The impact of cassava growing in Luapula valley, a historical study, 1900-1980
Chama, Kaluba Jickson
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This study focuses on the impact of cassava on the diet, food security and economy in the Luapula Valley. It reveals that the colonial government did not hinder the cultivation of cassava in the Luapula Valley. The study shows that from 1964 to 1980, cassava cultivation in the valley received no government support. However, the people of the Luapula Valley from 1900 to 1980 depend on the cultivation of cassava as a source of food and income. Cassava was a crucial crop in food sustenance of communities in areas prone to droughts and those in high rainfall zones. Most studies done on Luapula have ignored the important role that cassava played in ensuring food security and its contribution to the economy of the valley. Studies on the area have concentrated on the fishing industry. However, this study underscores the significant role that cassava played in ensuring food security and income generation among the people of Luapula Valley. This study shows that from 1900 to 1980, cassava ensured food security especially during catastrophes such as droughts of 1980 and locust invasions of 1931 to 1935. From as early as 1906, cassava was vital in the local and export trade to the Congo mines and Copperbelt. Trade in cassava enabled the people of theLupula Valley to access cash and other items of value. The study has also demonstrated that there was employment for traders who bought and transported cassava meal on behalf of recruiting companies in the valley. During the Second World War, cassava was a key source of food for the mine workers on the Copperbelt.During the period 1964 to 1980, the post-colonial government discouraged the cultivation of cassava in favour of maize. However, the crop continued to be vital in the valley. In the 1980s the government began to recognise cassava as a reliable famine relief crop. The study concludes that cassava played a significant role in ensuring food security and as a source of income for the people of the valley.
University of Zambia
Master of Arts in History