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Wageningen Universiteit (1999)

Rice cultivation in the farming systems of Sukumaland, Tanzania : a quest for sustainable production under structural adjustment programmes

Meertens, H.C.C.

Titre : Rice cultivation in the farming systems of Sukumaland, Tanzania : a quest for sustainable production under structural adjustment programmes

Auteur : Meertens, H.C.C.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 1999

Résumé partiel
This thesis investigates options for sustainable rice cultivation and general agricultural development in the Mwanza and Shinyanga regions in northwestern Tanzania, often called Sukumaland due to the predominance of Wasukuma people. Generally Sukumaland has a semi-arid climate ; agriculture is constrained by unreliable and low rainfall. In the past fifty years the population density has doubled in most parts. This has triggered several changes in farming systems. One important change is a reduction of grasslands in the valleys, due to increased cultivation of rice. Rice cultivation systems in Sukumaland serve here as a case study that allows the investigation of the interplay of social, economic and biophysical sustainability factors at field, farm, watershed and regional/national levels and their importance to the development of sustainable agriculture. Because soil fertility management is currently more important to sustainable rice cultivation in Sukumaland than water use efficiency or pest and disease susceptibility, it is the focus of the investigation. Economic reform programmes known as structural adjustment programmes started in Tanzania around 1986, guided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. These programmes required drastic changes in Tanzanian national economic policies and had great impact on the marketing of agricultural outputs and inputs. Liberalized markets and private traders were expected to improve the agricultural sector via a much needed intensification of agriculture, involving higher consumption of mineral fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. However, the `liberalization’ of international agricultural trade provided only a limited increase in access to developed country (DC) markets for less developed countries (LDCs) like Tanzania, and included few restrictions on the dumping of agricultural products by DCs. Farmers in LDCs cannot compete with farmers in DCs, and this lack of market opportunities, in combination with low agricultural prices and the low purchasing power of LDC consumers, pose major constraints on LDC food security. Specific data for Tanzania show that for this country the per capita food production increased in the 1970s, stabilized in the 1980s and started to decline in the 1990s. From a national point of view this is obviously not sustainable agricultural development. The gradual process of soil nutrient depletion in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is thought to be a reason, though rather hidden, for slow agricultural growth in the face of high increases in population. An integrated nutrient management (INM) strategy, which combines the use of locally available resources with the use of external inputs and includes both management practices to save nutrients from being lost from the system and interventions to add nutrients from outside, has been advocated to increase production and develop sustainable agriculture in SSA. INM methods are one of the important strategies of low external input and sustainable agriculture (LEISA) policies. The LEISA approach is aimed at making optimal use of local available resources, adding limited external inputs and using them in the most efficient way. In managing soil fertility, low inputs of mineral fertilizers must be combined with applications of farmyard manure and, where applicable, green manures, compost, agroforestry and erosion control. The expected result is sustainable increases in production

Mots clés : rice / oryza / farming systems / agricultural development / cultural methods / soil fertility / fertilizers / extension / sustainability / tanzania

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Page publiée le 10 juin 2008, mise à jour le 14 janvier 2018