Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in by Michael Mortimore

By Michael Mortimore

This e-book embodies the result of 13 years of analysis in drought-prone rural parts within the semi-arid sector of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups according to recurrent drought within the Seventies and Eighties. The query of desertification is explored in a space the place the seen facts of relocating sand dunes is dramatic blame are tested on the subject of the sector facts. A critique is obtainable of deterministic theories and authoritarian suggestions. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel among the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive concepts of the human groups that inhabit them and indicates coverage instructions for strengthening that resilience.

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Additional resources for Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in West Africa

Sample text

Social differentiation is arguably more urgent an issue than spatial and, unlike it, cannot be shrugged off as due to rainfall variations. An appropriate methodological response would be micro-scale studies of household welfare, including intra-household transactions, and of the position of women, the young and the Method 21 aged. But not only would an intimate longitudinal study of selected (and perhaps reluctant) families be required, but the series would have to start before the onset of the first major drought.

The most commercialised food crops were rice and the leguminous cowpea. The first was grown in the flooded valleys of the northern river systems; the second (Vigna unguiculata) on rain-fed upland farms where it was intercropped with grain and groundnuts. Both supplied markets throughout the country, especially in the south (Mortimore, 1979). Other crops of commercial importance, grown in the river valleys, were sugar, wheat, cocoyam, sweet potato and vegetables; and, on rain-fed land, cassava, bambarra nut and sorrel.

Monocausal, generalised and oversimplified interpretations are revealed as artifacts of inadequate method. Cost-effectiveness was a major consideration, both of time and money. While rapid rural appraisal techniques are not appropriate to all research 22 Introduction objectives, it is noticeable that beyond the reconnaissance level the marginal returns of extra methodological finesse may be unimpressive. 20 FROM FEAST TO FAMINE? I will give you rain at the proper time; the land shall yield its produce Leviticus 26:4 THE FAT YEARS On what kind of a world did the droughts of the early 1970s so rudely erupt?

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