The state, crop production and differentiation in Botswana, 1947–1966
Morapedi, Wazha G.
PublisherRoutledge (Taylor and Francis) http://www.routledge.com
MetadataShow full item record
This article analyses the colonial government’s intervention in crop production in Botswana through the ‘progressive farmer’ scheme, from 1946 to independence in 1966. Crop production was not a highly remunerative venture in colonial Botswana because of persistent droughts, inadequate markets and lack of sufficient draught power and farming implements. Although cattle constituted the basis of wealth and, hence, their ownership led to social differentiation from pre-colonial times, the introduction of the ‘progressive farmer’ scheme accentuated the existing social stratification by favouring the well-to-do producers. While only a few farmers benefited from state assistance, this development marked a departure from the period before 1947 when the colonial state did almost nothing to bolster crop production in the country. By utilising statistics and case histories of farmers who joined the scheme, the article argues that the support extended to a few selected farmers in only some reserves accentuated intra-peasant differentiation and differentiation between regions of the country. The article begins by briefly presenting a survey of the concept of peasant differentiation, then focuses on the nature and organisation of progressive farmer schemes and their impact on peasant differentiation. It then discusses the position of farmers in the various categories of the scheme and finally presents and analyses case studies of three progressive farmers from three different reserves.