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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Colonial Policy and Peasant Cotton Agriculture in Southern Rhodesia, 1904-1953
Author:Nyambara, Pius S.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Great Britain
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This article suggests that the history and experiences of peasant cotton growers in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) were significantly different from those of their counterparts in other parts of colonial Africa. In Southern Rhodesia, peasant cotton cultivation was not characterized by the same degree of overt coercion as in Mozambique or the Belgian Congo. Part of the reason for this difference lies in the nature of the colonial State. The article places emphasis not so much on colonial hegemony or on peasant agency, but rather on the ideological and economic discourses within various segments of the colonial State, and how these discourses shaped overall colonial policy towards peasant agriculture. The study is divided into three periods. The first period, from the introduction of cotton seeds to peasants in 1904 until 1930, was characterized by the dismal failure of colonial cotton schemes, primarily because of problems associated with the inclusion of cotton into the tight peasant agricultural cycle. The second period (1930-1939) was largely dominated by the Depression and by State attempts to protect the major white settler industries from African competition. The State encouraged peasant cotton growing in part to divert peasants' attention from competitive industries. The third period (1940-1953) saw a genuine increase in peasant interest in cotton cultivation. The push for cotton cultivation among the peasants during this period was part of the overall State policy to promote African agriculture in general, for pragmatic economic reasons. Notes, ref.