Mwongozo was adopted by the National Executive Committee of the Party at a meeting held between 23rd November and 7th December 1981, ten years after Mwongozo of TANU, 1971. It is an important document for a number of reasons. First, it draws upon the experience and thinking of a decade and represents a considered reaction to the practical problems that have arisen as Tanzania has attempted to put into practice the principles and policies of the Arusha Declaration of 1967 in an increasingly unfavourable world economic climate. Secondly, it is wide-ranging in its impact on matters economic, social and constitutional. Though some of its conclusions are likely to be constrained by financial limitations, Mwongozo provides an agenda for discussion in many spheres in the months and years to come.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mwongozo offers us an inspection window into the thinking of leading Tanzanians, including President Nyerere, the Chairman of the Party. Mwongozo is in Kiswahili and was intended as a handbook for Tanzanians, a pocketbook for Party members, not for the outside world. We may not always agree with that thinking, but that is not our business. The importance of Mwongozo is that it shows us how Tanzanians are reacting to their own situation in the light of certain social principles, which they believe to be supremely important and which many elsewhere would agree to De indeed important to the world in general. We may sometimes feel that the Tanzanians are only fumbling, but many of us in the West do not even fumble.

Mwongozo is too long to reproduce in the Bulletin, but a somewhat shortened version in English is being prepared for circulation shortly to all members of the Society.

The recurrent failure of Tanzania to feed itself and the consequent necessity to supplement home-grown supplies with imports, which are costly in foreign exchange, have drawn attention to the need for a more systematic appraisal of the conditions needed to avoid future shortages and to provide for the needs of a rapidly growing population. Table I shows the extent to which cereals have been imported in the recent past and the wild fluctuation of imports; it also shows the growth of population.

Table I. Imports of cereals and growth of population, 1969-1982

Year Imports of cereals (tons) Estimated population
1969 31,000 13,140,000
1970 54,000 13,573,000
1971 52,000 14,021,000
1972 163,000 14,484,000
1973 37,000 14,962,000
1974 400,000 15,455,000
1975 415,000 15,966,000
1976 96,000 16,492,000
1977 126,000 17,037,000
1978 137,000 17,528,000
1979 33,000 18,180,000
1980 346,000 18,780,000

Cereals includes maize, rice and wheat.
Sources: Imports of cereals 1969-79, ‘Food production, trends, problems and possibilities – Tanzania’ by C.S.Lombard, Oct. 1981. Imports of cereals, 1980, ‘Hall ya Uchumi wa Taifa katika Mwaka 1980’, Government Printer, Dar es Salaam, 1981. Estimated population based on the censuses of 1967 and 1978.

It is widely maintained that Tanzania ought to be able to feed itself and to consign sufficient to reserves for the lean years. That it does not do so has complex causes, which include the present frailty of the economic infrastructure – storage, roads, transport vehicles and crop marketing management; agricultural errors of judgment and of timing; the planting of unsuitable crops in high risk areas; and problems of peasant motivation.

The extent and reliability of rainfall is the most important variable which affects crops. During the sixties rainfall was above normal and this tempted peasants to extend the growing of maize into high risk areas in place of more drought resistant crops, such as the millets and sorghum. Maize has a number of advantages over millet and sorghum. It is less susceptible to bird attack and diseases and maize flour is more palatable and therefore more popular and more saleable. But maize is also more vulnerable to rainfall variations and deficiencies and a crop may be spoiled by premature planting before the rains have properly set in. Reliable rainfall during the middle growing period is essential.

Valuable work has been done by the FAO/KILIMO Crop Monitoring and Early Warning Project as a guide for planting policy on the incidence and variations of rainfall in various parts of Tanzania and the effect on crops. Unlike soil variations, rainfall deficiencies or excesses cannot be corrected, except in those limited circumstances where irrigation is practicable, and can only be taken into account in crop planning. Moreover, the choice of crops must take into consideration not only the amount of rainfall, but also its reliability. Difficulty is liable to be created by a succession of years over which rainfall has been ample or deficient, as this tends to encourage planting practices, which are not justified over a longer period of reference.

The FAO studies have divided Tanzania into seven agroclimatic areas, using rainfall data accumulated over 30 years or more. The most favourably endowed area, type S, has reliable rains from November to June. These conditions are found in the Southern Highlands and are very suitable for maize, finger millet, bananas, wheat and beans. In these areas maize is subjected to water stress in less than one year in five during one month at the tasseling stage. In Central Tanzania, comprising Singida, Dodoma and parts of Tabora, and in the south-east, comprising Mtwara and Lindi Regions (type C), on the other hand, there is a high risk (70%) of dry spells in mid-season around February and the climate is therefore only suitable for drought-resistant cereals and root crops, except at the western end of these areas, where maize may successfully be grown in perhaps 60% of the years. There are also areas with two rainy seasons, the B type, as in Dar es Salaam, where maize can successfully be grown during only 20% of the years in the short rains, but may be successful in 60% of the years in the long rains, except in some areas, which are only suitable for grazing; the L type, as in Kagera Region, (West Lake), where the short rains are more reliable than with the B type and both maize and rice may successfully be grown; and the Tn type, as in Tanga Region, where the long rains from March to June are sufficient for maize and where at higher altitudes two crops can successfully be grown. There remains the T type, intermediate between B and C types, as in Kilosa, suitable for maize planted in mid-season and in some parts for wheat and vegetables; and finally the K type, as in Kilimanjaro, where two water-demanding crops may successfully be harvested each year, corresponding to the two rainy seasons. (1)

Statistical information about food crop production is hard to obtain and reliance is normally placed on the amounts purchased from the peasants and the state farms by the National Milling Corporation for sale in the towns and in deficit areas. But the figures of marketed crops ignore the amount retained by peasants for their own use. How this varies is a little obscure. It is no doubt a first charge on production, but in the lean years families may nevertheless deny themselves for the sake of at least a minimal money income. The figures of NMC purchases over recent years have fluctuated wildly and it is not easy to distinguish a trend, but by using three-year averages to minimise seasonal variations, it appears that between 1969-72 and 1977-80 purchases of staple grains rose by an average of 1.8% per annum. As the population is understood to have risen during that period at a rate of 3.3% per annum – even more rapidly in the towns – the volume of staple grains available for marketing fell by 1.5% per annum per head of population during that period.

According to the World Bank(2) most of the growth has been obtained by extending the area under cultivation rather than by the improvement of output per hektare. There appear to remain substantial areas of good land that can be taken into cultivation, but in the long run, with the prospect of 35 million mouths to feed by the end of the century (nearly 20 million today), the problem of increasing yields is becoming daily more acute. In some areas this has been successfully achieved by the use of fertilisers, but the problem of maintaining fertility is not necessarily solved by successive applications year after year. Professor Dumont, who is a great believer in stock breeding both for food and for haulage, suggests that the cotton soils of Sukumaland, in which injudicious applications of ammonium sulphate have increased the acidity of already excessively acid soils, can only be restored to fertility by the use of organic manure in conjunction with small quantities of fertiliser.(3)

On the evidence provided by the World lank, there seems little doubt that the raising of yields encounters serious problems in African Third World countries and calls for a consistent and prolonged effort in applied research. In particular, the Bank recommends an extended programme of testing and validating under local conditions the research findings of the FAO Centre for Maize and Wheat (CYMMET) in Mexico, which in turn is expected to expand its research into the problems revealed by validation studies in Africa. In general, the Bank seems to take the view that markedly increased yields can only result from protracted study and subsequent changes in production technology are not expected to be achieved in the short run. This means that early self-sufficiency can only result in the main from increased acreages under cultivation and it remains to be seen whether this effort will be successful, particularly in view of the priority given to a very large expansion of export crops. (4)

But this technological approach to increased production may well obscure the problem of peasant motivation, which clearly lies at the heart of the immediate problem of production. As the Bank points out, substantially increased producer prices are essential. They are important not only to raise the standard of living of the peasantry, but also to give substance to the official emphasis on rural development and to convince the peasants that the wealth they create is not being needlessly dissipated in the interests of a swollen and urbanised bureaucracy. These psychological factors, which seem to be well understood by the Party (5), are immensely important for overcoming the food problem. The cooperation of the peasantry has to be won and cannot be elicited merely by pressures and directives.

There is, in fact, statistical evidence of the sensitivity of the peasants to the level of producer prices. When the National Milling Corporation began to purchase drought crops (sorghum, cassava and the millets) in the early seventies, the unduly favourable prices offered caused a diversion from the preferred cereals and created for the Corporation a serious problem of storage and disposal. Peasants need cash for buying consumer goods and materials for house building (nyumba bora). The presence of goods in the village dukas (shops) is an important factor in peasant motivation. Communal farming (ya kijamaa), which is encouraged by the Party, is successful in areas in which it is seen to provide an adequate income for the provision of social facilities- schools, clinics, village roads, water supplies, maize mills, etc.. Here again, success depends in part on the visible returns.

Tanzania’s economic situation is not favourable for securing for the peasant the full benefits that a buoyant rural economy might be expected to yield. This no doubt accounts in part for its sluggish response. But despite immense difficulties in maintaining industrial production and the means of transport, there remains room for improvement by the choice of priorities and by maintaining the rural emphasis for which Tanzania has been justly famous.

J. Roger Carter

1. The information in this paragraph is from ‘Rainfall Variability, Types of Growing Seasons and Cereal Yields in Tanzania I by R.A. Gommes and M. Houssiau: FAO/KILIMO Crop Monitoring and Early Warning Project, Dar es Salaam, 1982.
2. World Bank: Tanzania Basic Economic Report, Washington, 1977.
3. ‘L’Afrique Etranglee’: Rene Dumont and Marie-France Mottin: Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1980.
4. Mpango wa Pili wa Taifa wa Kujihami Kiuchumi wa Mwaka 1982.
5. Mwongozo, 1981

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