Between populist rhetoric of market-oriented agricultural development and rural resistance in Mozambique

17 March 2018

The ProSAVANA programme is one of the public policies that clearly exposes the tendency of governmental politics towards market-oriented agricultural development in Mozambique. Nevertheless, it configures itself as one of, if not the most contested agrarian public policy in the country since independence in 1975. Mozambique saw several changes of regimes, from colonial through a socialist driven government to eventually adopting a market-oriented approach roughly after only a decade of socialism. Its state agricultural policies and vision have always been inimical to the peasantry, although the rhetoric was generally portrayed as in favor of the poorest rural populations. ProSAVANA emerges from the same discourses and is embedded in an authoritarian populist regime operated by FRELIMO, which as argued in this paper, was built and consolidated since independence. The paper attempts a deep analysis of how a resistance movement that was built through the agency of rural constituencies in alliance with a broader civil society sector, have been confronting Mozambique’s populist and authoritarian rural politics through the lens of the ProSAVANA programme.

This paper was presented at the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) 2018 Conference: "Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World"