'Because of poverty, we had to come together': collective action for improved food security in rural Kenya and Uganda

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T1 - 'Because of poverty, we had to come together': collective action for improved food security in rural Kenya and Uganda

AU - Andersson, Elina

AU - Gabrielsson, Sara

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Agricultural productivity in East African smallholder systems is notoriously low and food production faces multiple challenges, including soil degradation, decreasing land availability, poor market integration, disease burdens and climate change impacts. However, recent evidence from an in-depth study from two sites in Kenya and Uganda shows signs of new social dynamics as a response to these multiple stressors. This paper focuses on the emergence of local social institutions for collective action, in which particularly women farmers organize themselves. Although previous research on collective action has largely focused on common-pool resource management, we argue that collective action is one potential pathway to livelihood and sustainability improvements also in a setting of private land ownership. Trust building, awareness raising and actions to improve livelihood security through risk sharing and pooling of labour and other limited assets have given people more time and resources available for diversification, preventative activities, experimentation and resource conservation. It thereby strengthens farmers' capacity to cope with and adapt to change, as well as contributes to the agency at the local level.

AB - Agricultural productivity in East African smallholder systems is notoriously low and food production faces multiple challenges, including soil degradation, decreasing land availability, poor market integration, disease burdens and climate change impacts. However, recent evidence from an in-depth study from two sites in Kenya and Uganda shows signs of new social dynamics as a response to these multiple stressors. This paper focuses on the emergence of local social institutions for collective action, in which particularly women farmers organize themselves. Although previous research on collective action has largely focused on common-pool resource management, we argue that collective action is one potential pathway to livelihood and sustainability improvements also in a setting of private land ownership. Trust building, awareness raising and actions to improve livelihood security through risk sharing and pooling of labour and other limited assets have given people more time and resources available for diversification, preventative activities, experimentation and resource conservation. It thereby strengthens farmers' capacity to cope with and adapt to change, as well as contributes to the agency at the local level.

KW - collective action

KW - communities of practice

KW - food security

KW - Kenya

KW - smallholder farming

KW - Uganda

U2 - 10.1080/14735903.2012.666029

DO - 10.1080/14735903.2012.666029

M3 - Article

VL - 10

SP - 245

EP - 262

JO - International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

T2 - International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

JF - International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

SN - 1473-5903

IS - 3

ER -