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What future for West Africa's family farms in a world market economy?

Bélières J.F., Bosc P.M., Faure G., Fournier S., Losch B.. 2004. In : Lavigne-Delville Philippe (ed.), Ouédraogo H. (ed.), Toulmin Camilla (ed.). Making land rights more secure : International workshop for researchers and policy makers, Ouagadougou, March 19 to 21, 2002. Londres : IIED, p. 91-109. Séminaire International d'Echanges entre Chercheurs et Décideurs, 2002-03-19/2002-03-21, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Agriculture in West Africa is facing a double challenge. It needs to become more productive to meet the growing need for food and, in particular, to supply the towns; and it has to provide income and employment for the rural population, so as to reduce migration and combat the inequalities and poverty by which the countryside is particularly badly affected. Like most of the world's farming businesses, and with the exception of agro-industrial firms of the capitalist type, West Africa's farms are primarily family run. Policy debate in many West African countries shows a growing tendency to contrast commercially-orientated forms of agriculture, characterised by large inputs of capital and market integration, with more "traditional" family-based farms assumed to correspond to a common model. The latter are reckoned, almost by definition, to be less efficient, and less able to cope with the constraints, and take advantage of the opportunities, that derive from the new economic and institutional circumstances resulting from globalisation.

Mots-clés : exploitation agricole familiale; libéralisation des échanges; politique agricole; environnement socioéconomique; facteur de production; organisation paysanne; afrique occidentale; sénégal; mali; burkina faso; bénin; différenciation

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