Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in by Michael Mortimore

By Michael Mortimore

This publication embodies the result of 13 years of analysis in drought-prone rural parts within the semi-arid sector of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups in accordance with recurrent drought within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. The query of desertification is explored in a space the place the noticeable proof of relocating sand dunes is dramatic blame are tested with regards to the sphere facts. A critique is on the market of deterministic theories and authoritarian ideas. Professor Mortimore demonstrates a parallel among the observable resilience of semi-arid ecosystems and the adaptive ideas of the human groups that inhabit them and indicates coverage instructions for strengthening that resilience.

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Additional resources for Adapting to Drought: Farmers, Famines and Desertification in West Africa

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Hydrological drought occurs when surface or groundwater levels fall below average, and is affected not only by precipitation, but also by infiltration, evaporation and evapotranspiration. ), although other indices have also been proposed. To these three types, it is necessary to add ecological drought, which occurs when the primary productivity of a natural or managed ecosystem (such as unimproved rangeland) falls significantly owing to reduced precipitation. Rainfall totals for the year, or for the rainy season, are misleading indicators of drought.

The livestock holdings of northern Nigeria were probably not in excess of the carrying capacity of the range, but they were unequally distributed (with the exception of pigs) in favour of the tsetse-free, but less productive, northern pastures (De Leeuw, 1976). 2, but, lest the possibilities both for error and for change should be underestimated, the table also gives some figures for 1975. It is likely that the earlier figures underestimated goats, sheep and pigs. The northern herds supplied the greater part of the nation's meat, and the cattle herds of the nomadic, semi-nomadic and sedentary graziers were managed in such a way that most males were sold when fully grown, and the females retained for breeding and milk production.

Official sales (partly subsidised) jumped from less than 1,000 tons in 1950 to 16,700 in 1965 (Northern Nigeria, 1966: 79), and this is considered to have had a major impact on groundnut production (Wells, 1974: 282-3). Tractor hiring services had been introduced in some areas. New seed varieties and other inputs, however, made rather less impact than their proponents hoped. New technology was constrained in its diffusion by capital shortages as well as by the need to demonstrate its credibility.

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