Crops of the West African semi-arid tropics
Submitted by Fatima Abedi on Wed, 2010-01-06 10:06
|RA 00016.pdf||1.51 MB|
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
|One of the major features of the indigenous crop production practices in the West African Savanna is the low crop productivity per unit area of land. The growing demands for food and cash have been met
largely by cultivating more land. In areas which carry high population densities productivity has decreased in recent years as a result of decline in soil fertility, overgrazing and soil erosion. However, considering the farmers' total environment, including natural, economic and socio-institutional, crop production has been in reasonable equilibrium with the resources available. The farmer makes the most of the natural fertility through the bush fallow rotation system of cultivation while the field near the village and areas of high population densities receive a considerable amount of manure (animal manure, ash, household refuse, compost). The farmer practises intercropping which under his present conditions satisfies both his security and profit motives (Norman, 1972). And despite all the difficulties arising from low capital, unfavourable price relations, unsophisticated markets, rudimentary
infrastructure, the indigenous farming system well matches the total resources available to the farmer in maintaining low but adequate and steady production. In all this, there appears little room for improvement in productivity without an increase in the resources and services made available.