“Modern” farming and the transformation of livelihoods in rural Tanzania

Katherine A. Snyder, Emmanuel Sulle, Deodatus A. Massay, Anselmi Petro, Paschal Qamara, Dan Brockington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on smallholder agriculture and livelihoods in north-central Tanzania. It traces changes in agricultural production and asset ownership in one community over a 28 year period. Over this period, national development policies and agriculture programs have moved from socialism to neo-liberal approaches. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, we explore how farmers have responded to these shifts in the wider political-economic context and how these responses have shaped their livelihoods and ideas about farming and wealth. This case study clearly debunks the idea that rural farmers are slow to respond to “modern” farming methods or that smallholder farming is stagnant and cannot reduce poverty. While changes overall are very positive in this rural community, challenges remain as land sizes are small and markets often unreliable. This research cautions against a shift in emphasis to large-scale farming as a strategy for national development. It suggests instead that increased investment in supporting smallholder farming is critical for addressing poverty and rural well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Agrarian change
  • Iraqw
  • Rural livelihoods
  • Smallholder agriculture
  • Tanzania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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