Repository logo

The role of the farmer's wife in farm management.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Despite the fact that the farming profession is largely dominated by men, the farmer's wife contributes significantly to the farm business. The contribution of the farmer's wife can vary from "holding the fort" on one hand to meaningfully influencing long-term decisions on the other. On average, farmers spend 56,4 hours per month away from the farm and 7,9 hours per day outside on the farm and not in the vicinity of the homestead. The office or his house forms the only contact point with the outside world and is the place where most of the farm activities are arranged and co-ordinated. During the farmer's absence, his wife has to take important decisions and often has to see to the running of farming activities. On average the farmer's wife spends 2,2 hours per day on farm activities. She is mainly involved in answering the telephone, running errands and first aid to farm labourers. With regard to decision-making on the farm, the farmer's wife is the sole decision-maker in the household and in the purchasing of small items. She makes decisions jointly with her husband on family matters and long- and short-term issues. Many aspects cause unhappiness on the farm, of which farm labour, drought and finance are listed as the most important reasons. The children are also active in some activities on the farm such as answering the telephone, running errands and caring for animals. The farmers' wives in KaNgwane are highly involved in farm activities and in decision-making. Although they do not distinguish between "hard" and "soft" jobs, the farmers' wives have a preference for cropping aspects.. These women spend an average of 7,9 hours per day on farming activities. Transport facilities and the poor quality of water cause a great deal of unhappiness on the farms. These and other problems hamper the expansion of the role of the farmer's wife on the farm and her future development. Both groups of farmers' wives feel a need for a special course geared to equip them better for their role in farm management.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1989.


Women in agriculture--South Africa., Farm management--South Africa., Theses--Agricultural economics.