The Mbarali Chinese Rice Farm and its Environmental Menace in the Usangu Plains, 1971 to the mid-1980s

George K. Ambindwile


For a long time, the Mbarali Rice Farm in the Usangu Plains has been portrayed as a success story of the Chinese establishment in Tanzania. The farm has been associated with development and expansion of rice farming, population growth, development of rice agricultural infrastructures in the region and with an increased food production nationwide. However, its history and the environmental cost of such development in the region have rarely been scrutinised. Drawing on archival and oral sources, this paper argues that the Mbarali Rice Farm constructed in Chinese model has brought substantial environmental impact such as weeds (wild rice) invasion in the region, water use change, floods and loss of biodiversity, consequently leading to its ecological decline.


Rice Farming, Chinese, Mbarali, Environmental Decline, Tanzania

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