Thursday, November 18, 2010

Agriculture in South India - notes

Zimbabwe land reform 'not a failure'

the 10-year study of 400 households in the southern province of Masvingo debunks five myths:
That land reform has been a total failure
That most of the land has gone to political "cronies"
That there is no investment on the resettled land
That agriculture is in complete ruins, creating chronic food insecurity
That the rural economy has collapsed.
I hope such a study would be conducted in India too. The problem is the impact of many of India's ground breaking policies has not been studied scientifically. The first one should be highly politicized 'caste reservations'.

3 comments:

Maju said...

Very interesting, thanks. In spite of BBC's strong bias on this matter (where it says "white farmer" it should read "landowner" and such), the article at least makes some justice to the much criticized Zimbawean agrarian reform.

manju said...

I wonder whether they can move up in the ladder or just sustain themselves. Success is not an issue if there is enough water. But I suppose the ex-landowners need to act as bona fide feudals (as some of them working already.

However, cronyism even if it's just 5% shouldn't be tolerated. It might have been blown up like 95% but such corrupt practices give huge fillip to opponents. I believe the impression Indians got was all Mugabe's men were taking up the lands and the opposition (again African leadership) was in fact fighting for low income families.

Though I have read an Indian origin leader of ANC praising Mugabe and hoping to do a Mugabe in South Africa too. So, I wasn't very clear about it.

Maju said...

"I wonder whether they can move up in the ladder or just sustain themselves".

From being a peon to working your own land is already moving up the ladder.

Anyhow, they are growing cash crops like cotton, so it's not like they are just making subsistence farming. I think that having a decent plot of land has been historically the basis for many middle classes, at least it's clearly the case in my country. Someone who has a decent farm can gradually invest in other business, maybe not now because the overall Zimbabwean situation is bad, but as generations go on, as long as the land is not split once and again.

Not too much is known of my family before my great-grandfather, who migrated to the city to invest in river transport and later port construction, eventually selling the family farm to dote my bachelor great-aunt, but it seems that some 170 years ago they already had a forge in their farm (something very common in the Basque Country since the Middle Ages).

What I perceive is that once you reach the petty bourgeois class, if you ever do, it's almost impossibly to reach higher because you really need to be heartless and at the same time very smart and diplomatic. The top echelons of Capitalist society seem to be reserved for true vampires, so to say (and only for the "best", or rather worst, among them - there are many petty suckers who never really reach too far... or fall after they do). What I mean is that you cannot reach those places with mere working ethics... actually you have to get rid of all ethics whatsoever - except a varnish, so it's not too obvious.

"However, cronyism even if it's just 5% shouldn't be tolerated".

Agreed 100%.

"I believe the impression Indians got was all Mugabe's men were taking up the lands and the opposition (again African leadership) was in fact fighting for low income families".

International press and leaders, BBC, British politicians... have always claimed that. And with some reason maybe, but only a very minor anchor of reason, this study seems to demonstrate. So in 95% of what they said they were lying, it seems.

I am not enthusiast of Mugabe but land reform is, I think, a social and even political need in any country with large landowners. A great deal of the social cohesion of France for instance is derived from the radical land reform made in the French Revolution. In the Basque Country we have always tended by means of laws to promote viable farms, which could not be divided in inheritance, producing largely the same result (a generally well-off "middle class" society with a dominant horizontal structure, not hyper-vertical). Instead where plots are divided to the extreme (Galicia) or where they are all concentrated in few hands (Andalusia), most people is poor (or used to be before modern urbanite way of life).

"I have read an Indian origin leader of ANC praising Mugabe and hoping to do a Mugabe in South Africa too".

South Africa (the ANC) has supported Mugabe, not without some criticisms, largely because Mugabe supported them through Apartheid. But the policies of the ANC so far in South Africa have been very different: highly bourgeois and also with a lot of cronyism.