Constraints on the development of the Mungwi agricultural settlement scheme in the Northern province of Zambia, 1957-1991

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Ng'andu, Sunday Bwalya
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This study is an attempt to contribute to the existing literature on agricultural settlement schemes in Zambia. The study is centered on the constraints on the development of the Mungwi Agricultural Settlement Scheme in northern Zambia. The study argues that the poor selection of settler farmers, mediocre and inadequate staffing, and training of settlers, impended the development of the scheme. These problems were compounded by labour constraints, low producer prices and the risks involved in cash crop production. Above all, the colonial government's primary objective for creating the scheme was not necessarily to raise the standard of living of the local people but to satisfy its economic and political ends. The African nationalist leaders realized this objective and were therefore resistant to the scheme programme.During the post-independence era, problems of colonial legacy were further compounded by the adoption of inappropriate technology and the unsound loan policies and loan recoveryproblems. From the late 1980s, the Baptist Church from Germany became involved in the agricultural development at Mungwi to supplement the existing facilities. This represented a dawn of hope to the Mungwi Farming Community.The selection of the Mungwi scheme for this study was not accidental, but a matter of historical significance. The scheme was the colonial government's biggest and most outstanding component of the Northern Province Intensive Development Plan of 1957. It was the most symbolically significant of all government interventions in the province at the time, but which over the years, failed to live to people's expectations. It is, therefore, justifiable that the history of such a scheme be investigated and constraints on its development brought to light.The present study attempts to dismiss the assertion by some scholars and the commonly held view that the Northern Province of Zambia lagged behind in agriculture due to the inherited poor plateau soils, the "beerly-lazy" people of the area and the presence of tsetsefly. The absence of a systematic historical study on agricultural settlement schemes in northern Zambia prompted the undertaking of this study in an attempt to fill the void. It is hoped that the findings of this work would help planners of agricultural development projects and stimulate further research on the subject in the region.
Social settlements--Northern province--Zambia , Agricultural development projects--Mungwi--Zambia