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Tanzania became independent in conditions quite different from those in Algeria. In particular, it had not had to wage an armed struggle nor to mobilize the poorest strata of the population. Nevertheless, by 1967, important events had led the ruling strata and the state to formulate a development strategy that was rather unusual in the region. In 1967, when the dominant development theory reigned unchallenged over Africa, and before the publication (or wide diffusion on the continent) of works that were subsequently to become dependency theory and autocentred development classics, the Arusha Declaration proclaimed the need for self-reliance and African socialism. The ruling Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) noted the failure of the planning strategies implemented during the early years of independence and declared its determination to ensure that Tanzania controlled its process of accumulation, and became a socialist country simultaneously realizing high economic growth rates and a fairer distribution of access to wealth. Agriculture and the rural areas were chosen for the application of the new policy as well as for their relations with the rest of the economy and society. In what are known as the 'Dar es Salaam debates'.11 there was no debate on control of accumulation in the context of the strategy and specific economic policy of African states. The debate on the economic plan remained at a very general level and concerned the nature of capital and its transformations. Tandon distinguishes three phases, not combined but successive: the first saw a debate between progressives and reactionaries which ended in the elimination of structured reactionary thought in the University: the second saw a debate between advocates of dependency theory and supporters of bourgeois political economy, which ended in the latter's defeat; and the third, a debate within the left, ended in the return of classical Marxist thought, dependency theory advocates being classified among the neo-Marxists. In criticizing these debates, an Indian scholar saw them as taking place purely between intellectuals without concrete practice. My own opinion is that above all the debates missed a good opportunity to draw up a balance sheet of the experience from the viewpoint of the left, not only at the general but also at the sectoral level and, specifically, the level of agriculture.

That the left critique did not bear directly on the Tanzanian development strategy left the field open to international big capital to make its own diagnosis of the crisis and propose solutions to its own advantage. That is the meaning of the critique of the right which, although it had left the University, as Tandon stresses, is still very active in practice: through pressure on the government from institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank; in theory: by making new proposals to maximize growth rates, especially by giving priority to export crops.12

In so far as this domination by the interests of capital both in theory and practice hampers the development of struggles for a more autonomous and popular type of development, the left critique must show the real limits of the endeavours of TANU and its state. This was an invitation to the protagonists in the 'Dar es Salaam debates' to engage in a more detailed but theoretically oriented examination of the balance sheet and prospects of the Tanzanian experience. Noted here, are simply the results of these attempts: a) to reduce the extent to which agriculture simply acts as a provider of foreign exchange; b) to gain control of the segments of the process of accumulation: c) to change production relations in agriculture in the direction of nationalization

Attempts to reduce the role of the export sector: Since in Africa, specialization in the export of raw agricultural produce had been established by the colonialists, with all the disadvantages that involved, it seems relevant to decolonize agriculture by giving priority to those functions, linked to expansion of the domestic market and consumption Tanzania had specialized particularly in sisal and coffee production, accumulation giving pride of place to this largely settler-controlled sector. The sub-sector producing for mass consumption, in both urban and rural areas, comprised first, cereals, accounting for 30% (primarily maize, followed by sorghum and millet consumed mainly in the rural areas) and pulses; second, roots and tubers (mainly consumed in the rural areas). Fresh vegetables, fruit and meat consumed in the towns can be classified as luxury items, although the size of the livestock population in Tanzania makes meat less scarce than in many other African countries.

Once the leaders had decided to reorient agricultural activities towards these latter two sectors, what happened to the evolution of production?

During the first decade of independence, that is, before the decisions arising from the Arusha Declaration had been implemented' the overall product increased regularly, while agriculture GDP and food agriculture GDP stagnated. During the second decade, the product fell by 1.9% per annum on average: per capita agriculture GDP and food agriculture GDP collapsed. On the whole, the crisis in production for the domestic market was less acute than that for export crops. In use value, production of everyday consumer goods increased remarkably.

Among cereals, production fell only for sorghum and millet despite the fact that they are the best adapted to the difficult climatic conditions. The difficulty of increasing supplies is not the cause of the decline in production, but inadequate outlets: urban dwellers do not like them. In my opinion, as I have recommended for Senegal,13 rehabilitation of these relatively easy to produce cereals (compared to others) is vital.

In common with virtually all African countries, there have been high growth-rates in the import-substituting foodstuffs group (fruits and vegetables, sugar, meat, and so on). Conversely, the export sector's production has totally collapsed, with the exception of cotton and tea (see Table 11.3).

Differences in growth rates primarily result from the redirection of means of production. Despite declarations in favour of a highly labour-intensive agriculture, in reality the agricultural labour force has been reallocated over wider areas. Thus, the areas devoted to cereals, roots, tubers and pulses increased by 61% (from 2.75 to 4.46 million hectares) between 1975 and 1980; the area under cereals alone accounted for 1.2 million hectares (43%) and 2.5 million hectares (56%).14 This extension took place with a marked shift in the deployment of labour from the externally oriented, to the domestic consumer goods sector. In 197-76 export crops covered 647.000 hectares, but in 1983 only 602,000 hectares, a 7% reduction in five years. This shift owed more to the peasants' determination to meet their own food needs than to the authorities' determination to reduce the proportion of exports.

Table 11.3
Tanzania: Main export crop production - target and actual -1969-74 and 1976-81 (% growth per annum)

  First five-year plan (1969-74) Second five-year plan (1976-81)
Target Actual Target Actual
Coffee 6 -3.1 7.5 2.5
Cotton 16 -2 14.4 -0.1
Sisal 0.2 -6 17.5 -0.7
Cashewnut 10 7 14.2 -6.9
Tea 9 5.8 12.1 4
Tobacco 25 10 18.8 0.1
Pyrethrum 4 1.6 25.2 -4.4

Source: Ellen Hanack.

In fact, as Table 11.3 shows, if the government's export sector target, set in the two five-year plans had been reached, clearly, the declines we have noted would not have occurred. Industrialization, too, through the creation of agricultural processing industries was a priority targetted in the 1976-81 five-year plan.

The fall in export production was not as a result of a political choice made possible by, for example, oil rent, as in Algeria. In Tanzania, the peasants' choice of producing for the domestic market resulted from their determination to give priority to their own subsistence needs, and the government's difficulties in easily importing cereals. Consequently, between 1974-76 and 1983, yields per hectare increased in the production of mass consumer goods and some vegetables, but export crop yields fell. This fall was accompanied by the reallocation of the most fertile land at the expense of export crops.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that increased yields in food crops were due less to intensive techniques and manpower than to the fact that, as a result of the villagization policy, mechanization was being applied to relatively virgin lands. The collectivization policy of the years 1969-73 and the villagization policy moved toward mechanization, at least for land clearing and ploughing. First, because mechanization was intended as an incentive for people to join the ujamaa collective farms; and secondly, because villagization would have led to the adoption of intensive techniques only if resettlement had been carried out on irrigated lands, and this was not possible on a significant scale.

Therefore despite the decline in the quantity of imports (partly because of the balance of payments crisis) the number of tractors increased by more than 1,000 between 1970 and 1980, keeping Tanzanian agriculture among the most highly mechanized on the continent. In 1980, there were 18,600 mechanized units in Tanzania, almost as many as in Zimbabwe (20,000 units) and nearly four times those in the Ivory Coast (3.001) units), Malawi (1.200 units) and Cameroun (572 units) combined.

As a result of the very large quantity of arable land available per inhabitant in Tanzania, the adoption of low-intensive land-use techniques can, in the long run, be beneficial. For an African government to increase agricultural production within a reasonable time-span, without involvement with transnationals that dominate the fertilizer and high yield seed markets, it cannot avoid temporarily adopting such land-use techniques.

The fall in agricultural and food production during the second decade of independence meant of course that food dependence increased. In 1970, Tanzania was largely self-sufficient in food and food imports represented only 9.5% of exports by value of agricultural produce. The situation deteriorated seriously between 1975 and 1980, and by 1980 the ratio had fallen to 37%, with more and more imports of cereals. At the same time, the capacity to finance these imports fell sharply: in 1982, the grant element in the quantity of imported cereals was 70% as against 34% in 1974-75.

Attempt to control segments of accumulation: If the growth of products and yields was not very strong, it can be argued that this was not the most important objective. According to Y. Rweyemamu, the Arusha Declaration and Mwongozo saw development not simply as a process of accumulation, that is as increasing the Tanzanian economy's capacity to produce, but as a process of realizing an overall project with self-reliance and socialism as its twin pillars.15 What happened to self-reliance? In a young agriculture self-reliance can be applied either at the level of self-sufficiency in what is produced or at the level of self-sufficiency in the conditions of production. Thus, export receipts were diminishing, dependence on food imports was continuing: this was associated with a dependence in the process of accumulation. To understand this, it must be recalled that the model of industrialization envisaged in the Arusha Declaration is very close to the Algerian model.

The launching of the Second Five-year Plan 1976-81 was preceded by major debates within TANU, in which supporters of a strategy guided by the concept of 'industrializing industries'16 (as in Algeria at the time) were pitted against advocates of a strategy based on processing raw materials (an alternative never seriously contemplated in Algeria). Analysis of the available statistics indicates that the advocates constructing 'industrializing industries" won out, without the policy of processing for export being abandoned or even considered as non-priority.

The fact that between 1967 and 1979 the proportion of fixed capital (other than transport equipment) in imports rose from 23.7% to 46%, while the proportion of final consumption fell from 35.6% to 13,8%,17 not only shows the development of the first stage of an import-substitution industry but also reflects the desire to build up basic industry.

Yet in no sense was this an industry in the service of agriculture: the most one can note is a small chemical fertilizer industry. Both consumption and production of chemical fertilizers remain very limited, which explains why the rate of cover of consumption by national production (40-50%) may appear comparable to Algeria's, while the absolute figures are very different. This industry's crisis is particularly serious: 3.000 metric tons in 1982-83 as against 65,000 metric tons in 1981-82.18

Generally speaking, the foreign exchange cost of agricultural inputs rose from five million in 1970 to 32.5 million in 1981. The country's energy bill, even taking re-exports into account, remains very high, accounting for 21% of imports in 1981; due to mechanization agriculture was a significant imported-oil consumer. But moving from inputs to equipment, it can be noted that no policy of an optimal combination of mechanization and full employment of the labour force existed. The reduction in the rate of mechanization after the 1973 collectivization policy was abandoned did not lead to a reduction in the value of imported tractors, which rose from $4.7 million in 1970 to $17 million in 1981, thus increasing by a factor of 3.6 in eleven years whereas it was 2.5 in Malawi and four in Cameroun that initially, had been far less mechanized.19 In short, it cannot be said that even a beginning had been made in gaining control of the technological conditions of accumulation.

The Arusha Declaration laid great stress on the need to gain control of the financing of accumulation by emphasizing the dangers of dependence in these terms: 'Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts and loans from another for its development... It is true that loans are better than "free gifts".'

But Tanzania is one of the Third World countries most dependent on external financial flows and technical assistance on favourable terms. UNCTAD points out that 'over the last decade. 40% of Tanzania's public expenditures have been covered by external resources'.20 In 1982, it received 10% of all aid for the 36 'least developed countries' (LDCs). In the same year, external aid represented 75% of imports as against 43% for LDCs as a whole. Even on a per capita basis. Tanzania came first that year with US$ 44 as against 36 for Mali and 24 for Malawi.21

External debt service figures for 1970 compared to those for 1982, looked modest with a not too rapid increase compared to that of underdeveloped countries as a whole and even less than that of the LDCs (Table 11.4).

Unlike debt servicing, compared to 1970, the balance of payments had considerably deteriorated. The main reason for this was the particularly favourable terms of the financial flows into Tanzania. This 'generosity' in aid had three harmful consequences: 1) it allowed Tanzania to pursue an investment policy not necessarily in accordance with the imperative of full employment: 2) it enabled the avoidance of proper integration of debt service into planning: and 3) with this external aid diminishing, the country had to accept its creditors' conditions, which demanded that the socialist features in the agricultural policy must be abandoned.

Table 11.4
Tanzania: Current account balance and external public debt service in comparative perspective: 1970 and 1982

  Current account balance (US$ millions)

Debt service


% Export receipts







Tanzania -36 -268 1.2 1.1 4.9 5.1
LDCs' average less China & India     1.5 1.6 5.7 9.9
Middle income oil importing countries' average     1.5 3.8 9.2 15.9

Source: World Bank, World Development Report 1984.

Attempts to nationalize agriculture: The socialist doctrine of TANU, is one aimed at exploitation- against private capital and for state capitalism. This doctrine does not imply peasants' end workers' political control of the state apparatus. During an interview some months after the adoption of the Arusha Declaration. Julius Nyerere said: 'for us nationalization means socialism.'23 Socialism would thus exist with the surplus contributed directly to the state, or foreign private capital in the form of transnational corporations, and sees itself as incompatible only with the formation of a stratum of nationals living off the surplus in the form of rent (from land or other property) or profit. The concept of rentier employed to bar nationals from business is indeed very close to the narrow meaning given it by Joan Robinson: that shareholders who are not managers of companies are in fact rentiers, just like the holders of bonds and the owners of immovable property. It is thus natural to say that 'e genuine TANU leader must not live off the sweat of another man, nor commit any feudalistic or capitalistic actions'.23

According to Nyerere's doctrine, it is not necessary to be a rentier or a capitalist to exploit other men or women; some inequalities may be the same as exploitation.

There are two possible ways of dividing the people in our country. We can put the capitalists and feudalists on one side, and the farmers and workers on the other. But we can also divide the people into urban dwellers on one side and [rural dwellers] on the other. If we are not careful we might get to the position where the real exploitation in Tanzania is that of the town dwellers exploiting the peasants.24

The principal means of eliminating the three possible forms of exploitation (capitalist, feudal, and exploitation of the countryside by the towns) is the formation of a dominant state sector, with nationalization being synonymous with socialization. To what extent principles been was this effected, and what have been the results in agriculture?

In 1958, three years before independence, on the subject of private ownership of land Nyerere wrote: 'if we allow land to be sold like a robe, within a short period there would only be a few Africans possessing land in Tanganyika and all the others would be tenants.'25 At that time, the most fertile African lands had been appropriated by foreigners. In 1959, European and Asian settlers, who formed barely 1.3% of the total population, owned 1,270,000 hectares and the Africans 1,800,000. And, 'since the most fertile lands went to the Europeans, the Africans were driven back to the areas least suited to crops',26 as in the settler colonies.

At the same time, African agrarian capitalism was developing in regions where commercial crops were widely grown. In the Imani region, for example, where this movement began in the early 1950s, Awiti has demonstrated the existence of three quite distinct social classes: capitalists' petty capitalists and poor peasants. He showed how, in this region, where maize is the principal cash crop' the big kulaks (9% of the 349 households counted) took 53% of the 7,230 cultivated acres, all the 24 working tractors in 1970, employed 99% of the 1,175 paid labourers and took 76% of the monetary income estimated at 2,740,000 Tanzanian shillings.27 According to Awiti this capitalist class also had ideological power and was 'opposed to socialism for both material and ideological reasons'.

Private capitalists (Arabs and Indians) who controlled the marketing networks for agricultural products as well as big international capital did not favour the abolition of exploitation. Forces in favour of state capitalism (African socialism, according to TANU) had' however, successfully procured the adoption of the 14 February 1962 law abolishing private ownership of land: in short, ground rent and land dealings were prohibited. But the great period of Tanzanian socialism was from 1967 to 1973, marked by the formation of ujamaa villages, with a strong trend towards voluntary collectivization. The state promoted collective farms by indirect means: priority in securing credit, state assistance, provision of technical services, tractors on credit, and so on.27 Prior to the Arusha Declaration, the first priority was to state farms, followed by private capitalism. Moreover, before the implementation of the Arusha Declaration's principles, the World Bank played a leading role in the country's development strategy by drawing up basic development texts.

The ujamaa village is one in which the community spirit prevails and villagers participate in economic and political decision-making. Collectivization of the means of production was voluntary, obviously therefore it was the poor peasants who were most interested in its extension and expanded reproduction. This presupposed that the class struggle would be intensified and lead to a great social upheaval, and also that the means of production would be mainly of national origin. Finally' it presupposed that the law of value did not operate in all relations with other sectors of the economy, notably in marketing and supplies. In short, the success of the experiment presupposed delinking and a decisive intervention in political life by the poor in the framework of an autocentred development strategy. But, the leaders did not choose this alternative option. Perhaps conditions were not ripe for it. Whatever the case, the question that arose was, what agrarian system should follow that of the ujamaa villages system? A return to the pre-Arusha model? Or further nationalization?

The official objective of villagization was, as has already been noted, to regroup an excessively scattered population in order to reduce the costs of providing basic communication services, drinking water, education and health services. The idea of collectivizing production in the framework of these villages was rejected. Stress was put on the need to increase production through agricultural policies typical of developed capitalism, prices and exchange rate policies. In short, in future there would be no further basic questioning of the principle of capitalist agricultural production: advocates of ujamaa socialism were thus beaten on this front too.

What about the problem of the capitalist middlemen with whom the state had no desire to share the agricultural surplus? The state could have won its gamble only if production had increased considerably, and this did not happen. In a situation of shortage, the parallel market developed - particularly in the marketing of food crops -and became if not legal at least legitimate. As Table 11.5 shows, the proportion of food crops delivered to the official marketing channels continued to fall as people turned to private channels.

Table 11.5
Tanzania: Food product deliveries to official marketing channels
('000 metric tons)

  1978-79 1979-80 1980-81
Maize 223 160 105
Rice 52 30 5
Wheat 28 26 26
Millet 40 17  
Sorghum 58 21  

Source. H. Mapulo. Imperialism the State and the Peasantry in Tanzania UNITAR. Dakar 1984.

In the last analysis, if the development of private capitalism is synonymous with the development of exploitation, it can be said that according to TANU's own criteria, the policy of reducing exploitation has failed, However, it must be noted that there is no unanimous agreement on the notion of a proletariat. Mapulo's opinion that the trend is towards turning peasants into de facto wage-labourers in the development villages, must be further qualified. Is this a de facto state wage-labour force or private capital (both local capital and transnationals) labour-force? More fundamentally, as Tanzania remains in the capitalist system, is it right to allow kulakization to develop? In my opinion, even when delinking is achieved, a limited and controlled kulakization must not be condemned on a priori grounds, as it is not necessarily opposed to a well-managed process of socialization.

Failing the development of socialist relations of production, is there at least a tendency towards socialism in distribution? Since' overall, labour productivity has not risen and yields have only marginally increased, the objective of raising the monetary incomes of the peasantry has not been attained' indeed quite the reverse. The fact is that trade terms were very unfavourable to small producers during the 1970s (23% between 1969-70 and 1978-79).

This regression of rural incomes was not necessarily accompanied by any relative deterioration in living conditions in the countryside. Thus compared to some African countries with comparable income levels. Tanzania led in achievements such as literacy, primary school enrolment, access to drinking water, calorie consumption per diem, relatively low infant mortality rates.28

The villagization policy obviously played a stabilizing role by reducing the costs of delivering certain services. Mapulo29 considers this to be the most ambitious programme ever carried out in Africa. It has no equivalent in Africa and few countries in the world have succeeded in carrying out such an operation so rapidly. If, however, it may be considered that the villagization policy reduced the relative gap between the rural areas and Dar es Salaam achievements remain fragile, with the decline in external aid, combined with the stagnation or even regression of economic activity as serious threats. Privatization might well accelerate the process of deterioration.

To conclude, in both Tanzania and Algeria even if the effort accomplished on the social level is very significant and must be preserved' the achievement of self-reliance and socialism has barely begun.

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