IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hes/wpaper/0111.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Resource endowments and agricultural commercialization in colonial Africa: Did labour seasonality and food security drive Uganda’s cotton revolution?

Author

Listed:
  • Michiel de Haas

    () (Wageningen University, University of Michigan)

  • Kostadis J. Papaioannou

    () (London School of Economics & Political Science)

Abstract

Why did some African smallholders adopt cash crops on a considerable scale, while most others were hesitant to do so? This study sets out to explore the importance of factor endowments in shaping the degrees to which cash crops were adopted in colonial tropical Africa. We conduct an in-depth case study of the ‘cotton revolution’ in colonial Uganda to put the factor endowments perspective to the test. Our empirical findings, based on an annual panel data analysis at the district-level from 1925 till 1960, underscore the importance of Uganda’s equatorial bimodal rainfall distribution as an enabling factor for Uganda’s ‘cotton revolution’. We also provide evidence at a unique spatial micro-level, by capitalizing on detailed household surveys from the same period. We demonstrate that previous explanations associating variegated responses of African farmers to cash crops either to the role of colonial coercion, or to a distinction between ‘forest/banana’ and ‘savannah/grain’ zones cannot explain the widespread adoption of cotton in Uganda. We argue, instead, that the key to the cotton revolution were Uganda’s two rainy seasons, which enabled farmers to grow cotton while simultaneously pursuing food security. Our study highlights the importance of food security and labour seasonality as important determinants of agricultural commercialization in colonial tropical Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Michiel de Haas & Kostadis J. Papaioannou, 2017. "Resource endowments and agricultural commercialization in colonial Africa: Did labour seasonality and food security drive Uganda’s cotton revolution?," Working Papers 0111, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0111
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_111.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gareth Austin, 2014. "Vent for surplus or productivity breakthrough? The Ghanaian cocoa take-off, c. 1890–1936," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 1035-1064, November.
    2. Marcel Fafchamps, 1992. "Cash Crop Production, Food Price Volatility, and Rural Market Integration in the Third World," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 74(1), pages 90-99.
    3. Frankema, Ewout & Papaioannou, Kostadis, 2017. "Rainfall Patterns and Human Settlement in Tropical Africa and Asia Compared. Did African Farmers Face Greater Insecurity?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11795, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Maxwell, Simon & Fernando, Adrian, 1989. "Cash crops in developing countries: The issues, the facts, the policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(11), pages 1677-1708, November.
    5. Papaioannou, Kostadis J. & de Haas, Michiel, 2017. "Weather Shocks and Agricultural Commercialization in Colonial Tropical Africa: Did Cash Crops Alleviate Social Distress?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 346-365.
    6. repec:oup:ereveh:v:21:y:2017:i:1:p:1-28. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Papaioannou, Kostados J., 2014. "Climate Shocks And Conflict: Evidence From Colonial Nigeria," African Economic History Working Paper 17/2014, African Economic History Network.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Kostadis J. Papaioannou, 2018. "The Horns of a Dilemma in Colonial Policies:Rice, Rubber and Living Standards in the Malay Peninsula," Working Papers 0122, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural Commercialization; Resource Endowments; African Economic History; Rainfall distribution; Cotton;

    JEL classification:

    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0111. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paul Sharp). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ehessea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.