‘Land is our Vessel for Production. On Land We Earn Our Living’

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Mary Sakala (Photo: Agnes Nygren)

Land is our vessel for production. On land we earn our living. Thanks to the land we take our children to school. It is women who work the land, but rural women, like me, don’t have land. I will give you examples of women life in Zambia; if you are married, any legal deeds to the land will be written in the name of your husband.

The other example concerns us doing agroecology to improve the soil fertility. Our husbands would tell us which piece of land we would farm. There we plant groundnuts or soya beans, those are crops that will improve the soil fertility. The next season the husband will come and say ‘this time I will use this plot to plant maize’ because he has seen that that particular piece of land will give him more maize, because the soil was prepared and improved by the woman.

When you get children, they will write the children as the owners of that land. When your husband dies, they will only consider the boy children to inherit that land. When the land is given to our sons and they marry, we will no longer have land to farm. These husbands often own several hectares of land but they won’t give even one hectare to the wife while they are still alive. My husband has almost 17 hectares of land but he hasn’t surrendered one single hectare to me yet and he is 77 years old. As we try to fight the battle for land we must start at our households. We must start with our husbands. -Mary Sakala, 57 year old small scale farmer in Zambia.

*The quotes and photo was provided by Agnes Nygren from Africa Groups of Sweden (AGS)

 

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