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Future of Family Farms in West Africa, The : What can we learn from long-term data?

Michael Mortimore

Issue paper, 72 pages

Small-scale family farming which has supported West Africans for thousands of years may be newly vulnerable under conditions of open, competitive global markets and processes of globalisation which transfer economic advantage to the rich nations. Since the early 1960s, long-term data series have evolved relating to many critical parameters of development. The purpose of this study is to examine some of the series relating to agriculture, with a view to exposing major strengths (or weaknesses) of the family farming sector, i.e. smallholder farming and livestock keeping systems. Knowledge of the evolution of these systems will help identify appropriate policies for the future.

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