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

By Michael Mortimore

This ebook embodies the result of 13 years of analysis in drought-prone rural components within the semi-arid quarter of northern Nigeria. It describes the styles of adaptive behaviour saw between Hausa, Ful'be and Manga groups according to recurrent drought within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties. The query of desertification is explored in a space the place the seen facts of relocating sand dunes is dramatic blame are tested with regards to the sector proof. A critique is on the market of deterministic theories and authoritarian strategies. 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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2 The groundnut boom in northern Nigeria. Rainfall is shown in millimetres for selected stations north of Lat. 12°N: (a) Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Nguru, Potiskum and Maiduguri; (b) Kano and Maiduguri; the three-year running mean for all stations is shown against the overall mean. Indices for the official groundnut price and purchases by the Northern Nigeria Marketing Board and for 'producer income' (purchases x price) are three-year running means based on 1959-60 motivated by the need to stabilise their income from the sale of groundnuts, on which they had become dependent for their cash requirements.

There is no simple relationship between drought and hunger (or famine), since food production is governed by other factors besides the rainfall, and the efficacy of insurance, storage and distribution systems is variable, between places, between social groups, and at different times. It is the continuing importance of subsistence production to the great majority of farming families, and the weakness of their insurance and storage capabilities, that maintains the link between drought and hunger, a link that has been successfully broken in many other parts of the world.

Rice (Oryza sativa) Area ('000 ha) Production ('000 tons) 5,119 4,357 3,132 2,235 3,496 2,318 449 306 122 360 212 132 553 1,196 Source: Federal Office of Statistics (1972) capacity to use residual soil moisture gives it the advantage over millet in certain conditions. 1. 3 The ecological stability of most farming systems was ensured within acceptable limits by manuring (or the occasional use of fertilisers), by rotational bush fallowing, and by migration into less densely populated areas (Mortimore, 1971).

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