Original Research

Financial literacy competencies of women in agribusiness and their financial experiences during a pandemic

Lilian Gumbo, Ferina Marimuthu, Edson Vengesai
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 15, No 1 | a612 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v15i1.612 | © 2023 Lilian Gumbo, Ferina Marimuthu, Edson Vengesai | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 August 2022 | Published: 14 December 2023

About the author(s)

Lilian Gumbo, Department of Entrepreneurial Studies and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Ferina Marimuthu, Department of Financial Accounting, Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Edson Vengesai, Department of Economics and Finance, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Background: Women have generally lower levels of financial literacy than their male counterparts, regardless of country of origin. This financial literacy gender gap makes women more vulnerable to the effects of pandemics, like the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Aim: This study sought to examine financial literacy competencies of women in agribusiness and their financial experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Setting: The study was carried out in five agricultural districts namely, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutoko, Mount Darwin, and Mutare. The districts represented Zimbabwean agricultural regions.

Methods: An embedded mixed methods research design was adopted where both qualitative and quantitative data were collected for analysis. Data were successfully collected from 216 women in agribusiness and follow-up interviews were conducted with 15 informants.

Results: Women in agribusiness have poor financial literacy competencies. Most women in agribusiness practised only a range of 2–3 good financial behaviours out of the eight examined concepts, with only 10% scoring above the minimum expected score of six. During the pandemic, women in agribusiness lost income and failed to take care of household and business expenses.

Conclusion: Women in agribusiness do not practise vital financial literacy competencies required for financial wellbeing and financial resilience. Therefore, the study recommends the implementation of training programmes that capacitate women with basic financial literacy competencies such as budgeting, saving, and retirement planning.

Contribution: Financial literacy competencies were conceptualised together with financial experiences during a pandemic for the first time. More so, in the agribusiness sector which is crucial for economic development.


financial literacy; financial behaviour; financial literacy gender gap; financial experiences; financial planning; financial literacy competences; retirement planning.

JEL Codes

I31: General Welfare, Well-Being; Q12: Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 1: No poverty


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