Feeding and Fleecing the Native: How the Nyasaland Transport System Distorted a New Food Market, 189061920s. pp.505 - 523.

Feeding and Fleecing the Native: How the Nyasaland Transport System Distorted a New Food Market, 189061920s. pp.505 - 523.

Author: 
Mandala, Elias
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS)
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 32 - No. 3 - September 2006
Abstract: 

Failed states in Africa are not a uniquely poscolonial phenomenon: The colonial government in Nyasaland started and ended as a failed state. Although effective in garding Britain's global interest against her imperial rivals, the Nyasaland government could not be relied ypons as a trustworthy ally of any social class within the country. The government failed to provide essential services, particularly roads, wqith dire consequences for both the peasant economy and european enterprises. Without a reliable roads network, transport companies came to depend on the vagaries of the weather and the availability of villagers to carry goods on their heads. Transporters competed with planters and other Europran enterprises for cheap labour, instituting a costly freight regime that discouraged planters from raising bulky, low-value food crops. Thus, to feed their workers, all European enterprises - farmers, missionaries, traders, transport companies and the government - turned to peasant-grown food. Responding to these demands without the benefit of new agricultural technologies that could have raised productivity, peasants sold the food that their families needed and began to experience nef forms of hunger. The food deficits forced the same European planters who assaulted the pesant economy as a system of labour usage to realise the need to preserve it as a system of food supply. Such was the nature of the colonial regime in Nyasaland that stimulating and undermining the peasant option did not form two seprate processes, occupying two distinct phases. In Nyasaland, the inefficient transport system, like the estate sector, simultaneously both strengthened and weakened peasant production.

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CITATION: Mandala, Elias. Feeding and Fleecing the Native: How the Nyasaland Transport System Distorted a New Food Market, 189061920s. pp.505 - 523. . : Taylor & Francis , . Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 32 - No. 3 - September 2006 - Available at: http://library.au.int/feeding-and-fleecing-native-how-nyasaland-transport-system-distorted-new-food-market-189061920s-3