Agricultural productivity and surplus production in Tanzania: Implications of Villagization, Fertilizer application and Mixed farming

Finn Kjaerby


This paper is an attempt to analyse a basic contradiction in agricultural
development, the tendency for the productivity of labour to fallon the
one hand and the urge to achieve a higher rate of surplus production on the other.

In Tanzania, over the last decade, there has been a trend of stagnating
production in the peasant sector. It is suggested that this trend can be
understood in terms of a long-term tendency for the average productivity of
labour to decline as the pattern of land-use is intensified. According to
Boserup's thesis the intensification of land-use normally leads to higher out-
P"':ltper cultivated unit of land (productivity of land) and the gradual decline
in the productivity of labour is off-set by working hours. For large parts of
Tanzania, however, it can also be shown that the productivity of land has
tended towards stagnation and even decline as a result of land degradation.

The decline in productivity of both labour and land reduces the
capacity of the peasant sector to produce a surplus which provides the
necessary basis of capital accumulatlon for investment in industrial and
other development projects by the state. A discussion is provided of surplus
extraction seen as operating within the context of the terms of trade movements,
in order to arrive at an understanding of the constraints on capital
accumulation. Forms of surplus production are conceptualized and discussed
in relation to labour productivity, and the development strategies of villagization,
the fertilizer package and mixed farming are discussed in terms of
their potential for raising the productivity of labour and land and hence for
increasing surplus production.
It should be stressed frem the outset that this paper is not an
empirical study. It is rather an attempt to provide a tentative theoretical
outline for discussing issues of agricultural strategies of releVal'ice to the
present problems of developing peasant farming in Tanzania.

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