The rice industry,the state and food security in Barotseland,1945-1990
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the reasons why despite Barotseland being one of the chief producers of rice in Zambia, it remained food insecure and one of the poorest provinces from 1945-1990. Therefore, the study reviewed the impact of the 1945 Ten Year Development Plan (TYDP), the First National Development Plan (NDP) (1966-1972), Second (1972-1976), Third (1979-1983) and the 1989 Fourth NDP in the rice industry vis-à-vis food security. The researcher hoped that the study will be a contribution to the body of knowledge of the economic history of Barotseland. Qualitative approach was used for data analysis. Information was collected from UNZA main library in Lusaka, the Archives of Zambia and Ministry of Agriculture in Mongu. Oral interviews were done in Mongu, Senanga and Kalabo in Western Province. Since colonial era, annual floods became a major constraint to food security due to insufficient male labour in the canal and drainage works. The colonial government wanted cheap labour to work in farms and mines for whites in South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Belgium Congo. In the 1940s the problem of food security in Barotseland coincided with the Second World War (1939-1945) economic crisis that affected British territories. Britain wanted to revamp her economy and to help her territories to be economically self-sufficient. Thus she came up with deliberate agricultural policies that encouraged African Peasant Farmers (AFP) to engage in cash crop production. The plan was enshrined in the 1945 TYDP and rice was selected for Barotseland due to the prevalence of many water bodies where rice grew favourably. It was also hoped that by engaging in rice business ventures, the local people would increase their income thus, improve their food security. The state worked in collaboration with donor countries, Barotseland Royal Establishment (BRE) and the private sector in providing Peasant Farmer Support Services (PFSS) to some local rice peasant farmers. Some of the PFSS provided were: construction of canals and drainages, storage, packaging and marketing facilities. In the period between 1950 and 1990, Barotseland recorded a steady increase in rice production. However, the expected improved livelihood was not attained. This was due to various challenges that faced the rice industry. These were: agricultural policies that were contrary to the ecology and terrain of Barotseland. In addition, policy implementation and monitoring processes were inconsistent due to economic crises. Complex Lozi land tenure policy and negative response towards rice state projects by some local people also hindered the growth of the industry. The study concluded that the rice industry was not a profitable business thus the cash proceeds could not carter for the needed food stuffs.