Agricultural change in Sesheke district of Western Zambia,1899-1964
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Agriculture and food security are major themes in Zambia and the world over. The people of Sesheke district have depended on agriculture for many years. This dissertation discusses agricultural change in Sesheke district of Western Zambia from 1899 to 1964. The study focuses on the traditional food crops the people of Sesheke district cultivated from 1899 to 1964 as well as the change from sorghum and millet to maize cultivation. Furthermore, the study examines the impact of this change on the food security of the area under review. The dissertation argues that before maize was introduced in Barotseland by the Portuguese in the 1800s. The people of Sesheke district grew cereal crops such as sorghum and millet. Maize was grown alongside sorghum and millet when it was introduced in Sesheke district. It was from the 1950s when the people of Sesheke district started to grow more maize than sorghum and millet. The change was gradual such that at the time of independence in 1964 a considerable number of Sesheke farmers were still growing sorghum and millet. The dissertation demonstrates that a number of factors such as the availability of market for maize, colonial policies, bird attacks on sorghum and millet, introduction of ploughs and many others made the people of Sesheke district to change from sorghum and millet to maize cultivation. The change to maize production caused food insecurity at certain times because if maize failed, the farmers of Sesheke had no any other crop to depend on. Moreover, maize was susceptible to natural disasters such as drought and many others. The study further discusses various strategies used by the people of Sesheke in order to avert hunger, as well as the importance of cattle in ensuring food security. Some of the strategies include fishing which was also a normal economic activity, wild fruits, works such as road construction and maintenance were sources of income and many more. Key words: Agricultural change, traditional food crops and food security.
The University of Zambia
- Agricultural Sciences