Mwaka, Innocent (2020). Agricultural improvement? Persistence and change in agricultural development ideas and farmers' responses in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania (1900-2015). PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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The Kilombero valley in south-central Tanzania has undergone a series of agricultural development experiments since German colonialism. These experiments have largely failed to meet their goals of increasing production and quality of agricultural products. However, experiments similar to earlier ventures are still being implemented in the valley today under the auspices of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). This raises one central question: why, despite the failures of earlier strategies, have similar recipes for agricultural development persisted in the valley? I approach this question by analyzing the discourses and practices of agricultural development in the valley since the German colonial time. Following the footsteps of post-developmentalists like Ferguson (1990) and Li (2005) I ask what these agricultural development strategies have done in the valley such that they are replicated over time. A focus on discourses and policies allows conceiving agricultural development projects as having certain effects, which give their strategies persistence. I furthermore investigate how the recipients of the agricultural development projects in the valley perceive such initiatives and how they respond to them. Previous research in the valley (e.g. Monson, 1995) and research elsewhere on development topics (see for instance Li, 2005; Venkatesan and Yarrow, 2014) have shown that people either resist or comply with such initiatives. However, it is necessary to examine the nature and effects of such responses as well. For if recipients “resist” a development project, what is the nature of such resistance? Does it lead to modifying the development strategy? Does it intensify it, or lead to a complete overhaul? And if recipients comply, how does compliance affect policy and practice? I, therefore, analyze the history of agricultural development in the valley, considering colonial and post-colonial policies and the diverse actors that attempted to improve its agricultural production. In so doing, I examine the consequences of these policies and the outcomes of different actions in shaping the agricultural development landscape in the valley. However, considering the state of agriculture in the valley, this book can be read in two ways: on the one hand, as an exploration of the history of agricultural development in Kilombero Valley and on the other, as a critique of the development experiments that continue to reappear in new forms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Mwaka, Innocentinnocent.mwaka1@gmail.comUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-300756
Date: 22 December 2020
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 4: Außereuropäische Sprachen, Kulturen und Gesellschaften > Institut für Ethnologie
Subjects: Social sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Agriculture, Development, Change, Kilombero, TanzaniaEnglish
Date of oral exam: 17 December 2018
NameAcademic Title
Bollig, MichaelProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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