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Whose futures matter? The contested un/making of Tanzanian rural futures

Authors: Rene Vesper*,
Topics: Political Geography, Africa, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Political Ecology, Gramsci, future-making, Tanzania, rural, social-ecological transformation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

After decades of the states' support for the agricultural sector that welcomed foreign direct investments (FDI), currently only a few per cent of the states' budget are allocated for the agricultural budget. In a country in which two thirds of the population (in)directly depend on the agricultural activities this mismatch has brought about new social-ecological dynamics, new discourses and new material realities for many million rural livelihoods. The U-turn in governmentality away from agriculture towards industrialisation and value-addition within Tanzania is based on Rostow's simplistic and linear development model.
The central political question is which path rural Tanzania will ultimately take, by whom, in the name of whom and in whose interest. Besides the evermore authoritarian Tanzanian state, also powerful (inter)national companies have interest into rural transformation that reflects their needs, e.g. one that allows for the extraction of agricultural goods and surplus value from already established value chains. While on the one hand ideas of inclusive green growth and sustainable intensification have been suggest by (inter)national actors, on the other hand futures with agro-ecology and food sovereignty have been supported by parts of the Tanzanian civil society. By doing multi-scalar Gramscian Political Ecology in 2019 in Paris, Dodoma, Daressalam, Morogoro and rural parts of the Kilombero Valley I asked whose visions on possible rural Tanzanian futures count and to what extent certain ideas of green development can be regarded as (counter)hegemonic projects with implicit socio-technical imaginations about how possible green futures of rural Tanzania should (not) unfold.

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