Agricultural transformation in Zambia’s Chibombo, Kapiri Mposhi and Mumbwa districts, during the periods 1980-1990 and 1997-2008

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Malambo, Augrey Hicigaali
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University of Zambia
The governance philosophies of the UNIP and MMD governments were very different. These were expected to drastically influence economic performance and livelihoods. The study was undertaken to compare how agricultural crop production among smallholder farmers changed in time and space. The main objective of this study was to establish the patterns of smallholder crop farming and agricultural transformation of Chibombo, Kapiri Mposhi and Mumbwa districts in Central Province of Zambia between the1980-1990 and 1997-2008 periods. An institutional theoretical framework and a household conceptual approach were used to guide the conduct of this study at the institutional and household levels. The neoliberal theory framework of the 1990s was the basis of the emergence of post-1997 agricultural institutions while the dependency theory of the 1980s guided the agricultural institutions of the 1980s. The Institutional theory guided analysis of institutional changes while the Household Economic Approach was used to analyze effects of policies on families. The establishment of changes which had taken place in smallholder crop farming after 1997 and emerging transformations justified the study. Secondary data was obtained through an extensive review of literature. Primary data was obtained through questionnaires distributed to various agricultural officers and 1,367 smallholder farmers in 226 cooperatives. Other pieces of primary data were obtained through Group and personal interviews and observations. Maps were used in the comparison of agricultural patterns existing between 1980-1990 and 1997-2008 periods. Data was analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods. The study established that the main crops grown during the 1980-1990 period included maize, cotton and groundnuts. After 1997 only maize and cotton continued to dominate while solanum macrocarpon (impwa), sweet potatoes and other crops emerged. The mono cropping system of the 1980s gave way to multicropping, crop rotation and conservation farming practices. Furthermore, after 1997 maize and cotton production remained relatively stable while production of other crops not prominent during the 1980-1990 period increased. Agricultural support institutions of the 1980s collapsed and their places were taken by new privately owned and more sustainable but less spatially distributed institutions. The quality of transport infrastructure deteriorated while two short roads were tarred in Chibombo District. Liberalization became more entrenched especially around market centres and in easily accessible areas of the study districts. In parts of farming areas where government improved and/or up-scaled its policy implementation, sustainable, rewarding and growing agricultural development emerged while in areas where policies were not well implemented or were not followed or not followed correctly, only marginal and declining agricultural development occurred. It is concluded that maize and cotton were widely grown in both study periods; Sunflower production declined after 1997 while new crops such as solanum macrocarpon became common after 1997. The government supported agricultural institutions of the 1980-1990 period collapsed at the end of the 1980s and, new privately and more sustainable institutions emerged. The state of road infrastructure declined after 1997 while positive agricultural transformations characteristic of liberalization emerged near accessible farming areas and market centres. The study concluded that after 1997 changes occurred in cropping systems, the type of crops they grew and crop production; agricultural support institutions; transport infrastructure and new transformations emerged. Key Words: Agricultural Liberalization, Agricultural Support Institutions, Agricultural Transformation, Farmer Response, Smallholder Crop Farming, Transport Infrastructure.
Agriculture--Economic aspects--Zambia , Agriculture and state--Zambia