Something else is stirring in Africa
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CTA. 2001. Something else is stirring in Africa. Spore 92. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46151
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore92.pdf
African Enclosures? The Social Dynamics of Wetlands-in-Drylands
Few would contest that poverty in rural areas and environmental degradation should be dealt with urgently. However, the ways to achieve each goal may differ greatly. It is stresses that poverty is caused by declining productivity and a degrading resource base (land, forest, water, soil etc.), which, in turn, is worsened by an increasing population pressure. Measures should be taken to increase production, improve inputs, expand information access, and increase levels of organisation. Many also feel that the solution lies in actively involving communities, building on their initiatives and designing participatory programmes and policies in order to reduce poverty and achieve sound environmental conservation management. Whatever may be the perspective, African enclosures? argues that the analyses use in such approaches fail completely to address the effects of the wider political, social and economic forces on different users, and their uses and ways of managing natural resources. Worse still, most avoid addressing this wider context, out of naivety, and they make use of idealised versions of a community , government , participation and good governance . The book examines changing land and water use in four wetlands in dry-land areas of Kenya, Mali, Botswana and South Africa. Each case is quite different but can be compared, since they all address changes in resource bases, in social and economic terms and how local governance works. It reveals a far more dynamic and detailed picture of African society. It turns out that production patterns change rapidly in response to market opportunities, even in remote areas. These changes are driven largely by local, often migrant, farmers initiatives and an increase in market-based access to land under both customary and private land tenure. The social and economic consequences are clear. Large increases in aggregate production widen the gap between winners and losers from the changing terms of access to land and water. A theoretical, and important and revealing book. African Enclosures? The Social Dynamics of Wetlands-in-Drylands By P Woodhouse, H Bernstein & D Hulme, James Currey, 2000. 256 pp. ISBN 0 85255 416 8 GBP 14.95 Euro 23.45 James Currey Publishers, 73 Botley Road, Oxford OX2 0BS, England Fax: +44 1865 24 64 54 Email: email@example.com
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