Chapter 2: Social and Local Development

Title: Changing family forms and their impact on agricultural production in Sub-Saharan Africa: lessons from Southern Africa


Abstract/Summary: Poverty, in particular rural poverty, has been widely identified as one of the world's greatest problems, affecting the majority of humankind. This has been especially so in the Third World where high rates of economic growth have brought few if any significant benefits to the poor. It may be because of this record that rural development has in recent decades become a major development issue. Most post-colonial Sub-Saharan African rural development efforts have tended to attribute falling agricultural productivity to technology. Production thus could be increased by the provision of new technology, in the form of knowledge and of capital goods, to peasant producers. The institutional milieu was taken as given, making the traditional production system based on the peasant family the central focus of the strategy. This peasant production organisation had, however, undergone significant changes as a result of changes in the structure and function of its basic unit, the peasant family. This paper seeks to trace changes in peasant family organisation and show how the new emergent family forms have worked against the noble goals of increased agricultural production. The paper will draw from census and other archival sources from the sub-continent.

Order a copy of this article Order a copy of this article