Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are systems in which the annual production dynamics of freshwater and/or coastal ecosystems contribute significantly to total household income.
There is increasing awareness that integrating gender into development frameworks is critical for effective implementation of development strategies. In working to alleviate rural poverty, the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) recognizes that “business as usual” gender integration approaches will not deliver lasting and widespread improvements in agricultural productivity, poverty reduction and food security. In response, AAS operationalized a gender transformative approach.
The objective of the scoping Mission is to reate a shared understanding of the Upper Zambezi as a research hub for the Program, including 1. Main development challenges and opportunities 2. Big research questions 3. Possible target communities 4. Institutional setting 5. Existing development programs and investments
Piecework (ganyu) is short-term, casual labor common in rural Zambia and neighboring countries. Reliance on piecework as a strategy to cope during food shortages in the rainy/cultivation season can restrict own-farm production, and thus, is regarded as an indicator of a household's vulnerability to food insecurity. Based on a household's level of participation in piecework, we explore this claim in rural Zambia using survey data collected during the rainy and dry seasons in 2009.
Over the past few decades, scholars and practitioners working on gender and development issues have advocated for more in-depth analyses that explore and foster change in the social institutions that create and perpetuate gender inequalities. Gender integration approaches in a research and development context are thus not something new. However, mainstream agricultural research and development programs often apply a rather simple understanding of gender to the design of such approaches, resulting in poor implementation.
Zambia’s rivers, lakes and wetlands support extensive agriculture, fisheries and livestock production and contribute to the livelihoods of about 3 million people or 25% of the country’s population. These aquatic agricultural systems are particularly important to poor people and provide significant opportunities for agriculture-based economic growth. The majority (72%) of the Zambian population is engaged in agricultural activities, of which almost 65% are women. There is now widespread recognition of the importance of gender and development.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is being implemented in ten communities in the Barotse floodplain of Zambia’s Western Province. With a focus on the rural poor and vulnerable, the AAS program aims to reduce poverty and improve food security by harnessing the development potential, productivity and diversity of aquatic and agricultural systems.
Many Zambians rely on wetlands, lakes, and rivers for their livelihoods. Social norms and power relations restrict access to natural resources provided by these aquatic agricultural systems for certain social groups, thus differentially impacting livelihood security (especially for women). A gender transformative lens and the concept of the “masculine rural” helps exploring poverty in the Barotse Floodplain in western Zambia.
Conflict management is an intrinsic element of natural resource management, and becomes increasingly important amid growing pressure on natural resources from local uses, as well as from external drivers such as climate change and international investment. If policymakers and practitioners aim to truly improve livelihood resilience and reduce vulnerabilities of poor rural households, issues of resource competition and conflict management cannot be ignored.
Concerns about perceived loss of indigenous materials emerged from multiple stakeholders during consultations to plan and design the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems for the Borotse hub in Zambia’s Western Province. To come to grips with and address the concerns, the AAS Borotse hub program of work included an assessment of agrobiodiversity to inform community-level and program initiatives and actions.