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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A lasting story: conservation and agricultural extension services in colonial Malawi
Author:Green, ErikISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:50
Issue:2
Pages:247-267
Language:English
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:agricultural extension
soil management
colonial period
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/25622023
Abstract:Historians have written extensively about agricultural extension services and the linkages between colonial administrations and rural communities in British Africa. Most studies argue that it is possible to identify a qualitative shift in strategies between the inter and the post-war periods. The former is characterized by modest attempts at promoting soil conservation, while the latter is described as a period when colonial governments in British Africa, guided by scientific knowledge, tried to transform peasant agriculture to increase production. This article questions this division by using colonial Malawi as a case. It reveals that the strategies and intensity of agricultural extension services changed over time but that the aim of intervention, i.e. to combat soil erosion, remained the focal point throughout the colonial period. This shows that it is important to distinguish between strategies and scale of intervention on the one hand and their aims and contents on the other. Changes in the former took place within the conservation paradigm. Additionally, this article reveals that agricultural extension services were directed by colonial officials' perceptions about African farmers rather than detailed empirical knowledge about existing farming methods. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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