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Bettering their Foods : Peasant Production, Nutrition and the State in Malawi, 1859–2005

Author :  Bryson G. Nkhoma ,Adigun Ajbaje, Fred Hendriks and Grace A. Musila

Product Details

South Africa
NISC (Pty) Ltd (for African Humanities Association), Makhanda, South Africa
ISBN 9781920033941
Format PaperBack
Language English
Year of Publication 2023
Bib. Info xviii, 216p. Includes Index ; Bibliography
Product Weight 450 gms.
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Product Description

Despite the long history of agricultural interventions globally, peasants from Malawi and beyond continue to face the challenge of sustainable food production and nutrition. Bettering their foods: Peasant food production, nutrition and the state in Malawi, 1859–2005 weaves together the political, social, economic, demographic, climatic, ecological and global developments that have informed the various food production and nutrition interventions to account for this development. By bridging the late precolonial, colonial and postcolonial periods, the book presents the history of Malawi through the lens of peasant agriculture, covering important themes such as state formation, slave trade, Christian missions, the colonial state, urbanisation, immigration, trade, conservation, the two World Wars, nationalism and decolonisation, Malawi under Banda’s autocracy, African indigenous knowledge systems, rural development, and democratisation. The study, therefore, offers a critical textbook for undergraduate and graduate students of Empire, rural development, political transformations, economics, anthropology, and African history. For governments and NGOs, the book provides new insights into the dynamics of state interventions, food security, climate change, nutrition, gender, ecological change, and sustainable development. Unlike earlier studies, Bettering their foods contends that while capitalism disrupted local economies, it also made efforts (albeit limited) to transform African capacities to produce nutritious foods. The central drawback was that these efforts were mixed and limited by the derogatory attitudes the implementors had towards African practices. In making this argument, the study demonstrates the extent to which well-intended scientific projects are bound to fall short when providers fail to take into their equation the beneficiary communities, including their history, competitive interests and class diversities.

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