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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The remedy for hunger is bending the back': maize and British agricultural policy in southwestern Tanzania 1920-1960
Author:Fourshey, Catherine CymoneISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:agricultural policy
agricultural history
colonial period
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40282489
Abstract:This paper examines the concerted efforts of British policymakers from 1920 to 1960 that led to maize becoming a central crop in the Tanganyika Territory (now Tanzania). How did this American crop, which requires just the right quantities of rain at the right phase of its growing cycle, become so important in a nation with unpredictable rainfall patterns? First, the paper provides an overview of precolonial agriculture in Tanganyika to illustrate the diversity of crops that existed prior to German and British rule. Next, a summary of the German and British colonial-era philosophies on economy and agriculture demonstrates the shift to cash cropping that set the stage for maize planting. The second half of the paper first examines two specific British campaigns, 'Grow more crops' and 'Buy Empire goods', to highlight government-supported ventures that influenced Tanganyikans' perceptions of maize in the second quarter of the 20th century. This is followed by an analysis of statistical data as a means of quantifying the shift to maize. The final section demonstrates African responses to maize policies. British policies led to the rise of maize as both a food crop and a symbol of abundance for Tanganiykans, but the push for maize decreased crop diversity and in many ways compromised food security. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]