Creating order and stability? The Dairy Marketing Board, milk (over)production and the politics of marketing in colonial Zimbabwe, 1952-1970s
CITATION: Hove, G. 2013. Creating order and stability? The Dairy Marketing Board, milk (over)production and the politics of marketing in colonial Zimbabwe, 1952-1970s. Historia, 58(2):119-156.
The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za
This article examines the efforts of the Dairy Marketing Board (DMB) in stabilising the dairy industry in the wake of difficulties that emerged in the production and marketing of dairy products after World War Two. It traces and evaluates the marketing and distribution strategies the DMB used, and their strengths and weaknesses. It illustrates the point that while shortages which had characterised war-time and post-war Southern Rhodesia had been eliminated by the mid 1950s, continued increased production led to over production which in turn created serious challenges for the Board in finding markets for the lucrative liquid milk trade. This article analyses the general national policy of self sufficiency in agricultural production that was espoused during the course of the war and were pursued vigorously after the war. It argues that this policy was not feasible for the dairy sector because it proved cheaper to import cheese and skimmed milk powder than to produce it locally. It is also maintains that while the voluntary takeover and recapitalisation of struggling private concerns on the distribution side was necessary in the 1950s, the employment of legislative instruments to elbow private concerns out of the milk market from the 1960s onwards was not in the best interests of the industry. Instead, these tactics were aimed at placating the DMB financially - a move that was unfair to both private players and consumers.