Systemic Agricultural Mismanagement: The 1985 ‘Bumper’ Harvest in Zambia

In the Zambian system of presidentialism and state capitalism, agricultural marketing, i.e. the purchasing, transportation, and storage of crops, is in the hands of the state. Its record in this respect is poor and its management of the 1985 maize harvest was, if anything, worse than usual. The failures and inefficiencies which were displayed cannot be adequately attributed to capricious or extraneous factors; instead they point to serious structural and organizational weaknesses in the Zambian state and political economy. Even a new, procapitalist agricultural strategy cannot change the fact that the total number of large-scale farmers in Zambia remains small relative to the poor and middle peasantries, nor can it break the established and debilitating interlinkage between weak state and backward peasant agriculture. Notes, ref. (Adapted version in: Coping with Africa’s food crisis / ed. by Naomi Chazan and Timothy M. Shaw. – 1988. – P. 185-209).

Title: Systemic Agricultural Mismanagement: The 1985 ‘Bumper’ Harvest in Zambia
Author: Good, Kenneth
Year: 1986
Periodical: Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume: 24
Issue: 2
Pages: 257-284
Language: English
Geographic term: Zambia
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/160693
Abstract: In the Zambian system of presidentialism and state capitalism, agricultural marketing, i.e. the purchasing, transportation, and storage of crops, is in the hands of the state. Its record in this respect is poor and its management of the 1985 maize harvest was, if anything, worse than usual. The failures and inefficiencies which were displayed cannot be adequately attributed to capricious or extraneous factors; instead they point to serious structural and organizational weaknesses in the Zambian state and political economy. Even a new, procapitalist agricultural strategy cannot change the fact that the total number of large-scale farmers in Zambia remains small relative to the poor and middle peasantries, nor can it break the established and debilitating interlinkage between weak state and backward peasant agriculture. Notes, ref. (Adapted version in: Coping with Africa’s food crisis / ed. by Naomi Chazan and Timothy M. Shaw. – 1988. – P. 185-209).