The establishment and development of peasant farming schemes in the Eastern Province of Zambia : a case study of Lundazi District, 1954-1976

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Tembo, Christopher W.
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This dissertation examines the policies of the colonial and Zambian governments on peasant farming schemes in Lundazi District. I discuss the formulation, implementation and results of these policies from 1954 to 1976. These governments provided considerable financial and technical assistance in the hope of transforming agriculture from subsistence to commercial production. I have also looked at how markets played a positive role in expanding agriculture in an area which had been considered backward for a long time. With credit and technical facilities at the disposal of the peasants, agricultural production changed because of use of ploughs and tractors in place of a hoe. From 1954 to 1963, I have shown how the colonial administration concentrated on peasant farming schemes with a few selected settlers, neglecting the majority of the community in the district. I have shown how colonial technical and credit servi8ces created a socio-economic differentiation between the peasants on the schemes and those in the surrounding villages. Even among the settlers themselves, such differentiation was prevalent resulting in a few of them becoming richer than the majority. The differentiation was seen in the style of life each of them led. Some settlers, through the accumulation of wealth, put up reasonable houses which were comparable to those in towns. They also acquired tractors, more cattle, radios, bicycles, grinding mills, shops and vehicles. Their styles of dress improved. They adopted modern and sophisticated techniques of farming such as crop rotation, use of kraal and compost manure.From 1964 to 1976, agriculture became more developed under the Zambian Government. While advocating the development of settlement schemes, the government policy incorporated the village farmers in peasant farming. Credit and technical assistance was open to everyone without discrimination.This was a reversal of the colonial administration policy which discriminated against village based farmers. Some peasants, both on the schemes and surrounding villages, increased their agricultural incomes. Agriculture was becoming more and more scientific and mechanized than during the colonial period especially with the wide use of chemical fertilisers after 1964. The Zambian government was therefore bridging the gap between the settlers on the schemes and the village farmers. It was at this stage that post independence loans had affected the rural locals economy. The government was able to rescue the farmers from several finance burdens. It created institutions like the Credit Organisation of Zambia (COZ) which was replaced by Agricultural Finance Company in 1970. These institutions gave soft loans to farmers. The Zambian government did not only concentrate on the production of a few exportable crops as was with the colonial administration. It diversified its economy by growing a variety of crops. In the end it is shown that agricultural production had improved significantly increased local population through the reduction of malnutrition among a number of families. The objective of increased food production and employment creation was partly achieved as more and more people both young men and adults took up farming.
Peasant Farming , Farming schemes - Eastern Province