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Title: The discontented farmer : state-society relations and food insecurity in rural Tanzania
Author: Mura, Marika Noemi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 7782
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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In many developing countries, those people who work the land as food producers are also the ones who most suffer from food insecurity. While many studies look at the power dynamics within the food system at the global level and the role played by transnational companies in particular, this investigation starts at the local level to look into the reasons behind the high levels of food insecurity among farmers. Specifically, it analyses how the relationship between the domestic food producers and the state in Tanzania has affected food security in rural areas, in particular in farmers' households. The question it asks is: How has the relationship between the state and farmers shaped food security in rural Tanzania since its independence? A qualitative approach has been employed: farmer interviews were conducted in 8 villages located in two regions of Tanzania - Coast and Kilimanjaro - and supplemented by interviews with state officials and civil society representatives. The villages surveyed in the Coast region suffer from arid conditions and are isolated from the main road that connects Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, while the villages studied in the Kilimanjaro region are on the slopes of the mountains around the town of Usangi, far from the touristic and commercial centres of Moshi and Arusha. Through interviews with farmers in these villages, the qualitative approach of this research offers a contextualised insight into food insecurity, the problems of the agricultural sector and farmers' attitude towards the state and its policies. The interviews with state officials and representatives of civil society were employed to investigate both current agricultural policies and officials’ attitude towards small scale farmers. This thesis makes an empirical contribution to the literature on food security and state-farmer relationships. I argue that the mixture of agricultural policies implemented by the state over the years have done little to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers that live in isolated rural areas. One of the reasons why this is so is that the policies are not framed around the needs of small scale farmers (despite them being the great majority of the farmers in the country), and hence are not welcomed positively by the communities. The results of this study identify a reciprocal distrust between the state and farmers as one of the main causes of policy failure and unsatisfactory improvements in food security in rural areas. On one side, state officials see small scale farmers as inefficient and wish for the agricultural sector to be driven by medium and large scale farmers. On the other side, most farmers tend to dismiss state officials' advice as inadequate to the reality of farming. In general, farmers see the state as a distant entity, with which they have little contact and which they do not trust. I argue that the controversial relationship between the Tanzanian state and farmers is historically grounded and has a direct link with food insecurity amongst farmers for two main reasons. First, it affects the framing, objectives and implementation of agricultural policies, which thus fail to support small scale farmers. Second, it hinders the ability of farmers to successfully cooperate and/or create a coherent farmers' movement to improve food security and address their challenges at state level. Farmers' discontent is perceived in their alienation to politics, and in their distrust towards a state that has historically not been able to address their challenges nor improve their condition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Rotary Club Sedilo Marghine Centro Sardegna
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; S Agriculture (General)