Maize farming and environmental change in Iringa district, the case of Ismani; 1940-2010

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Date
2013
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
This study is premised on the assumption that maize farming in Ismani has over the years led to environmental change in the area leading to serious problems in production. The study investigated whether there was any relationship between maize farming and environmental change in Ismani in the period from 1940 to 2010. In order to establish this relationship, the study begins by examining the nature of the environment in Ismani before maize farming became extensive. From that stage it proceeds by investigating the extent and nature of maize farming in the area under study, before turning to the examination of its influence on the environment. The study was generally qualitative and involved gathering of relevant information from secondary library sources as well as from primary sources such as archival documents, electronic sources and oral testimonies gathered through field interviews. It is evident from the findings that there was a very close relationship between farming and environmental change in Ismani. Progressive farming and its attendant crop ecology, which started at the end of the 1940s, was highly influential in altering the environment in Ismani. The study has shown that the production technology employed in this period was responsible for environmental deterioration. The earlier use of simple means of farming, such as planting without ploughing and using hand hoes had lesser impact on the environment. The use of advanced methods of farming from the 1950s, such as tractors and artificial fertilisers, had notable consequences for the environment in Ismani. The environmental deterioration that followed resulted in the decline of food production. Yet, this decline in crop yield was not solely a result of environmental change. There had been a change in people’s attitudes toward maize farming. Due to major increases in the maize production expenses, peasants lost interest in maize farming and instead turned to the production of commercial crops such as sunflower and tomatoes. The political economy which prevailed in Tanzania from 1970s onwards ultimately transformed Ismani from maize prosperity to dependence on food relief.
Description
Available in print form, University of Dar es salaam Library Dr. Wilbert Chagula , class mark (THS EAF DT449.17C4758)
Keywords
Agriculture, Maize farming, Environmental change, History, Ismani (Iringa district), Iringa
Citation
Chuhila, M. J(2013)Maize farming and environmental change in Iringa district, the case of Ismani; 1940-2010