The impact of Ujamaa production on adoption of new farming practices: a case study of Morogoro district Ujamaa Villages

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University of Dar es Salaam
Tanzania is an agrarian country which depends mainly on agriculture for its national development. To achieve rapid rural development the government and party decided after gaining independence to embark on a villagization policy which aims at bringing peasant farmers together in villages for co-operative production using modern methods. The social and economic environment in the villages is expected to make introduction and adoption of improved farming techniques easier. But while the villagization programme is now ten years old, conflicting views exist about its success in introducing new farming practices through communal production. Some people claim that government assistance channelled to villages in the form of agricultural inputs is a waste of resources since it is often not properly utilised. Meanwhile others claim that Ujamaa villages have been successful in introducing new innovations on communal farms and that cash inputs and mechanisation are in fact over- utilised. This study therefore investigated the extent to which farming practices on individual and communal farms differ and what factors account for this difference or the lack there off. A case study was made of five villages in Morogoro District by interviewing village leaders, extension workers and randomly sampled farmers. The study specifically examined maize and cotton production practices. The study found that farming practices on individual and communal plots differ, with ujamaa village groups tending to follow recommended farming practices. Maize production practices widely adopted by ujamaa groups include: use of improved seed, monoculture, planting during the long rains, row planting, thinking, and application of insecticide. However, they failed to plant maize early and to weed plots properly. Cotton production practices followed by ujamaa groups include correct spacing, thinning, and insecticide spraying. They planted and picked cotton late and failed to weed properly and to spray eight times. Individual farmers planted maize in the early short rains, used Ilonga maize seed, intercropped maize, thinned to three plants or not at all; did not use fertilizers and insecticide, and harvested maize before it has dried properly. Most individual cotton growers planted cotton early, followed correct spacing, thinned and weeded properly, picked cotton early and burnt cotton remains on time. They however failed to spray eight times. The difference in adoption of farming practices between individual and communal plots was found to be due to: free government assistance to ujamaa groups, labour availability (commitment), felt need of recommendations, group-decision making and village leadership, extension services, and force. Ujamaa groups adopted recommended practices because of free inputs and to please government officials in order to continue receiving government assistance even though they were not convinced that the practices were sound. Government assistance is detrimental, leading to loss of self-reliance. The standard blanket recommendations frequently are inappropriate and individual farmers refuse to adopt them because they conflict with traditional farming systems and the local ecological environment. Crucial operations such as planting and weeding are neglected on the communal plots because of low commitment by members to communal production, reflecting the small return realized from such undertakings. Members instead concentrate on their individual plots. Dishonest and corrupt leaders at times have demoralised members, leading to their abandoning the communal farm. Incentives for work should be increased on the communal farm and village economic plans and leadership needs to be improved. Force from local leaders has contributed to adoption of recommended cotton practices by individual farmers, and most cotton recommendations have visable benefits. Although the practices which are enforced are technically sound, persuasion is a better policy to get sustained acceptance. The extension services are geared towards communal plots only, thus neglecting individual farmers. Extension workers rarely visited individual plots except cotton plots grown in blocks. Village leaders and extension workers supervise various operations on the communal plots grown in blocks. Village leaders and extension workers supervise various operations on the communal plots an practices used on the communal plots are decided by the village agricultural sub-committee whose members must ensure that the recommendations are followed. Meanwhile individual farmers are free to follow any practices they please.
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Agriculture, Cooperatives, Morogoro (district), Tanzania
Tilumanywa, A(1977) The impact of Ujamaa production on adoption of new farming practices: a case study of Morogoro district Ujamaa Villages, masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.Available at (