An acquaintance asked me to describe my experience with smallholder farmers in Africa, this is what I ended up writing for her.
My most intimate experience was as a Peace Corps volunteer living in a rural Nigerien village. Farmers would generally have “ownership” or at least control over 1-3 hectares of land where, if the rains were perfect, they’d grow enough millet and sorghum for most of the year. Land was not “owned” in our northern sense though, it was apportioned by the village chief or county chief (Chef du Canton). Farmers could not take out loans against their land titles, there are no titles per se. So, if a farmer wants to improve his yield – the options are (and all include money):
- To work WAY…
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