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Breaking up the bottlenecks in food-crop and cotton cultivation in northern Côte d'Ivoire

  • Thomas J. Bassett

Extract

It is widely recognised that seasonal labour bottlenecks present major obstacles to peasant farmers seeking to expand agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence from Nigeria and Sierra Leone, for example, reveals that labour shortages and limited income to hire off-farm labour have historically constrained rural producers from intensifying and enlarging their agricultural operations (Norman et al., 1979: 42–7; Watts, 1983: 202–3; Richards, 1985: 96). Many attempts by colonial and contemporary African States to promote food crop and export crop production failed, in part, because of peasant resistance to the threat of subsistence insecurity associated with labour conflicts in the agricultural calendar. Richards's (1986) study of the failure of a series of labour-intensive wet rice cultivation projects in central Sierra Leone illustrates the degree to which peasant agricultural practices represent adjustments to labour-supply problems. Given the pervasiveness and importance of seasonal labour constraints in African agricultural systems, it is surprising that ‘few studies have provided insights into the adjustment in labor use resulting from the introduction of cash crops and new technologies’ (Eicher and Baker, 1982: 99).

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Breaking up the bottlenecks in food-crop and cotton cultivation in northern Côte d'Ivoire

  • Thomas J. Bassett

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