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Agricultural intensification: The status in six African countries

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ABSTRACT

Boserup and Ruthenberg (BR) provided the framework to analyze the impact of population growth and market access on the intensification of farming systems. Prior evidence in Africa is consistent with the framework. Over the past two decades, rapid population growth has put farming systems under stress, while rapid urbanization and economic growth have provided new market opportunities. New measures of agro-ecological potential and urban gravity are developed to analyze their impact on population density and market access. The descriptive and regression analyses show that the patterns of intensification across countries are only partially consistent with the BR predictions. Fallow areas have disappeared, but cropping intensities remain very low. The use of organic and chemical fertilizers is too low to maintain soil fertility. Investments in irrigation are inadequate. In light of the promising outcomes suggested by the Boserup-Ruthenberg framework, the process of intensification across these countries appears to have been weak.

No MeSH data available.


Area operated, crop intensity and fallow.
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f0010: Area operated, crop intensity and fallow.

Mentions: Area operated per household is owned area plus rented in area, less rented-out area. Across countries, it is on average 1.57 ha per farm (Table 3). It varies from the lowest in Malawi, at 0.74 ha, to the highest in Niger, at 5.1 ha (Fig. 2). Malawi’s AEP per ha is twice the one in Niger, which partly compensates for its low operated area. What is surprising is that Uganda, one of the high population density countries, has an operated area quite close to Tanzania’s 2.4 ha. Since Tanzania has a much lower population pressure, we would expect farm sizes there to be significantly larger. It appears that Tanzanian farmers are unable to make use of the larger land endowment per person, perhaps because they are labor constrained and unable, or unwilling, to make the investments required for animal draft or tractor plowing that would allow them to operate larger areas.


Agricultural intensification: The status in six African countries
Area operated, crop intensity and fallow.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384439&req=5

f0010: Area operated, crop intensity and fallow.
Mentions: Area operated per household is owned area plus rented in area, less rented-out area. Across countries, it is on average 1.57 ha per farm (Table 3). It varies from the lowest in Malawi, at 0.74 ha, to the highest in Niger, at 5.1 ha (Fig. 2). Malawi’s AEP per ha is twice the one in Niger, which partly compensates for its low operated area. What is surprising is that Uganda, one of the high population density countries, has an operated area quite close to Tanzania’s 2.4 ha. Since Tanzania has a much lower population pressure, we would expect farm sizes there to be significantly larger. It appears that Tanzanian farmers are unable to make use of the larger land endowment per person, perhaps because they are labor constrained and unable, or unwilling, to make the investments required for animal draft or tractor plowing that would allow them to operate larger areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Boserup and Ruthenberg (BR) provided the framework to analyze the impact of population growth and market access on the intensification of farming systems. Prior evidence in Africa is consistent with the framework. Over the past two decades, rapid population growth has put farming systems under stress, while rapid urbanization and economic growth have provided new market opportunities. New measures of agro-ecological potential and urban gravity are developed to analyze their impact on population density and market access. The descriptive and regression analyses show that the patterns of intensification across countries are only partially consistent with the BR predictions. Fallow areas have disappeared, but cropping intensities remain very low. The use of organic and chemical fertilizers is too low to maintain soil fertility. Investments in irrigation are inadequate. In light of the promising outcomes suggested by the Boserup-Ruthenberg framework, the process of intensification across these countries appears to have been weak.

No MeSH data available.