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Today in Labour History

6 July 1964
Tobacco shed, Malawi
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rural Labour in Malawi

On 6 July 1964, Nyasaland gained independence and renamed itself Malawi. In an IRSH article (55,2010, part 3), Erik Green deals with postcolonial African peasant agriculture, cash crop production and its impact on labour relations. The focus is on the Lilongwe Land Development Programme (1968-1981) in Malawi. The aim of the programme was to enable African farmers to increase yields and make them shift from the cultivation of tobacco and local maize to groundnuts and high-yielding varieties of maize. The programme failed to meet its goals, because it generated a decline in the supply of local labourers and made farmers increasingly dependent on collaborative labour arrangements. Green concludes that the history of rural labour relations cannot be grasped by simple linear models of historical change, but requires an understanding of local contexts.

Erik Green, 'State-led Agricultural Intensification and Rural Labour Relations: The case of Lilongwe Land Development Program in Malawi, 1968-1981', IRSH 55 (2010) part 3

More info: Lilongwe Land Development Programme Malawi 1968-1981