launched a revived Congress movement in the 1950s, agrarian issues including discriminatory marketing quickly moved to the fore of African nationalism on the Plateau.
The emergence of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt greatly altered the political economy of the territory. The much enlarged foodstuffs market associated with Copperbelt development stimulated increased agricultural production by both black and white farmers on the Tonga Plateau. The state, no longer an arm of the British South Africa Company but now of the Colonial Office, presided over the competition implicit in this development. Government consolidated a settler enclave along the rail line by formalizing Native Reserves.
That the state also intervened in produce markets was not in itself unusual. Although capitalism indeed penetrated Africa during the colonial period, this is hardly to be confused with the triumph of "free markets." All over the continent, state intervention in agricultural commodity markets was a common feature of colonial rule. Indeed, the key "extra-market operation" introduced in many territories during the crises of the Great Depression and Second World War was precisely the statutory, monopsonistic (sole buyer) marketing board. 110 In Northern Rhodesia this took the form of the Maize Control Board--direct ancestor of Zambia's National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAM- BOARD).
The state not only intervened, of course, but did so decisively in the interests of white farmers. If Maize Control in Southern Rhodesia was "a highly complicated exercise in [white farmer] survival," the goal was no different in Northern Rhodesia, and the exercise was actually far less complicated. 111 Northern Rhodesian settler farmers, like those to the south and in Kenya, utilized the political arena for economic ends. Maize Control, like similar schemes elsewhere, unquestionably penalized the category of producers whose share of the market was expanding. 112 That is, it was defensive legislation. One Colonial Office official correctly observed that the scheme's "essence" was that the market be "rigged so as to keep in production a body of white farmers who if exposed to the full blast of native competition would disappear." 113 As in Kenya, "the most reactionary aspect of the settler strategy stemmed from the fact that they contributed virtually nothing to the development of the exchange economy which existing peasant producers could not provide as well or better." 114 There is great irony in the 1926 Reserves Commission Report's conclusion that the Africans needed reserves because they would eventually be pushed out "simply through ordinary economic forces, through inevitable expansion." The "ordinary economic forces" by the mid-1930s were working entirely in the opposite direction, and it was the settler farmer, not the Tonga peasant, who needed protection from these forces.