Agricultural Policy and Illegal Cash Crop Production in Kelsey Kahn, Robin Zeller & Ian Christie Environmental Studies 220 Jessica Kleiss December 2012 National flag of Swaziland Research Question Methodology How have changes in agricultural policy given rise to the production of illegal cash crops in Swaziland over the last 50 years? We chose to divide our analysis into three major groups to address our question: economic, historical, ecologic, and local perspectives. We plan to examine the evolution of the role of legal and illegal cash crops in the post-imperialist Swazi economy. We will next use statistical analysis to compare mean exports of cash crops from Swaziland and examine numerical shifts from subsistence agriculture to cash crop exports. Finally we will perform interviews in various Swazi chiefdoms and households to obtain data about local land degradation and its effects on individual agricultural output. Background From the end of its colonization by the British, Swaziland has relied on cash crops such as pineapple, sugar cane and cotton to support its agrarian based economy. 1 For many years Swaziland benefited from access to the British market under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. However, this relationship is now potentially ending which could jeopardize the future of rural Swazi farmers. 3 The policy conceived in Swaziland in recent years to promote cash crop farming has threatened the food security of rural farming communities, increased land degradation and has forced some farmers to illegally produce cannabis to sell to South African markets. 2 A Swazi cannabis farmer on her plot Concept Map Timeline • Do initial national and international policy research • Set up living situations and find translator • Compile interview questions Preparation • Fly to Swaziland • Familiarize with people, culture and language • Visit national archives, national library, legislatures Week 1 Distribution of Land Swaziland Because some areas of Swaziland are more affected by land degradation than others, land distribution is a large concern. A majority of the land available for agriculture is owned by the king of Swaziland under the title of Swazi Nation Land which is given out to Swazi farmers by regional chieftains. Since the arability of Swaziland is variable, some farmers fair better than others. Swazi farmers who are given land with poor arability sometimes turn to growing cannabis, a cash crop that can produce high yields despite the limitations of the soil. 2 • Begin formal interviews with government officials • Visit chiefdoms and homesteads, meet locals and begin interviews with cash crop farmers • GIS survey of land degradation, economic stratification, and crop choice Week 2-3 • Gain more interviewees (snowball method), if needed • GIS survey of renting of land by Swazi government • Continue policy analysis and legislature interviews Weeks 4-5 Land Degradation • Compile interviews and extract spatial data • Analyze policy and legislature interviews • Compare means of cash crop exports • Plot spatial data of degradation and economic stratification • Complete initial report and fly home to finalize Weeks 6-7 The cause of the land degradation that is plaguing crop production is widely debated. While many scientist believe that degradation is a climatic issue, it is also understood to be exacerbated by human actions like agricultural intensification. Due to the fact that the Swazi government is incapable of dealing with degradation alone, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are making the biggest efforts to reduce its effects. These various actors (climatic and anthropogenic) have factored into the actions that NGOs like the United Nations Coalition to Combat Desertification have taken to reduce the effects of degradation in Swaziland and other affected dryland countries. 4 1 Resources Magagula, Glenn Themba. Faki, Hamid H. M. ; United States. 1999. Comparative Economic Advantage of Alternative Agricultural Production Options in Swaziland. Mitchell Group. http://www.afr-sd.org/publications/103swazi.pdf. Stringer, Lindsay C, David S G Thomas, and ChascaTwyman. 2007 C. “From Global Politics to Local Land Users: Applying the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Swaziland.” Geographical Journal 173 (2): 129–142. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2007.00226.x. 3 2 Nsereko, Daniel D. Ntanda. 1997. “When Crime Crosses Borders: A Southern African Perspective.” Journal of African Law 41 (2) (January 1): 192–200. doi:10.2307/745427. 4 TERRY, ALAN, and MATTHEW RYDER. 2005. “Coping with Change: The Transition from Subsistence Orientated Rain-fed Agriculture to Commercial Irrigated Agriculture.” Geography 90 (2) (July 1): 138–150. doi:10.2307/40574061.