This paper reviews the latest mechanisation programme by the Mozambican government, asking how it is politically driven and how it shapes and is shaped by agrarian structures.
Old ideas about agrarian dualism are reproduced today, albeit with a new language of public-private partnerships that are seen as potentially driving the modernisation of the peasantry. State-sponsored and privately-run service centres, featuring zinc roofed warehouses, are the government’s preferred route to modernisation, yet failing to reach the average farmer and understanding the motives and predicaments of private managers. Emerging small to medium farmers, who keep tractors under shady mango trees in their backyards, are also offering mechanisation services to their peers, which are instrumental to stepping up their production and commercial activities. The state’s push for mechanisation feeds uneven patterns of accumulation and social differentiation.