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Rural development in a global context: The case of Nante in Mozambique

ORAM - Rural Association for Mutual Assistance

February 2005

SARPN acknowledges permission from ORAM to post this document.
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Some Historical remarks

The last century

Nante is an área in Mozambique situated in the lower part of the Licungo river basin near the Indian Ocean in the Zambezia Province. In this paper we want to report about the rural development process in this area within the global context. Rural development, foodsecurity and the trade of agricultural production can not been seen isolated of the past. To caracterize the history of the Zambezia province we choose to quote the investigators Veil&White in their famous work about the the socio-economic processes in study area: "Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Quelimane district, the 'garden of the province' and the Empire's 'second São Tome' has been ruled by the original landed slave traders, by a short-lived and disastrous Portuguese administration which provoked the only serious African resistance, by the plantation companies which collected taxes and controlled labour, and by the Estado Novo which demanded of the district only that it furnish Portugal with regulated quantities of sugar, cotton, rice, tea and vegetable oils. Throughout this whole period, two factors have been constant. First has been the absolute subordination of the interests of the local African populations to those of the various rulers, making Quelimane district a locus classicus of the manner in which capitalism has underdeveloped Africa. Second has been the persistence among peoples oppressed and exploited through systematic labour extraction of what might be termed 'the peasant alternative', the production in small gardens of crops for sale in the open market whenever conditions and prices served as sufficient inducement." In the fourties of the last century the Lower Licungo - with favorite agro-ecogical conditions - was transformed in a rice exporting area under a forced cultivation system. After the ILO intervention in 1961 the forced cultivation system was abandoned and the operating company Lopes&Irmãos transformed the family-wet-land-rice-systems in a comercial irrigation system for rice. In this transformation process farmers were expelled from their land. The management left the area after independance in 1975 and the new Frelimo Government replaced the colonial company by a state farm for rice production including the rice mill; not giving back the land to the farmers.



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