Power of Coincidence Agrarian Change in Mamire Village - Tanzania (1992-2012)

Clas Lindberg


The paper is based on interviews with key informants during a brief field visit inAugust 2012. The researcher returned to the area in Tanzania where he wrote his PhDthesis, starting 20 years ago. The thesis (presented 1996), with the title “Society andEnvironment Eroded” painted a gloomy picture of decreasing soil fertility, soil erosion,overgrazing, and increasing social stratification. Recent brief visits (in 2008, 2009 and2011) pictured an area that had become remarkably greener, with more diversifiedcropping, improvements in the infrastructure, more shops and business, etc.

The central theory is Henry Bernstein‟s “simple reproduction squeeze” pointingout declining terms of trade for agricultural products as the driving force of agriculturalchange, requiring intensified production. The squeeze hence often results in overuse anddegradation of both natural and human resources. The situation in most of the 1990scould definitely be explained by the “squeeze”.

The study has three central questions; is the perceived picture of social andecological improvements confirmed when properly investigated? What are the socialstructures behind this seemingly positive development? Is Henry Bernstein‟s simplereproduction squeeze still a valid theory to explain the agrarian change in the twovillages?

The study confirms the picture of progress both in the agrarian economy and inecological sustainability. When it comes to the reasons behind this change, the resultsindicates that no single factor could be pointed out but that rather a combination offactors such as growth of the national economy, the work of extension and aid anddemographic changes coincide and thereby facilitate the change.

Key words: Tanzania, Agrarian change, Deagrarianisation


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