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Family agriculture and the sustainable development issue : possible approaches from the African oil palm sector. The example of Ivory Coast and Cameroon

Cheyns E., Rafflegeau S.. 2005. OCL. Oléagineux Corps gras Lipides, 12 (2) : p. 111-120.

Based on the results of studies conducted in Ivory Coast and Cameroon, the article proposes an analysis of the family agriculture situation in the oil palm commodity chain, repositioning it within a context of sustainable development issues. At a time when production standards are back on the agenda with so-called "voluntary commitment" processes, through "private standards" to enable sustainable agriculture, the authors examines the outcome of the previous phases of family agriculture standardization by Estates and State-owned companies between 1960 and 1990, followed by privatization of the sector. The article shows that family agriculture possesses its own rationality which needs to be taken into consideration, if the stakes, over and above guaranteeing "sustainable oil", are indeed those of the impact that the palm oil sector has on "sustainable development". Starting from that point, the question is no longer: how can family agriculture take on board technical standards designed for other production models, but how can family agriculture take part in the compromises negotiated in the commodity chain in such a way that its logics and operating methods are considered when drawing up production choices? An analysis of surveys on oil palm-based cropping and farming systems makes it possible a) to specify the logics underlying production practices and to show their specificity, b) and reiterate the minimum conditions required in order for this agriculture, which is the major agriculture in some countries, to achieve the socio-economic reproduction level of the household and not only of the plot: access to capital and information, minimum land areas and prices, representation on negotiating bodies.

Mots-clés : développement durable; elaeis guineensis; exploitation agricole familiale; côte d'ivoire; cameroun; filière

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