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Challenges for African agriculture, Volume 1
Author:Deveze, Jean-Claude; Country:Africa;
Date Stored:2013/03/14Document Date:2011/01/10
Document Type:PublicationSubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Regional Economic Development; Demographics; Population Policies; Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems
Region:AfricaReport Number:75890
Collection Title:Africa development forum seriesVolume No:1

Summary: This book uses terms family farms and smallholder agriculture interchangeably. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the agricultural population in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) for 2003 to be 409 million. Two important points deserve particular attention: first, the size of this population; and second, its continued growth (14 percent between 1995 and 2003) as a result of high birth rates in the countryside, notwithstanding migrations to cities and foreign countries. This book, attempts to take into account the processes under way, adopts an approach that looks at transitions and how best to steer them, which of course means it is essential to specify the transitions involved. With respect to the geographic area involved, the focus is placed on the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, and the islands of the Indian Ocean, with special attention given to Madagascar. Next, attention is given not just to agriculture but also to other important factors influencing the lives of farmers, such as the increased tendency to engage in multiple activities (already some 40 percent of the income of rural households reportedly comes from activities that are not strictly agricultural) and the ever greater overlap between cities and countryside. Population growth, an increase in demographic pressure, increased life expectancy, urbanization, and the aging of the population produce new economic and social behaviors among men and women, and among the young and the old. Conversely, social changes such as the evolution of the status of women, a change in mindset toward the age of marriage, the extension of educational opportunities, and, more generally, the changes in the organization of societies in terms of methods of production or attitudes, undoubtedly have an impact on demographics.

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