This study examines the extent and the ways in which women’s involvement in sweet potatoes cultivation has been contributing to transforming unequal gender power relations in rural Tanzania. The study the used qualitative research methods to observe the perceptions of numerous stakeholders (women, men, NGOs, government officials, agricultural extension officers) on how commercialisation subsistence crops plays out in the study area specifically in transforming unequal gender power relations within household of the smallholder farmers. By employing the concept of intra household gender power relation model and Patriarchy and Gendered Power Relations in Agrarian Setting to guide the study, the findings show that commercialization and women’s cultivation of sweet potatoes has led to the increase of women’s income and autonomy within smallholder household in rural areas. However, the existing patriarchy system within households prevents women from enjoying the fruits of their effort, particularly unequal distribution of resources, decision making over households’ income and daily responsibilities. Also, the findings show that commercialization of subsistence crops, women’s empowerment and patriarchy system within household of smallholder farmers together has created complexity in gender relations that has led to the increase of family conflicts and separation. Additionally, findings from the study also disclose that even though women are much involved in sweet potatoes farming, but there are still barriers that hinder women from accessing resources and participating effectively in the market economy. This study recommends that through government support by providing women farmers with subsidies and addressing the patriarchy system within households specifically in income distribution and decision-making power to achieve sustainable rural household welfare and economic development.

Additional Metadata
Keywords gender power relations, empowerment, smallholder farmers, household, commercialization, sweet potatoes, Gairo
Thesis Advisor Arsel, Murat
Persistent URL
Series Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES)
Mkandala, Demokratus. (2019, December 20). Smallholder commercialization and its implication for gender relations in Tanzania: The case of sweet potatoes cultivation in Gairo district in Morogoro region. Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES). Retrieved from