IELTS Reading Forecast 4


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.


Traditional Farming Practice in Tanzania


A.     By tradition land in Luapula is not owned by individuals, but as in many other parts of Africa is allocated by the headman or headwoman of a village to people of either sex, according to need. Since land is generally prepared by hand, one ulupwa cannot take on a very large area; in this sense, the land has not been a limiting resource over large parts of the province. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The situation has already changed near the main townships, and there has long been a scarcity of land for cultivation in the Valley. In these areas registered ownership patterns are becoming prevalent.


B.    Most of the traditional cropping in Luapula, as in the Bemba area to the east, is based on citemene, a system whereby crops are grown on the ashes of tree branches. As a rule, entire trees are not felled but are pollarded so that they can regenerate. Branches are cut over an area of varying size early in the dry season and stacked to dry over a rough circle about a fifth to a tenth of the pollarded area. The wood is fired before the rains and in the first year planted with the African cereal finger millet (Eleusine coracane). [Crack IELTS with Rob] The grain of this crop is used to brew local beers such as cipumu, which contribute several vitamins of the B complex to people's diet. Cipumu is also used in cementing reciprocal working relationships.


C.   During the second season, and possibly for a few seasons more the area is planted to variously mixed combinations of annuals such as maize, pumpkins (Telfiria occidentalis) and other cucurbits, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, Phaseolus beans and various leafy vegetables, grown with a certain amount of rotation. The diverse sequence ends with vegetable cassava, which is often planted into the developing last-but-one crop as a relay.


D.   Richards observed that the practice of citemene entails a definite division of labour between men and women. A man stakes out a plot in an unobtrusive manner, since it is considered provocative towards one’s neighbours to mark boundaries in an explicit way. The dangerous work of felling branches is the men’s province and involves much pride. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Branches are stacked by the women, and fired by the men. Formerly women and men cooperated in the planting work, but the harvesting was always done by the women. At the beginning of the cycle little weeding is necessary, since the firing of the branches effectively destroys weeds. As the cycle progresses weeds increase and nutrients eventually become depleted to a point where further effort with annual crops is judged to be not worthwhile: at this point the cassava is planted, since it can produce a crop on nearly exhausted soil. Thereafter the plot is abandoned, and a new area pollarded for the next citemene cycle.


E.   When the forest is not available – this is increasingly the case nowadays – various ridging systems are built on small areas, to be planted with combinations of maize, beans, groundnuts and sweet potatoes, usually relayed with cassava. [Crack IELTS with Rob] These plots are usually tended by women, and provide subsistence. Where their roots have year-round access to water tables mango, guava and oil-palm trees often grow around houses, particular in the Valley, forming a traditional agroforestry system. In season some of the fruit is sold by the roadside or in local markets.


F.    Fishing has long provided a much needed protein supplement to the diet of Luapulans, as well as being the one substantial source of cash. Much fish is  dried for sale to areas away from the main waterways. The Mweru and Bangweulu Lake Basins are the main areas of year-round fishing, but the Luapula River is also exploited during the latter part of the dry season. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Several previously abundant and desirable species, such as the Luapula salmon or mpumbu (Labeo altivelis) and pale (Sarotherodon machochir) have all but disappeared from Lake Mweru, apparently due to mismanagement.


G.   Only small numbers of cattle or oxen are kept in the province owing to the prevalence of the tsetse fly. For the few herds, the dambos provide subsistence grazing during the dry season. The absence of animal draft power greatly limits peoples’ ability to plough and cultivate land: a married couple can rarely manage to prepare by hand-hoeing more than two limas. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Most people keep freely roaming chickens and goats. These act as a reserve for bartering, but may also be occasionally slaughtered for ceremonies or for entertaining important visitors. These animals are not a regular part of most peoples’ diet.


H.   Citemene has been an ingenious system for providing people with seasonal production of high-quality cereals and vegetables in regions of acid, heavily leached soils. Nutritionally, the most serious deficiency was that of protein. This could at times be alleviated when fish was available, provided that cultivators lived near the Valley and could find the means of bartering for dried fish. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The citemene/fishing system was well adapted to the ecology of the miombo regions and sustainable for long periods, but only as long as the human population densities stayed at low levels.


I.   Overall, people must learn to intensify and diversify their productive systems while yet ensuring that these systems will remain productive in the future when even more people will need food. Increasing overall production of food, though a vast challenge in itself, will not be enough, however. At the same time storage and distribution systems must allow everyone access to at least a moderate share of the total.


Questions 1 - 5

Complete the sentences below

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from Passage 1 for each answer.

Write your answer in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.


  • 1. In Luapula land allocation is on the basis of .

  • 2. Citemene system provides land with  of branches where crops are planted.

  • 3. The last planted crop is  during the second season.

  • 4. Farm work was finished by  in harvest time by citemene system.

  • 5. Under suitable conditions, fruit trees are planted near .


Questions 6 - 9

Look at the following descriptions and the list of animals below.

Match each description with the correct animal A-C.

Write the correct letter A-C in boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet.


NB        You may use any letter more than once.


A        Fish  
B        Oxen  
C        Goats


  • 6.   were used in some special occasions such as celebrations.

  • 7.   cannot thrive as being harassed by the pests.

  • 8.  were a main part of making profit.

  • 9.   were sold to other places.


Questions 10 - 12

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 10-12 on your answer sheet, write

YES                  if the statement agrees with the information

NO                    if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN      if there is no information on this


  • 10.   Farmers rarely use animals to cultivate land.

  • 11.   Local people eat goats on a regular time.

  • 12.   Children are taken as a labor force when it is busy time.


Question 13

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 13 on your answer sheet.


  • It could be modified in the future without any effort.
  • It is the most efficient way to local farmers.
  • It provides inadequate support to the population.
  • It supplies sufficient nutrition to local people.




Please click the red words below for other Reading Forecasts:

IELTS Reading Forecast 2
IELTS Reading Forecast 5
IELTS Reading Forecast 3


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