My research tries to understand how farmers relate to the notion of 'food security' in rural Tanzania, and how the relationship between them and the Tanzanian state shapes this understanding.
During my fieldwork, a de-linkage between farmers in rural areas and the government emerged, and this directly affects how rural people perceive food and the role of the government in agriculture. Despite being farmers, their food production is not enough to cover the family's needs. However, they rarely address this issue as being a political one at the national level. In my research I aim to discover why is this so and how the political history of Tanzania has contributed to create this distance between the government and farmers and among farmers themselves, who seem reticent to cooperate with each other.
My main interests are rural development, agricultural policy and food security politics.
I hold a MA in Development Studies from the University of Manchester and an undergraduate degree in Languages (English, French and Spanish, with basic knowledge of Arabic) from the University of Sassari, Italy.
My interest in East Africa, and Tanzania in particular, is the result of a long period spent in a rural village in Tanzania teaching English in a Secondary School and working as a Project Director for a USA NGO (Newton Tanzania Collaborative). Following the supervision of a development project in Tanzania sponsored by the LIONS Club of Macomer (Italy) I got awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship.
At the moment I am supervising a yearly project sponsored by the Rotary Club Sedilo Marghine Centro Sardegna (Italy) with the collaboration of the Rotary Club Oysterbay, Dar es Salaam. The project consists of an agricultural course in the secondary school of the village of Kwala (Kibaha district, Tanzania) led by two expert teachers, where a group of volunteer students are learning how to farm in a sustainable yet efficient way by studying the characteristics of the soil and applying modern techniques, such as plant spacing.
I recently participated and won a photo competition organized by the University of Warwick Food GRP Group. The prize received has been used to organise an essay competition in the Secondary School of the village of Kwala about the importance of agriculture. You can see a report of the project 'A drop towards Food Security' here.
You can also follow me on Twitter.
'The importance of agriculture in Tanzania in the past and today' - Essay competition run in the Secondary School of Kwala, Tanzania, 2014.
'A drop towards food security' - To improve and extend Kwala Secondary School vegetables' garden, Tanzania, 2014.
Food (In)Security Conference - International and Transdisciplinary Perspectives, British International Studies Association postgraduate network (BISA PGN) and The GEM PhD School, at The University of Warwick, 16/10/2013;
Food Security Research - Critical Perspectives and Marginalized Issues, Oxford Food Security Forum, The University of Oxford and Oxford Martin School, 04/05/2014;
African Studies Association of the UK biennial Conference 2014, at The University of Sussex, 9-11/09/2014.
Marika N. Mura