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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:An Early Experiment in the Reorganization of Agricultural Production in the French Soudan (Mali), 1920-1940
Author:Becker, Laurence C.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:agricultural projects
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160787
Abstract:Water control has long appeared an attractive technological solution to risky farming in zones dependent on rain-fed cropping systems, especially in semiarid regions. From the early twentieth century, European technicians and administrators sought to develop irrigated agriculture in African colonies. In the French Soudan the earliest colonial waterworks date back to the 1920s, just outside Bamako, in the vicinity of Baguineda, in present-day Mali. From Baguineda the French went on to develop a much larger-scale irrigation project north of Ségou known as the Office du Niger. This study uses archival documents to show that a new system of crop production was imposed on peasants by the colonial State. Using labour requisitions and in some cases forced resettlement, the colony introduced new crops and technology for rapid intensification, and in so doing organized a new agricultural system oriented primarily towards the market. The Baguineda project began as, and remained, an enclave, spatially distinct from the surrounding dryland grain and pulse cropping system oriented primarly towards lineage reproduction. In common with many subsequently introduced agricultural development projects in Africa, its lack of success was due in part to the conflicting interests of poor peasant workers and powerful foreign promoters. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.