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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Land Rights and Agricultural Development in West Africa: A Case Study of Two Chinese Projects
Author:Bräutigam, Deborah A.
Periodical:Journal of Developing Areas
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:agricultural projects
customary law
land law
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External links:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4192164
Abstract:Government-sponsored irrigation schemes have introduced major institutional and social as well as technical changes into local farming systems. In West Africa, both governments and donors have sometimes regarded customary systems of land tenure as obstacles to efforts to promote increased production. Yet, as the cases discussed in this paper illustrate, projects that ignore, or attempt to reinterpret, traditional land use rights, can deprive women and other small farmers of their hitherto secure usufruct rights, with important equity and production consequences. In the worst cases, projects could act to accelerate a process of land alienation that is already underway in areas with growing population pressure. The cases in this article are drawn from fieldwork conducted in West Africa between 1983 and 1989 as part of a larger study of agricultural assistance from the People's Republic of China. The two Chinese projects under review are the Irrigated Rice and Vegetable Project in The Gambia, and the Rice and Vegetable Agrotechnical Station Project in Sierra Leone. Although the projects took different forms, both involved the development of swamp and upland areas for irrigated rice cultivation, with the goal of introducing intensive Chinese technology to boost production of rice. Both projects were intended to help individual small farmers. Both ran into problems traceable directly to incompatible interpretations of rights to the land. Notes, ref.