The West African Semiarid Tropics

Matlon, P J (1987) The West African Semiarid Tropics. In: Accelerating food production in sub-Saharan Africa , August 1983, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

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Farming systems in the West African semiarid tropics (WASAT) reflect a long process of adaptation to low and variable rainfall, generally poor and fragile soils, and readily available land. The extensive land-use systems, which have evolved under these conditions, are marked by low productivity per unit area and high yield variability. Soil quality has traditionally been maintained by long bush-fallow rotations, requiring at least a 5:1 ratio of fallow to cultivated land. In rapidly expanding areas of the WASAT, however, growing populations are upsetting this ecological balance by cultivating more marginal soils and by continuous cultivation. Increased cash needs are also inducing farmers in some areas to put greater resources into cash crop production, often employing technologies that accelerate a decline in soil quality. The major areas of possible technological change are considered in turn: irrigation, other forms of land and water management, mechanization, genetic improvement, and the use of chemical inputs. One of the biggest problems is the gap between experimental farm results and farm yields, and this can only be rectified by continued investment in agricultural research, together with important changes in conception and approach

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2011 04:53
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2011 04:53
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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