chile—L. Stephen.
  • Epilogue: Next Steps—A. Spring.