224 pages, no illustrations
Discusses the contradictions of liberalisation and the complexity of farmers' responses to the changing roles of states and markets.
'This book provides an engrossing read. Clearly written, well structured and empirically strong, the author provides a careful review of the impact of structural adjustment and economic liberalization policies on rural smallholder farming villages. His two Tanzanian case study districts offer interesting contrasts as regards transport/market accessibility and crop mixes, demonstrating some of the variation, as well as many of the striking commonalities that have surfaced in rural Africa in the wake of the international financial institutions' (IFI) continental-wide implementation of SAP. It is very clear from the outset of the book that the author aspires to more than a detailed case study. He has used the Tanzanian case studies to illustrate a general argument about continental policy reform and marketing structures.' - Deborah Fahy Bryceson, African Studies Centre, Leiden 'This well-researched and cogently argues book is important both for its empirical contents and its methodical approach. 'This is one of the rare analyses that really helps one to get to grips with what may have happened on the ground. It is also a living testimony for why we need to continue to try to laboriously build up multidisciplinary development and area studies despite the bouts of frustration we are bound to experience with them.' - Juhani Koponen in Africa 74 'This is a timely publication at a time of prolific research on agricultural liberalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, precisely when a "post-adjustment" policy agenda is called for. 'A significant contribution of this book is the author's convincing questioning of a common assumption in much of the literature on the politics of economic adjustment in Africa, namely that opportunities and interests are common across a country and across sectors and sub-sectors of an economy. He does this by showing how varied political responses to announced reforms shape the way these new policy measures are implemented at the local level and underpin the unintended outcomes of adjustment processes for different local institutional actors. In other words, the politics of "partial implementation" of agricultural reforms has much to do with the way different regions, districts, sectors and agents are affected and rect. Ponte rightly approaches policy change "in terms of political activity, rather than in terms of rational decision-making or of organisational processes (p. 6)." Very informative, insightful and devoid of theoretical dogmatism or pedantry. It can be recommended to a wide audience interested in agrarian change and household livelihoods in Africa. Ponte's insights are thought provoking and he presents good examples and workable hypotheses for similar empirical studies on agricultural liberalization and its effects on households and local dynamics. Carlos Oya in The Journal of Agrarian Change 'The subject of this book is important, as it takes on the ideology behind structural adjustment on its own terms. Stefano Ponte aims to show and analyse the actual effects of liberalising agricultural credit, input and produce markets. He makes the sensible point that the data at the macro level are often wanting, especially because of the dispersal of information among many actors after liberalisation. Thus studies at the local level are needed to give more meaning to the incomplete and often extrapolated data at the national level. Ponte's study combines therefore a general approach at the macro level with the research at micro level in Morogoro and Songea districts. ...reading this book can be a stimulating experience ' - Jane Kees Van Donge in Journal of Development Studies
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