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Broms, Gustav, 2020. Materialisation of emergent farmers in a Malawian context : a privileged class’ positioning in agricultural transformation. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

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Emergent farmers have rapidly increased in numbers on the sub-Saharan African continent during the last couple of decades. The main interest in this study lies in how emergent farmers have materialised as a class in a political economic context and historical process and what societal impact they have had. Emergent farmers as a class are understood as capable of reproducing their means of subsistence and creating surplus value without having to own their means of production. Mkanda Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Malawi has served as the empirical area for this matter.

During the fieldwork, 31 persons were interviewed. The interviews gave insights into farmers’ living conditions. An explorative survey was also conducted with 31 informants, of which 13 persons also participated in the interviews. The explorative survey provided an overview of farm characteristics in the area. In addition, two focus group discussions were held to gain perspective on shared experiences among farmer groups regarding the positioning of emergent farmers, how they and other types of farmers can be classified and how the relationship between farmers appear. The field work was combined with a desk study to investigate political, socioeconomic and environmental conditions through which emergent farmers have materialised.

Emergent farmers in Mkanda EPA have materialised through inheritance and acquisition of property such as land; other natural resources; material assets and technology. They have grown through extension service and credit regimes; sales of cash crops and livestock; agribusinesses; incomes from employment and off-farm activities. They have advanced through family and class support; labour power control; strategic utilisation of volatile agricultural markets and income diversification. They have progressed through agricultural institutions, political favouritism and resource exchange with state representatives; traditional authorities; traders; investors; large-scale buyers and other farmer groups.

Emergent farmers have contributed to and been shaped by the development of the capitalist mode of production during Malawi’s postcolonial history. The farmer class has enabled increased capital investments and accumulation and contributed to new businesses; production methods; market directions and means of livelihood in rural areas. They have provided links between local production conditions; extraction of raw material; capital exchange; means of profit and growth opportunities.

At the same time, emergent farmers have constituted a minority that has served certain class interests. While emergent farmers have influenced the socioeconomic and ecological dynamics in rural places such as Mkanda EPA, the class has maintained structures that have reproduced inequality among the population.

Main title:Materialisation of emergent farmers in a Malawian context
Subtitle:a privileged class’ positioning in agricultural transformation
Authors:Broms, Gustav
Supervisor:Chiwona Karltun, Linley and Mikwamba, Kingsley
Examiner:Bergman Lodin, Johanna and Beckman, Malin
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY007 Agriculture Programme - Rural Development 270 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:capital accumulation, surplus value, food regime, patronage, differentiation, livelihood, diversification, food security
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Rural sociology and social security
Rural population
Agrarian structure
Deposited On:10 Jul 2020 06:30
Metadata Last Modified:26 Oct 2020 07:40

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