Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Improved livelihoods in rural Tanzania, 1991-2016

Studies of long-term change in rural villages in Africa are comparatively rare. The data required is usually just not there. The project "Long-term livelihood change in Tanzania", coordinated by the University of Dar es Salaam and the University of Sheffield, tackles this problem. It has identified and re-studied 40 villages in Tanzania where records spanning a few decades are available. A couple of papers are already available. The most recent has just been published: "Tracing Improving Livelihoods in Rural Africa Using Local Measures of Wealth: A Case Study from Central Tanzania, 1991–2016" by Wilhelm Östberg, Olivia Howland, Joseph Mduma, and Dan BrockingtonLand 20187(2), 44:1-26. It can be down-loaded free of cost at http://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/7/2/44

The article analysis livelihood changes and poverty dynamics over a 25-year period in two villages in central Tanzania. The villages were, in the early 1990s and 2000s, strikingly poor with between 50% and 55% of families in the poorest wealth groups. 25 years later people had become substantially wealthier, with 64% and 71% in the middle wealth groups. The new wealth had been generated locally, from farming. This goes against a conventional view of small-scale farming in Tanzania as being stagnant or unproductive. The area of land farmed per family has increased, almost doubling in one village. Most villagers can now support themselves from their land, which is a notable change to the early 1990s when 71% and 82% in each village respectively depended on casual labour for their survival. This change has come at a cost to the environment. By 2016, the village forests are largely gone and have been replaced by farms. 


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