Food shortage and famine problems in Masasi district: from colonial to post-colonial era (1895-1991)

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University of Dar es Salaam
All societies are supposed to advance from lower to higher levels of development. Nature has always made man a thinker more than a worker. Through understanding the laws of nature, man increased his capacity on how to earn his living. He has, with time, improved further his productive forces, his technical capacity and social relations of production; he has enhanced his exploitation of resources. In this way human societies have managed to break through from one stage of human development to another. However, there are other societies which fail to produce even the necessary requirements like food to feed themselves. This dissertation gives a historical survey of the historical developments in Masasi district in relation to political changes in Tanzania since colonial period up until 1991. The objective of the study is to show how the historical changes acted as brakes to the development of people in the district. The main argument is that the law level of the productive forces, the technological backwardness, is the primary course of food prices in Masasi. This is made the food dependency on external sources a dominant feature of Masasi. The post colonial policies failed to eradicate the problem. The data for this dissertation was obtained from primary sources: archival files, government reports and interviews in the field. Secondary sources included books and journals. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter one introduces the study whereby the problem is defined. The objectives, scope and methodology of the study and hypotheses are also given here. Chapter two gives a survey of the historical background and the establishment of colonialism, its policies and the problem of food crisis. Chapter three and four concentrate on the impact of the post colonial policies and economic programmes on food crises. Chapter five is a summary and outline of the findings, the main factors for the persistent food crisis. These factors include the low level of the productive forces, lack of income generating activities, labour and transport constraints, and varies of climatic conditions.
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Famines, Tanzania
Mlelwa, Hadrian C (1992) Food shortage and famine problems in Masasi district: from colonial to post-colonial era (1895-1991), Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (