Agricultural Growth and Sustainability: Prospects for Semi-Arid West Africa

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The food-crop sector in the West African semi-arid tropics (WASAT) faces a triple challenge: (1) the lack of technical change has led to zero or , in some areas, negative growth in productivity; (2) deepening poverty has forced farmers to employ short-term survival strategies to meet their immediate needs for food and income, but these strategies mine the resource base and thereby reduce future production potential; and (3) the application of many yield-increasing technologies may itself contribute to environmental degradation. In this chapter we consider some of the factors underlying this situation and suggest how research and development efforts might shift to achieve sustainable production growth over the twenty-first century.

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West Africa, Development policy, Rural development, Resource management, Sustainability, Agricultural development, Environmental degradation, Farm/Enterprise Scale Field Scale Governance