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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Fixity, the discourse of efficiency, and enclosure in the Sahelian land 'reserve'
Author:Kitchell, Erin
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic terms:Sahel
Subjects:land use
agricultural land
government policy
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725843.2013.868675
Abstract:The spate of foreign investments in land in developing countries in recent years has sparked speculation about trends in agriculture in developing countries, including the nature of land consolidation and the tradeoffs between food sovereignty and export-oriented growth. Consistent with policy favouring mechanization, irrigation, and chemical inputs, the economy of scale and access to infrastructure provided by large concessions is viewed as a means to overcome biophysical production constraints. However, this raises important questions about the historical track records of modern management techniques as well as existing claims on these lands. Low productivity areas are heavily used by pastoralists as extensive grazing tracts, but these lands have historically been viewed as an agricultural reserve. In the Sahel, policy discourse around large-scale leases has a long history that can be traced back to mise en valeur clauses that defined productivity solely in terms of agricultural output. This represents a consistent undervaluing of the economic and ecological contributions of pastoral production, prompting agricultural expansion and fragmentation of rangelands. Land reforms and land-use policies are underpinned by particular narratives of efficiency and long-held assumptions of degradation through overgrazing. Strategies promoting irrigation, mechanization, and large-scale farming have weakened symbiotic links between rangelands and croplands. Increased privatization and commodification of land will exacerbate the problem. Cases from Sudan and Mali reveal an increasingly rigid enforcement of fixed boundaries around the leases disrupting local livelihoods' use of movement and secondary claims on land to cope with climatic variability. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]