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Export-Oriented Horticulture and Female Labour in
Post-Socialist Tanzania: Poverty Reduction or Exploitation?
Fabio De Blasis

Codice Doi:

Published online on 2020/10/19

This article analyses the rise of export-oriented horticulture in ‘post-socialist’ Tanzania, framing
the phenomenon within the wider processes of socio-economic change. While confirming
previous research findings on the accelerated process of social differentiation, the article shows
a mixed picture regarding the effects of export-oriented horticulture on female labour and
poverty reduction, and questions the ‘mainstream’ over-optimistic claims. On the one hand,
‘contracted’ female workers seem to experience an ‘upgrade income mobility’ and (moderate)
empowerment, but with poor working condition at the workplace. On the other hand, the
article shows a considerable level of labour informality, casualisation and pauperisation of
female wage work. It concludes that the development of export horticulture, while offering
income opportunities for a minority of the workers, contributes to a process of exploitation of
the poorest and enrichment of the richest – exporters, foreign companies and Tanzanian rural
Keywords: Export-horticulture, Tanzania, wage labour, poverty, inequality