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Famine in East Africa: Food Production and Food Policies (Hardback)
  • Famine in East Africa: Food Production and Food Policies (Hardback)
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Famine in East Africa: Food Production and Food Policies (Hardback)

(author)
£65.00
Hardback 289 Pages / Published: 27/09/1989
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Efforts to commercialize agriculture in peasant societies through investments in technology and various pricing strategies have failed to create the food surpluses needed to forestall famine and support industrialization in East Africa. Seavoy explores this problem, basing his study on the case of Tanzania, a country that experiences recurrent peacetime famines associated with failures in subsistence agriculture. Providing an analysis of East African subsistence culture, he investigates the failures of national agricultural policies and defines strategies for inducing subsistence farmers to shift to commercial production. Seavoy looks at various development initiatives involving technological inputs, political pressure, taxation, and land tenure provisions and their effects on the political economy of subsistence agriculture. He presents a detailed survey of subsistence culture, its agricultural and pastoral practices, and such variables as labor, topography, rainfall, and population density. The shaping of the East African political economy under colonial rule is discussed, together with the economic, social, and political legacy that has persisted to the present day. Seavoy examines Tanzanian agricultural policy, which has aimed at facilitating the transition to commercial agriculture. He finds that the country is a long way from achieving the assured food surpluses that would enable the nation to support an urban industrial workforce. Among the underlying causes he notes the continuing population explosion, the farmers' objections to commercialized agriculture, and deficiencies in the physical infrastructure, trained personnel, and political institutions. He argues that surpluses will not be created until political leaders use the power of national government to enforce the shift to commercial production. A noteworthy and original contribution to development literature, this work is relevant to studies in modern political economy, Third World development, agricultural economy, and related disciplines.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313267550
Number of pages: 289
Weight: 595 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"In this sequel to his Famine in Peasant Societies historian Seavoy argues that peasants must be coerced into adopting commercial social values before they will increase food production and market participation. His thesis is that the main objective of peasant cultivators (called the subsistence compromise' ) is to grow only enough food for subsistence until the next harvest. Seavoy argues that development economists have failed to recognize the subsistence compromise, ' hence the failure of past development policies to end hunger. Seavoy's criticism that price incentives are necessary but insufficient in themselves to motivate traditional peasant households to adopt commercial social values is important. Yet his return to the backward-bending supply curve of labor as the explanation for the failure of development policies may be too simplistic in its neo-Malthusian judgments about the nature of peasants. Seavoy's contribution is in describing an alternative paradigm of behavior and exploring its consequences. But instead of using the paradigm as a problem-solving tool, he argues for policies that force peasants to adopt the Western paradigm of profit-maximizing behavior, without acknowledging that under some conditions they already have. Extensive bibliography. Suitable for undergraduates at all levels."-Choice
?In this sequel to his Famine in Peasant Societies historian Seavoy argues that peasants must be coerced into adopting commercial social values before they will increase food production and market participation. His thesis is that the main objective of peasant cultivators (called the subsistence compromise' ) is to grow only enough food for subsistence until the next harvest. Seavoy argues that development economists have failed to recognize the subsistence compromise, ' hence the failure of past development policies to end hunger. Seavoy's criticism that price incentives are necessary but insufficient in themselves to motivate traditional peasant households to adopt commercial social values is important. Yet his return to the backward-bending supply curve of labor as the explanation for the failure of development policies may be too simplistic in its neo-Malthusian judgments about the nature of peasants. Seavoy's contribution is in describing an alternative paradigm of behavior and exploring its consequences. But instead of using the paradigm as a problem-solving tool, he argues for policies that force peasants to adopt the Western paradigm of profit-maximizing behavior, without acknowledging that under some conditions they already have. Extensive bibliography. Suitable for undergraduates at all levels.?-Choice

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