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Title: Present Condition of the Sudanese Agricultural Complex: The Case of Western Niger
Authors: SAKUMA, Yutaka
Keywords: Agricultural complex
Sasuke Nakao
Issue Date: Sep-2019
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African study monographs. Supplementary issue.
Volume: 58
Start page: 3
End page: 20
Abstract: As regards the agriculture of Niger today, what aspects are changing and what are persisting? In this article, we will reflect on the agricultural changes of western Niger starting from its relation with its lasting tradition, based on the agricultural complex theory of the late Dr. Sasuke Nakao, a Japanese botanist. After conducting a field survey in the northern savanna area in western Niger and West Africa at the end of the 1960s, Nakao claimed that the area is in fact one of the sites of the origin of agriculture in the world, and that he had found evidence of a combination of agricultural culture (Sudanese agricultural complex) in cultivated crops, farming equipment, farming methods, and processing methods. After almost half a century since Nakao's research, even after experiencing droughts and other climate changes, two main changes in farming and cultivation methods have taken place in western Niger in spite of the persisting characteristics of the Sudanese agricultural complex. Specifically, these changes are from hoe-farming to plow-farming, and from rain-fed rice cultivation to irrigated rice cultivation. In this article, we will identify the origin of the changes that occurred in western Niger, while at the same time, show that there was a change to the national rural development policy accompanying the development of uranium as the new export revenue and source of international trust. We will also point out that the changes in the region's agricultural and cultivation methods brought about by this policy match the characteristic values of Songhai society, which places great importance on the weeding process. The background of the spread of the use of plows is this farming tool's (instead of tillage) usefulness in weeding, while the background of the switch to irrigated rice cultivation is the spread of herbicides that can only be used in irrigated farmlands (in rain-fed rice cultivation performed on flooded fields, spreading herbicides will only cause them to be washed away by the river so herbicides cannot be used). With the considerations above, this article will identify that there was a secondary agricultural culture (holding a moral value) in this regional society behind the fundamental change of agricultural culture in western Niger.
Rights: Copyright by The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, September 1, 2019.
DOI: 10.14989/244117
Appears in Collections:58(Agricultural Practices, Development and Social Dynamics in Niger)

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