Agricultural decline in Tanzania: the case of the Uluguru mountains

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This article describes social and economic change over the last thirty years in the Mgeta division of Morogoro rural district in Tanzania’s Uluguru mountains. In common with many areas, Mgeta has, over this period, become more and more involved in wider networks of economic exchange. The area faces an increasing food deficit; there is an increasing reliance on vegetable cultivation for the urban markets; and the area is increasingly dependent upon migration to the cities. These economic changes are reflected in changes in the social structure of the area. Earlier descriptions of the area give paramount importance to the matrilineal lineage which regulated access to land and patterned residence.1 Nowadays, this locally- based structure has given way to small kinship groups which mostly depend upon links otitside the area for access to cash. The study of regional social change may elucidate broader processes of social change. For example, Berry used a detailed study of the way econ-omic surplus was spent in Yorubaland as an apt illustration of the use of the surplus generated by the oil boom in the Nigerian economy.2 Such a study of the way in which regions are enmeshed in national economies is useful, but developments in one region do not necessarily reflect changes in the economy as a whole. Wider patterns of social change set parameters within which social change takes place, but this does not necessarily lead to one particular pattern of development. Regional studies may illustrate the possibility of a diversity of responses shaped by the local actors. Social change in Mgeta is seen, in this article, as one of various possible outcomes of development shaped by actors.3 Secondly, focusing on the increasing involvement of regions in wider networks may pay undue attention to
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr Wilbert Chagula Library, (EAF FOS D71.A3)
Van Donge, J.K. (1992) Agricultural decline in Tanzania: the case of the Uluguru mountains