Government agricultural policy and rural poverty in Gwembe district of Southern province of Zambia, 1964 - 2011.
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The main focus of this study is on the interplay between government’s agro strategies and programmes on the one hand and Gwembe District’s ecology, poor road network, rocky and hilly terrain on the other. The study explores the national agro strategies and programmes that were formulated, modified and implemented by successive Zambian Governments from 1964 to 2011, with the aim of alleviating high poverty levels especially in rural areas. Further, it examines the performance and progression of such agricultural strategies and programmes which resulted in the continuation, modification and discontinuation of some. The study thereafter examines the reaction of Gwembe small scale farmers towards the agro strategies and programmes. It shows that the reaction of Gwembe’s small scale farmers was circumstantial and was dependent on the dictates of the policy, prevailing conditions at the time of implementation and benefits attached to the policy or programme. Depending on the above factors, Gwembe small scale farmers welcomed some policies and programmes while resenting others. There were times when the latter cooperated to get what they desired. At times they acted aggressively to show despondence over government intentions but also showed apathy to policies and programmes they deemed unbeneficial. The study also assesses the impact of agro strategies and programmes on small scale farmers of Gwembe. It notes that despite the various agro strategies and programmes implemented in the district, the impact was negligible due to persistence crop failure resulting from droughts and other ecological factors, failure of parastatals tasked with disbursement of credit and other services as well as inadequate agro storage facilities. Keywords: Agricultural strategies and programmes, Ecology, Terrain, Road network
The University of Zambia