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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

 | 
Benjamin Sultan
, 
Richard Lalou
, 
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
, 
et al.

Part III. Social changes in rural populations

Chapter 12. Land rights and fertility management

Two different perspectives: Djougou (Benin) and Niakhar (Senegal)

Fabrice Gangneron and Élodie Robert

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Excerpt

Introduction

Here we consider land as a support for cropping, pastoral or agropastoral activities at two study sites (Fig. 1) of the ESCAPE programme: Djougou (the villages of Angara, Alhéri and Sew Sewga) and Niakhar (the villages of Ndoffane Mouride, Ndoffane Nomad, Sanghai and Sob) with two aspects analysed:

  • control of land (rights of use, appropriation, inheritance, customary or legal institutions) distributed socially according to groups belonged to and the date of settlement;
  • management of soil fertility (rotations, fallows, taking new land, organic and inorganic fertilisers).

In Niakhar, the land rights systems are no longer those of 1960-1980. The authority of the old lineages has weakened in favour of family farm units, while in Djougou the land chiefs have kept their administration powers and maintain land rights inequalities between ‘native farmers’ and ‘non-native herders’. In both cases, within the farming systems the family units currently have a degree of autonomy as rega...

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