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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Royaume-Uni → 1998 → Cattle, cotton, and carts : livestock and agricultural intensification in southern Mali

University of East Anglia (1998)

Cattle, cotton, and carts : livestock and agricultural intensification in southern Mali

Ramisch, Joshua Joseph

Titre : Cattle, cotton, and carts : livestock and agricultural intensification in southern Mali.

Auteur : Ramisch, Joshua Joseph

Université de soutenance : University of East Anglia

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) : 1998

A year-long case study of nutrient cycling within an agro-pastoral community of southern Mali revealed substantial differences in nutrient balances between households and between settlement sub-regions of the study area. Inter-household differences could, in great part, be attributed to differential access to livestock products such as manure and animal traction (both ox-ploughs and donkey carts). Exchanges of manure, carts, and ploughs between owners and non-owners of livestock account for the different levels of access. Exchanges within the settlement sub-regions were more numerous than those between them, and exchanges between the pastoral Fulani and the other communities were limited.The farming systems of the sub-regions presented three patterns of agricultural intensification : 1) cotton-centred rotations using ploughs and carts to increase yields on permanently cultivated sites at the core of the village and in the adjacent hamlets, 2) cotton-centred rotations on sandier soils of the village periphery, supported largely by intensive hand cultivation with the borrowing of carts to transport nutrients, and 3) cereal-centred cultivation of small fields heavily manured by large cattle herds owned and managed by Fulani, with plough-ownership seeming to ensure that household labour could remain available for herding.None of these models of intensification correspond fully with the owner/manager operation of a "mixed farm" and suggest that the potential for better crop-livestock integration in the sub-humid zone may be under-estimated and mis-represented by the "mixed farming" model. Although the overall nitrogen balance of the region after the 1996 cropping years was -8.2 kg N/ha, the different systems described above are associated with significantly different balances : the village core and hamlet cores were -3.2 and -4.7 kg N/ha, the village periphery -21.4 kg N/ha, and the Fulani system +23.3 kg N/ha. Phosphorus and potassium were in positive balance throughout the study area.The different degrees of crop-livestock integration associated with each sub-region suggest that the importance of soil fertility problems must be understood with reference to local agro-pastoral practice. The growing livestock population and the presence of transhumant Fulani pastoralists in the sub-humid zone are key components of these practices and must not be excluded. The access of different actors to key resources such as manure, animal traction, pasture, and crop-land determine the ability to increase agricultural production and the degree with which agricultural intensification will mine the soil of nutrients. Regional or national studies that make aggregate generalisations about the extent of nutrient loss misrepresent the soil fertility of the region, and risk feeding into an unrealistic "crisis narrative".

Annonce : EThOS (UK)

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