Agriculture during Italian colonial period

Discussion in 'History' started by MarehanBanker, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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    [Grammar might be off due to Google translate, original source was Italian. Ignore the colonial undertones]


    Italian Somalia is a climatically arid region, bathed by rains not sufficient for large-scale agricultural development, but it also has two copious rivers of water that descend from the Ethiopian plateau, the Uebi Scebeli and the Juba . It was therefore linked to the development of these rivers the study and then the agricultural exploitation in the period of our colonial presence. Of the two, the Juba is the most conspicuous as to the mass of water, but its valorization was hampered by the fact that until 1926 the right bank was part of the British colony of Chenia and our sovereignty began in that year following the agreements Italo-British aimed at applying the colonial territorial compensation provided in our favor following the common victory in the First World War. However, on this left bank, already under our sovereignty, the first Italian agricultural concessions were established, first of all that of Mr. Carpanetti already in 1905, but also that of Col. Frankestein (of Polish origin, but very Italian) and that of the company "Giuba d'Italia"and others. On the right bank there were some British dealers whose interests were safeguarded by the above-mentioned Italian-British agreements. Overall, the Juba dealers were a dozen and gathered in the Juba Agricultural Consortium, supported and valued by the Alessandra governmental farm .

    However, along the banks of the UEB Scebeli a far greater valorisation program developed. This river had the positive peculiarity of being very close to the cities of Mogadishu , which was the capital of the Colonia and Merca, which was the second city and, therefore, favored by the presence of outlet markets for products and landings able to favor the 'export. The pioneers of this civilizing enterprise were Romolo Onor (San Donà di Piave 1880 - Genale 1918) and Cesare Scasellati Scozzolini(Gubbio 1889 - Mogadishu 1929). The first realized in 1912 the experimental farm of the Government of Somalia which in the following years became the fulcrum of the great Genale agricultural consortium. The second was the main engineer who carried out the great colonization project designed by that great Italian, great explorer and great pioneer who was Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi . Both these gigantic achievements deserve a monograph that illustrates the design details, construction and agricultural characteristics, but here I just want to give an account so that, at least in a general way, you can fix in memory that great effort that honors those who made it and l 'Italy.

    If the river Uebi Scebeli ( river of leopards, the name in the Somali language) had the advantage of being close to the coastal cities, but presented a not inconsiderable disadvantage due to the intermittence of its flow that alternates a double full season (February-March and July-September) to a just as double lean season during which the river comes to interrupt the continuity of its course. Agricultural exploitation, linked to the use of river water, was thus dependent on the storage of water during the flood period. With the end of the world war and the political and economic stabilization of Italy, the program of valorization of our colonies and, in this case, the colony of Italian Somalia also began. The importance and the cost of the necessary hydraulic works was such as to transcend the financial possibilities of individual dealers. There was a need for substantial capital and a firm determination to make long-term investments. On impulse of theDuca degli Abruzzi , the SAIS "Italo-Somali Agricultural Company" was established in 1920, which reached the paid-up capital of 35 million Lire in 1924 and obtained a large concession of 25,000 hectares. In the same years the Agricultural Genal Consortium was organizedand hydraulic river barrier works were carried out. Two large dams provided for the storage of the flood waters and to divert them through hundreds of kilometers of irrigation canals to the smallest units organized in the region. Thus, in a few years, two vast arid territories were transformed into two large, green productive economic realities, crossed by hundreds of kilometers of roads, narrow-gauge railways, telegraph and telephone lines. For the Somali farmhouse population, dozens of villages were built, while the production and processing centers of the products were made from scratch and were baptized by Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi (usually abbreviated Villabruzzi ) that of the SAIS andVittorio d'Africa , that of the Genale Consortium. In these two centers the population of Italian technicians and administrators was concentrated, as well as the processing plants: cotton ginning and pressing plants, oil mills for pressing the various oil seeds produced (cotton, peanuts, castor, sesame, etc.), saponifici, mechanical factories for the assistance and repair of agricultural machinery, power plants)

    The productions initially concerned mainly cotton, while the other productions were considered subsidiaries. The cotton Sakellaridis, ie the Egyptian variety, perhaps the most valuable in the world, was a product for which the Italian industry was totally dependent on foreign countries and, therefore, aimed to reduce this dependence, without considering that it had a price in the 20s highly remunerative. With the great crisis, however, the price of cotton, like those of many other raw materials, depreciated to the point of losing, at the beginning of the 30s, 50% of its value. Thus a productive conversion was imposed that could save the economic efficiency of the colonizing enterprises, awaiting the resumption of quotations. This challenge was also dealt with and resolved brilliantly. The SAIS, for its part, intensified the production of sugar cane for the transformation of which had built a large sugar factory, the first of East Africa, focusing on this product that had growing consumption within the newly formed AOI and also in Italy; while the Genale Consortium focused on the cultivation of the banana, whose consumption was in very strong rise in Italy and that until 1929 represented a marginal cultivation. The Italian government granted this product maximum protection by reserving the Somali production the monopoly of the importation in Italy. The RAMB Regia Azienda Monopolio Banane was established with the task of importing and distributing the product in the internal market. A large factory for packing and exporting was built in Vittorio d'Africa, while for the transport of the product the construction of 7 banana ships equipped with refrigeration systems was carried out and which shuttled between Merca, which became the "port of the bananas " and the Italian maritime cities.
    With the end of the great world economic depression, in the years 1938-1939, even cotton and other agricultural products returned to more lucrative prices and everything had foreseen a future of expansion and success for the agricultural colonization in Italian Somalia, when the war unfortunately, he interrupted this great project forever, of which today, due to human folly, only the ruins remain and there is the risk of losing its memory.
     
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  2. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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    In Italian Somalia; dams, canals and railways for the experimental agriculture of Genale

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    In the Italian Somalia of the 1920s dams, canals and a railway were built to encourage experimental agriculture in the new Genale agricultural area, south of Mogadishu , creating a real new city.

    The following text is extracted from the book "Journey into Italian Somalia - The visit of Prince Umberto of Savoy in the photographs found by Carlo Pedrini" by Alberto Alpozzi, Eclettica Edizioni.

    Genale was the seat of the Governmental Experimental Agricultural Company , it was the center of a vast area of concessions that extended over 30,000 hectares for the cultivation of cotton, made possible by the great barrier weir of the EUe Scebeli and the numerous canalizations. In addition to cotton, they were grown here: sugar cane, sesame, castor, maize, palm, capok and especially bananas.

    The General Fettarappa Sandri wrote about in "The Italian with hard work have created a large oasis, struggling against the adverse elements of nature, overcoming difficulties that at times seemed insurmountable, overcoming terrible disappointment" .

    The first experimental company was created in 1912 by Romolo Onor , during the De Martino Governorate, leading the first technical and economic studies on agriculture in Somalia.

    In the new agricultural center was built a small decauville railway , with a narrow gauge of 600 mm, 12 kilometers to connect Genale with the city of Merca on the sea.

    At the death of its founder in 1918, which took place in Genale, the company fell into disgrace and it was the Governor Cesare Maria de Vecchi di Val Cismon who sensed its importance and raised it, making it a great center of colonization, with principles different from the Village Duca degli Abruzzi : it was in fact the first experiment of colonization supported by the State , assigning the land to Italian settlers who later formed the Consortium of Colonization of Genale .

    The Agricultural and Colonization Office was created first to order and regulate the concessions, to treat and distribute irrigation water, to monitor the agricultural diffusion centers, to conserve and develop the forest and livestock heritage; a meteorological and hydrometric service was also set up.

    The Governor de Vecchi did study a new irrigation system in derivation of the Uebi Scebeli to homogeneously distribute the water throughout the district, making a new dam design to replace the old one now dilapidated.

    The large dam, designed by Engineer Gaetano De Angelis , began in October 1924 and ended October 27, 1926. With the new 90-meter-long dam, with the main canal of 7 kilometers and the five secondary ones, a 55 km network of new channels.

    "On the plain bare little white-faced men, the veterans of the war and the revolution of Italy, sank the plows in the ground, before entrusting the new seed. In the meantime, in Roman times, the course of a river was deviated to Genale to lay the foundations of cement and iron of the great dam ".

    In the early months of 1928 most of the works for water derivation and canalization were accomplished along with 200 kilometers of truckable roads.

    At the mouth of the Merca road, the town of Vittorio d'Africa was founded, which would become the center for the collection of products and the headquarters of the Agricultural Consortium with the new cotton ginning plant for the national cotton industry.

    Parallel to the works for irrigation, the entire area, about 18 thousand hectares, was indemnified, framed and colonized, subdividing it into 83 concessions divided into five zones [...]
     
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  3. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
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  4. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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  5. MarehanBanker

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  6. MSGA

    MSGA

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    They invested alot of money and time on Somalia just to be destroyed and burned down. I wouldn't be as sad if this was a outside war that made our country what it is today but we destroyed it ourselves by having a civil war. Inshallah we will restore our country and make it the best country in africa again. We should also keep qabiil just as a cultural thing and not for everyday use.
     
  7. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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    Somalia had a strong agricultural sector until the war broke out. Somalis were more than capable of developing it themselves post-colonialism.
     
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  8. Grant

    Grant

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    I saw banana and grapefruit plantations in the Lower Jubba in 1966, and was shown an Italian homestead that had recently been abandoned. They built with brick. The construction and irrigation canals were in good shape, but not very big. The port at Kismayu and the asphalt road to Jilib had only recently been completed. At that point the banana port at Marka was bigger and older.

    US Country Studies article:

    https://data.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/somalia/ECONOMY.html

    "Plantation agriculture under Italian tutelage had short-term success, but Somali products never became internationally competitive. In 1955 a total of 235 concessions embraced more than 45,300 hectares (with only 7,400 hectares devoted to bananas), and produced 94,000 tons of bananas. Under fixed contracts, the three banana trade associations sold their output to the AMB, which exacted an indirect tax on the Italian consumer by keeping out cheaper bananas from other sources. The protected Italian market was a mixed blessing for the Somali banana sector. Whereas it made possible the initial penetration by Somali bananas of the Italian marketplace, it also eliminated incentives for Somali producers to become internationally competitive or to seek markets beyond Italy.

    The investment in cotton showed fewer long-term results than the investment in bananas. Cotton showed some promise in 1929, but its price fell following the collapse in the world market. Nearly 1,400 tons in 1929 exports shrank to about 400 tons by 1937. During the trust period, there were years of modest success; in 1952, for example, about 1,000 tons of cotton were exported. There was however, no consistent growth. In 1953 exports dropped by two-thirds. Two reasons are given for cotton's failure as an export crop: an unstable world market and the lack of Somali wage labor for cotton harvesting. Because of the labor scarcity, Italian concessionaires worked out coparticipation contracts with Somali farmers; the Italians received sole purchasing rights to the crop in return for providing seed, cash advances, and technical support.

    Another plantation crop, sugarcane, was more successful. The sugar economy differed from the banana and cotton economies in two respects: sugar was raised for domestic consumption, and a single firm, the Italo-Somali Agricultural Society (Societa Agricola Italo-Somala--SAIS), headquartered in Genoa, controlled the sector. Organized in 1920, the SAIS estate near Giohar had, by the time of the trust period, a little less than 2,000 hectares under cultivation. In 1950 the sugar factory's output reached 4,000 tons, enough to meet about 80 percent of domestic demand; by 1957 production had reached 11,000 tons, and Italian Somaliland no longer imported sugar."
     
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  9. MarehanBanker

    MarehanBanker

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    Growing for the domestic market is gonna be the key going forward, partially for food security purposes. No way Somalia can compete with the international market, at least initially.
     
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