Women in agricultural co-operatives for poverty alleviation in Mpumalanga Province : challenges, strategies and opportunities

10 Oct 2019

The study analysed the success of cooperatives in alleviating poverty amongst female headed household who are part of cooperatives within Mpumalanga Province. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform introduced the one household one hectare and one household two dairy cows programme in 2016 in line with the Agri-Parks initiative meant to achieve rural economic transformation. All the three districts within Mpumalanga Province (Gert Sibande, Nkangala and Ehlanzeni) were targeted beneficiaries. Cooperatives have potential to increase rural women purchasing power to meet market demands and bargaining power. They are drivers of women's economic development in the rural sphere, however there are challenges such as low literacy levels which limit them to understand market information, lack of agricultural inputs, access to markets and gender dynamics. This is a desk top analysis of agricultural cooperatives within the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform's ability to alleviate or eradicate poverty amongst women. Information was gathered from the department's reports on cooperatives and also on the extensive literature on the ability of agricultural cooperatives to alleviate poverty. The study discovered that the majority of women benefited from accessing land through cooperatives, are able to secure food security at household and community levels.