Working the Sahel: Environment and Society in Northern Nigeria

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London, England, UK: Routledge


The thesis of the book is that, based on the evidence presented (gathered over a period from 1992-97), the 'Sahelian crisis' of degradation can be contained, and that in doing so, the resources of rural communities themselves will play a much larger part than is usually assumed. Pre-eminent among these resources is the labour provided by a growing population which, in drawing on a wealth of indigenous technical experience and the best of introduced practices, can create, through an incremental and 'indigenous' intensification of agriculture, more sustainable production systems. Gradualist rather than transformational expectations should therefore underpin the policies of governments and donors, policies which need to be founded both on improved understanding of the diversity and the dynamics of primary production systems, and on a recognition of the need for unimpeded economic integration between the Sahel and West Africa as a whole. Ten chapters examine: introduction; diversity, flexibility and adaptability; four communities, four systems; negotiating the rain; working nature; making the land work harder; when farmers are not farming; women, children and the house; understanding inequality; and managing the managers. Case studies are presented from four villages in north-east Nigeria (Tumbau, Dagaceri, Kaska, and Futchmiram). (CAB Abstract)


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Rural development, Natural resource management, Drought, Farming systems, Farming systems, Environmental degradation, Drought, Land resources, Social structures, Rural development, Resource management, Farm/Enterprise Scale Field Scale