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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:At issue: what is the matter with African agriculture?
Authors:Mutsaers, Henk J.W.ISNI
Kleene, Paul W.M.
Periodical:African Studies Quarterly (ISSN 1093-2658)
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:agricultural development
farming systems
agricultural history
External link:https://asq.africa.ufl.edu/mutsaers_fall12/
Abstract:The views of forty veterans on sixty years of African agricultural development, published in book form in 2012 and edited by the authors of this article, are analysed against the background of René Dumont's epochal publication 'L'Afrique noire est mal partie'. Although some of Dumont's opinions and recommendations are no longer valid, it is striking how many of them are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago. This paper reviews the recent history of agricultural development comparing Dumont's visions and those of the veteran authors from a number of angles, viz. the all-important issue of the strengths and weaknesses of subsistence and family farming, the development pathways of the forest and savannah zones, and the disappointing adoption record of new technology during the past fifty years. Next, prospects for the future are reviewed, as well as the conditions for significant progress in respect of land ownership, farmer organization, education in the widest sense, 'chain development' and, perhaps most importantly, dedication, honesty and discipline at all levels. Finally, the often unfavourable role of international aid is reviewed and recent developments are highlighted, in particular the dangerous trend of massive land acquisition by 'outside' parties. App., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]