Famine In East Africa: Food Production And Food Policies

Hardcover | September 1, 1989

byRonald E. Seavoy

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Efforts to commercialize agriculture in peasant societies through investments in technology and various pricing strategies have failed to create the food surpluses needed to forestall famine and support industrialization in East Africa. Seavoy explores this problem, basing his study on the case of Tanzania, a country that experiences recurrent peacetime famines associated with failures in subsistence agriculture. He investigates the failures of East African national agricultural policies and defines strategies for inducing subsistence farmers to shift to commercial production.

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Efforts to commercialize agriculture in peasant societies through investments in technology and various pricing strategies have failed to create the food surpluses needed to forestall famine and support industrialization in East Africa. Seavoy explores this problem, basing his study on the case of Tanzania, a country that experiences r...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:289 pages, 9.58 × 6.45 × 1.1 inPublished:September 1, 1989Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313267553

ISBN - 13:9780313267550

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?In this sequel to his Famine in Peasant Societies historian Seavoy argues that peasants must be coerced into adopting commercial social values before they will increase food production and market participation. His thesis is that the main objective of peasant cultivators (called the subsistence compromise' ) is to grow only enough food for subsistence until the next harvest. Seavoy argues that development economists have failed to recognize the subsistence compromise, ' hence the failure of past development policies to end hunger. Seavoy's criticism that price incentives are necessary but insufficient in themselves to motivate traditional peasant households to adopt commercial social values is important. Yet his return to the backward-bending supply curve of labor as the explanation for the failure of development policies may be too simplistic in its neo-Malthusian judgments about the nature of peasants. Seavoy's contribution is in describing an alternative paradigm of behavior and exploring its consequences. But instead of using the paradigm as a problem-solving tool, he argues for policies that force peasants to adopt the Western paradigm of profit-maximizing behavior, without acknowledging that under some conditions they already have. Extensive bibliography. Suitable for undergraduates at all levels.?-Choice