Advertisement

“Modern” farming and the transformation of livelihoods in rural Tanzania

  • Katherine A. SnyderEmail author
  • Emmanuel Sulle
  • Deodatus A. Massay
  • Anselmi Petro
  • Paschal Qamara
  • Dan Brockington
Article

Abstract

This paper focuses on smallholder agriculture and livelihoods in north-central Tanzania. It traces changes in agricultural production and asset ownership in one community over a 28 year period. Over this period, national development policies and agriculture programs have moved from socialism to neo-liberal approaches. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, we explore how farmers have responded to these shifts in the wider political-economic context and how these responses have shaped their livelihoods and ideas about farming and wealth. This case study clearly debunks the idea that rural farmers are slow to respond to “modern” farming methods or that smallholder farming is stagnant and cannot reduce poverty. While changes overall are very positive in this rural community, challenges remain as land sizes are small and markets often unreliable. This research cautions against a shift in emphasis to large-scale farming as a strategy for national development. It suggests instead that increased investment in supporting smallholder farming is critical for addressing poverty and rural well-being.

Keywords

Rural livelihoods Smallholder agriculture Agrarian change Iraqw Tanzania 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the DfID ESRC Growth Research Programme (Grant No. ES/L012413/2) which has funded this research project along with the University of Arizona, School of Geography and Development. As always, we thank the many people of Mama Issara who participated in interviews, focus groups and household surveys as well as the editors and reviewers of Agriculture and Human Values who provided valuable comments to the paper.

References

  1. Alkire, S., and J. Foster. 2011. Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. Journal of Public Economics 95 (7): 476–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrett, C.B., L. Christiaensen, M. Sheahan, and A. Shimeles. 2017. On the structural transformation of rural Africa. Journal of African Economies 26 (AERC Supplement 1): i11–i35.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejx009TheWorldBank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Binswanger-Mkhize, H.P., and S. Savastano. 2017. Agricultural intensification: The status in six African countries. Food Policy 67: 26–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Binswanger-Mkhize, H.P., A.F. McCalla, and P. Patel. 2010. Structural transformation and African agriculture. Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies 2 (2): 113–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Börjeson, L. 2007. Boserup backwards? Agricultural intensification as ‘its own driving force’ in the Mbulu highlands, Tanzania. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 89 (3): 249–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brockington, D., O. Howland, V.-M. Loiske, M. Mnzava, and C. Noe. 2018. Economic growth, rural assets and prosperity: Exploring the implications of a 20-year record of asset growth in Tanzania. The Journal of Modern African Studies 56 (2): 217–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brockington, D., O. Howland, V.-M. Loiske, M. Mnzava, and C. Noe. 2019. Assets and poverty dynamics: the methodological challenges of constructing longitudinal surveys in Tanzania. In Tanzanian Development: A comparative perspective, ed. D. Potts. Witney: Boydell and Brewer.Google Scholar
  8. Bryceson, D.F. 2002. The scramble in Africa: reorienting rural livelihoods. World Development 30 (5): 725–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christiaensen, L. 2017. Agriculture in Africa—Telling myths from facts: A synthesis. Food Policy 67: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christiaensen, L., L. Demery, and J. Kuhl. 2011. The (evolving) role of agriculture in poverty reduction—An empirical perspective. Journal of Development Economics 96 (2): 239–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collier, P., and S. Dercon. 2014. African agriculture in 50 years: smallholders in a rapidly changing world? World Development 63: 92–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cooksey, B. 2011. Marketing reform? The rise and fall of agricultural liberalisation in Tanzania. Development Policy Review 29: 57–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coulson, A. 2015. Small-scale and large-scale agriculture: Tanzanian experiences. In Looking Back, Looking Ahead—Land, Agriculture and Society in East Africa, A Festschrift for Kjell Havnevik, ed. M. Ståhl. The Nordic Afrika Institute: Uppsala.Google Scholar
  14. Davidson, J. 2012. Basket cases and breadbaskets: Sacred rice and agricultural development in postcolonial Africa. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 34 (1): 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davis, B., S. Di Giuseppe, and A. Zezza. 2017. Are African households (not) leaving agriculture? Patterns of households’ income sources in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. Food Policy 67: 153–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diao, X., P. Hazell, P.D. Resnick, and J. Thurlow. 2006. The Role of Agriculture in Development: Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Discussion Paper: Washington DC.Google Scholar
  17. Djurfeldt, A.A., F.M. Dzanku, and A.C. Isinika (eds.). 2018. Agriculture, diversification, and gender in rural Africa: longitudinal perspectives from six countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Garnett, T. and H. C. J. Godfray. 2012. Sustainable intensification in agriculture. Navigating a course through competing food system priorities. Food Climate Research Network and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. University of Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
  19. Graeub, B.E., M.J. Chappell, H. Wittman, S. Ledermann, R.B. Kerr, and B. Gemmill-Herren. 2016. The state of family farms in the world. World Development 87: 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Green, M. 2006. Representing poverty and attacking representations: Perspectives on poverty from social anthropology. The Journal of Development Studies 42 (7): 1108–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Green, M. 2015. Making Africa middle class: From poverty reduction to the production of inequality in Tanzania. Economic Anthropology 2 (2): 295–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Green, M., and D. Hulme. 2005. From correlates and characteristics to causes: Thinking about poverty from a chronic poverty perspective. World Development 33 (6): 867–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Houssou, N., M. Johnson, S. Kolavalli, and C. Asante-Addo. 2018. Changes in Ghanaian farming systems: Stagnation or a quiet transformation? Agriculture and Human Values 35 (1): 41–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harris, D., and A. Orr. 2014. Is rainfed agriculture really a pathway from poverty? Agricultural Systems 123: 84–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jayne, T.S., D. Mather, and E. Mghenyi. 2010. Principal challenges confronting smallholder agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Development 38 (10): 1384–1398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jayne, T.S., J. Chamberlin, and R. Benfica. 2018. Africa’s unfolding economic transformation. The Journal of Development Studies 54 (5): 777–787.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2018.1430774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lowder, S.K., J. Skoet, and T. Raney. 2016. The number, size, and distribution of farms, smallholder farms, and family farms worldwide. World Development 87: 16–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mashindano, O., K. Kayunze, L. Da Corta, and F. Maro. 2011. Growth without poverty reduction in Tanzania—Reasons for the mismatch. In Translating Growth Into Poverty Reduction: beyond the numbers, ed. F. Kessy, O. Mashindano, A. Shepherd, and L. Scott. Mkuki na Nyota: Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  29. Miller, D., J.C. Muñoz-Mor, and L. Christiaensen. 2018. Do Trees on Farms Matter in African Agriculture. In Agriculture in Africa: Telling myths from facts. Directions in development, ed. L. Christiaensen and L. Demery. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  30. Msuya, E.E., A.C. Isinika, and F.M. Dzanku. 2018. Agricultural Intensification Response to Agricultural Input Subsidies in Tanzania: A Spatial-Temporal and Gender Perspective. In Agriculture, Diversification, and Gender in Rural Africa: Longitudinal Perspectives from Six Countries, ed. A.A. Djurfeldt, F.M. Dzanku, and A.C. Isinika, 2002–2015. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Netting, R.M. 1993. Smallholders, Householders: Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ollenburger, M., T. Crane, K. Descheemaeker, and K.E. Giller. 2019. Are farmers searching for an African green revolution? Exploring the solution space for agricultural intensification in Southern Mali. Experimental Agriculture 55 (2): 288–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Östberg, W., O. Howland, J. Mduma, and D. Brockington. 2018. Tracing improving livelihoods in rural Africa using local measures of wealth: A case study from central Tanzania, 1991–2016. Land 7 (44): 1–26.Google Scholar
  34. Place, F., and D. Garrity. 2015. Tree-Based Systems in Africa’s Drylands. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.Google Scholar
  35. Reardon, T. 2015. The hidden middle: The quiet revolution in the midstream of agrifood value chains in developing countries. Oxford Review of Economic Policy 31 (1): 45–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Royal Society. 2009. Reaping the Benefits: Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture. London: The Royal Society.Google Scholar
  37. Scoones, I., and J. Thompson. 2011. The politics of seed in Africa’s green revolution: Alternative narratives and competing pathways. IDS Bulletin 42 (4): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Snyder, K.A. 1993. “Like water and honey”: Moral ideology and the construction of community among the Iraqw of northern Tanzania. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology. New Haven, CT: Yale University.Google Scholar
  39. Snyder, K.A. 1996. Agrarian change and land-use strategies among Iraqw farmers in northern Tanzania. Human Ecology 24 (3): 315–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Snyder, K.A. 2002. Modern cows and exotic trees: Identity, personhood and exchange among the Iraqw of Tanzania. Ethnology 41 (2): 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Snyder, K.A. 2005. The Iraqw of Tanzania: Negotiating Rural Development. New York: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  42. Whitfield, S. 2017. ‘More vital to our future than we realize?’ Learning from Netting’s thesis on smallholder farming, 25 years on. Outlook on Agriculture 46 (4): 258–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wiggins, S., J. Kirsten, and L. Llambí. 2010. The future of small farms. World Development 38 (10): 1341–1348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine A. Snyder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emmanuel Sulle
    • 2
  • Deodatus A. Massay
    • 3
  • Anselmi Petro
    • 4
  • Paschal Qamara
    • 5
  • Dan Brockington
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.HaidomTanzania
  4. 4.Mbulu District CouncilMbulu DistrictTanzania
  5. 5.KainamTanzania
  6. 6.Sheffield Institute for International DevelopmentUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations