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Full text of "Changes In Shifting Cultivation In Africa Paper 50"

Corrigendum 

Page 7: Ivory Coast: for 0.48 read 4.8; 

Page 10: Central Zaire: insert 1_7 under "Typical value for R"; 

Page 32: Line 3: for "fields" read "yields"; 

Page 36: A. Line 2: for 15 000 read 1 500. 



Changes 

in shifting cultivation 

in Africa 



Forestry Department 



FAC 

FORESTS 
PAPEF 



50 




FOOD 
AND 

AGRICULTURE 
ORGANIZATION 



The designations employed and the presentation 
of material m this publication do not imply the 
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the 
part of the Food and Agriculture Organ^ation 
of the United Nations concermng the legal 
status of any country, territory, city or area or 
of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation 
of its frontiers or boundaries 



M-30 
ISBN 92-5-1 021 51-1 



All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, 
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, 
electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior 
permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, 
with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should 
be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 
Rome, Italy. 



FAO 1984 



- Ill - 



FOREWORD 



In recent years shifting cultivation has received growing attention from FAO 
governing and advisory "bodies. The Organization has been asked to study the biological, 
social, economic and cultural aspects of this food production system and to draw up 
multi-disciplinary programmes and guidelines for improving its productivity. 

Within the content of this mandate from our member countries the FAO Forestry 
Department carried out in 19&2-83 a comprehensive study of "alternatives to shifting 
cultivation in the use of forest land". This work was coordinated by a working group 
which included officers of the Agriculture and the Economic and Social Policy 
Departments of FAO f as well as a sociologist from the Overseas Development Institute, 
U.K. (Dr. C. Oxby). 

The aim of the present study, which is confined to those zones of Africa 
receiving 1 000 mm or more of annual precipitation, is to assess the extent and 
distribution of shifting cultivation in Africa and to document and evaluate develop- 
ments resulting from recent demographic and other land pressures. The study also 
draws, inter alia, upon the findings of seven case studies carried out specifically 
for that purpose in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania 
(two studies). 

This food production system has been practised successfully and safely for 
centuries as it was fully adapted to the specific climatic and edaphic conditions 
prevailing in each forest region. However, because of increasing population pressure 
this is no longer the case in most areas of tropical Africa. Spontaneous or planned 
changes take place in which forestry and forest trees play a beneficial role and can in 
this way contribute to the socioeconomic development of rural communities concerned. 

I fervently hope that this review of certain aspects of shifting cultivation in 
Africa and the improvements suggested will not only add to the growing volume of our 
knowledge on f and better understanding of, shifting cultivation, but will also con- 
tribute to its transformation into a more positive and productive cropping system 
which could bo practised in full harmony with/rfie^aJUara^ surroundings and the needs of 
their human occupants. 




and 
of the Forestry Department 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



FOREWORD i 

INTRODUCTION 1 

1. GENERAL ASPECTS OP SHIFTING CULTIVATION IN AFRICA 2 

1.1 Definition of shifting cultivation 2 

1*2 Situation in tropical Africa 6 

1.3 The use of fire 9 

2. SHIFTING CULTIVATION AND UNPLANNED CHANGE 14 

2.1 Introduction 

2.2 Adjusting to changing conditions 15 

23 Failing to adjust: deteriorating farming 

conditions and yields 16 

2.4 The last resort: migration 18 

3. SHIFTING CULTIVATION AND PLANNED CHANGE 20 

3.1 Improvements to shifting cultivation 21 

3.1*1 Regulating the fallow period: the "couloir 17 

or corridor system 21 

312 Planting trees and grasses in the fallow in 

order to regenerate soil fertility in a shorter 

period of time 21 

313 Making better use of cleared vegetation: 

The Subri Conversion Technique 24 

3.2 Alternatives to shifting cultivation 25 

3.2.1 Cultivation of food crops in the early years 

of a Forestry Department plantation: "individual 

taungya" 25 

302.2 Paid Labour: "departmental taungya" 28 
3*2.3 Permanent cultivation of annual crops: Lowland rice 29 

3*2.4 Agroforestry: Alley cropping and multistorey 

intercropping 29 

4 CONCLUSIONS AND GUIDELINES 32 

APPENDIX: List of interventions, alphabetically by countiy 35 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 54 



- vi - 



LIST OF TABLES 

Table 1: Estimated area of forest fallows at end 1980 6 

Table 2: The length of the crop and fallow periods under 10 

shifting cultivation 

Table 3: Characteristics of some examples of shifting and 11 

short-fallow cultivation 

Table 4: Subri Conversion Technique: output and value of 25 

product on a site for 1 ha of a 100 ha programme 



LIST OF FIGURES AND GRAPHS 

Figure 1: Types of land cultivation 3 

Figure 2: The relation between the length of fallow and soil 17 

productivity in shifting cultivation 

Figure 3 ' Graph of land available for fallow farming in three 19 
districts near Ikale, Western Nigeria, with increase 
in population over time 

Figure 4s The "couloir" or corridor system of regulating 23 

cultivation and fallow periods 

Figure $: Hypothetical pathway for sustained-yield intensifies- 31 
ation in tropical farming systems 



INTRODUCTION 

The first part of the report concerns the definition of shifting cultivation and 
its distribution in Africa. Shifting cultivation, defined as long fallow agriculture as 
opposed to short fallow and permanent agriculture , is no longer as common in Africa as 
formerly. Moreover, it is usually combined with other forms of agriculture so that a 
given household exploits some fields by shifting cultivation, usually those with food 
crops, and other fields by using other practices. 

hti.th growing population densities and increasing land pressure there is not enough 
land to leave a long period of fallow and farmers are automatically changing from long 
fallow cultivation to short fallow and permanent cultivation on all or part of their 
fields, although they may resist such change until the last moment because of the lower 
labour requirements of long fallow agriculture. These spontaneous modifications of 
shifting cultivation are dealt with in a second part of the report. 

The third part of the report deals with planned change, which falls into two 
categories: one is to improve shifting cultivation, and this is illustrated by attempts 
to plant certain soil-enriching trees in the fallow, and to make a better use of the 
cleared vegetation by exploiting the timber rather than burning it, the latter being 
the normal practice. But the main form of planned change is to discourage shifting 
cultivation and propose alternatives. The alternatives considered are: 

- the various forms of "taungya", or cultivation of food crops in the early 
years of a Forestry Department tree plantation in gazetted forest reserves; 
these have often met with farmer reluctance because they only give temporary 
access to land; 

- lowland rice is a viable alternative where there is adequate suitable land; 

- the planting of perennial agricultural crops may represent an attractive 
strategy for wealthier farmers who can afford to wait until the trees become 
productive; however, this may not be so attractive to the smaller farmer; 

- finally, various forms of agroforestry not yet practised in Africa are con- 
sidered; however, as these are only in the early stages of implementation 
there is little information on acceptability to farmers. 

The main conclusions and recommendations are presented in a final section. 
Reference is made throughout to an Appendix where projects carried out in areas of 
fallow agriculture are listed, alphabetically by country, with brief local and project 
details. 

The generous assistance of the following institutions and their staff is 
gratefully acknowledged: 

- Overseas Development Institute, London, U.K. (Dr. C. Oxby); 

- Department of Forestry, Wageningen Agricultural University, 
Netherlands (Dr. K.F. JtfLersum and his colleagues) 

- Institut de recherches d 'agronomic tropicale et de cultures vivriSres, 
Paris, France (M.M. Borget and his colleagues) 

- Silviculture Research Station, Forest Division, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania 
(Dr. A.G. Mugasha and his colleagues) 

- Forest Products Research Institute, Kumasi, Ghana (Dr. J. Brookman Amissah). 



- 2 -> 

1. GENERAL ASPECTS OP SHIPTIKO CULTIVATIOH IV AFRICA 
1.1 Definition of shifting cultivation 

The term shift ing cultivation is a difficult one to define since it is used by 
different people in different contexts in widely differing ways* During the FAO/SIDA 
Regional Seminar on Shifting Cultivation and Soil Conservation in Africa, held in 
Ibadan, Nigeria. In July 1973 (see FAO/SIDA 1978 and Uneeco/foHHP/FAO 1976) there was 
a werking group on terminology; to give an indication of the range of usages of the 
term shifting cultivation, the following is a quote from the report of this working 
group: 

H The essential characteristics of shifting cultivation are that an area of 
forest is cleared, usually rather incompletely, the debris is burnt, and 
the land cultivated for a few years - usually less than five - and then 
allowed to revert to forest or other secondary vegetation before being 
cleared ai^d used agfin* The system varies in detail from place to place* 
Consequently many peats are used for it . JTye and Greenland ( I960) and neny 
others us* the term shifting cultivation as a general term embracing many 
variations of natural fallow cultivation system*. Confclin (1937) discusses 
the revived term swidden farming, and proposes its use for the more general 
descriptions of shifting cultivation, leaving this last expression for the 
more specific types of agricultural practices* Ten variables are proposed 
to distinguish different types of swidden farming according to agronomic 
and oultujfl practices* Spencer (1966) lists numerous terms related to 
shifting <mltivation f mostly from South-East Asia and proposes 19 basic 
qualitative elements including such factors as ecological adaptation, labour 
efficiency, erosion control, etc, Matters (1971) includes in the defini- 
tion of shifting cultivation the use of primitive tpols and the subsistence 
usually associated with its practice." */ 



It is not the purpose of this study to dwell en problems of definition; merely to 
warn readers of the variety of definitions in use* In case of confusion, it is 
probably helpful to put the term shifting cultivation to one side and to concentrate on 
the more tangible sad easily identifiable factors which most authors would agree to b* 
crucial in the identification of shifting cultivation versus other forms of land 
cultivation, and in the distinction between different types of shifting cultivation* 
Such factors are (see Figure 1): 

a) Cultivation is interrupted by a period of natural fallow; it is not 
permanent (or continuous)* 

b) The duration of the fallow period and the cultivation period may vary, 

as well as the ratio between these two periods (we shall see below how R, 
the intensity of the rotation, is calculated from this information)* 
Shifting cultivation is characterised by long periods of fallow and in 
this respect is in opposition to short fallow cultivation. 

c) A wide variety cf vegetation may grow in the fallows, from forest to 
grasses, The former is characteristic cf shifting cultivation and the 
latter, of short fallow cultivation* 



I/ (Unescc/toTOP/FAO 1978: 467-8) 



- 3 - 



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- 4 - 



d) The fallow period may be long enough to restore soil fertility, or in some 
cases not long enough. In the latter case, the fallow period may be 
labelled "accelerated" (Unesco/UFEP/FAO 1978:468); but Olofson (1982:13) 
points out that in this case the fallow period is not so much "accelerated" 
as "interrupted". The minimum fallow period for restoring soil fertility 
is variable and depends on a variety of factors, including rainfall, soil 
type, slope, vegetation type, intensity of previous cultivation, type of 
crops previously grown, type of crops to be grown, method of clearing, use 
of fertilizer, and so on. 

e) The population density associated with shifting cultivation is relatively 
low, in order for there to be enough land to leave a proportion of it to 
fallow. 

f) In the case of long fallow periods characteristic of shifting cult i vat :>n, 
housing may be semi permanent , or farmers may have permanent homes in 
villages and temporary homes by the fields. Shorter fallow periods on the 
other hand are associated with permanent housing. 

This list may, of course, be extended according to the interests of the enquirer: 
the forester will go into further details about the woody vegetation; the soil scientist, 
about the soil types; the agriculturalist, about the crop rotations; and the sooio 
economist, on labour requirement s. However, answers to the above questions will already 
provide a good basis upon which to decide whether or not one is dealing with shifting 
cultivation. 

It is difficult to make a rigid distinction between shifting cultivation and other 
types of agriculture, because there are no sharp dividing lines between them; only 
gradations. There is, however, a general agreement that the relationship between the 
length of the fallow period and the length of the cultivation period is crucial. Allan 
writes about the land use fact or . which is most conveniently expressed as the number of 
"garden areas" required, a "garden area" being the area in cultivation at any one time. 
"For example, in the case of a soil capable of maintaining its fertility under alternate 
crop and fallow periods of equal duration only two garden areas will be required, while, 
at the other extreme, on a very poor soil allowing of only two years cultivation followed 
by a full period of woodland regeneration the requirement may be no less than sixteen 
garden areas. The land-use factor is two for the one type and 16 for the other". 
(Allan 1965:30). The land-use factor, L, can be expressed in the following way, C being 
the length of the cultivation period and F the length of the fallow period: 

The examples given in the quotation by Allan above, can be expressed as follows: 

. 2 




Ruthenberg ( 1980: 15), on the other hand, uses the concept of the intensity of the 
rotation. R, which is the relationship between crop cultivation and fallowing within the 
total length of one cycle of land utilization: 

"Following the suggestion of Joosten (1962), we define the symbol R as the 
number of years of cultivation multiplied by 100 and divided by the length 
of the cycle of land utilization.*/ The length of the cycle is the sum of 
the number of years of arable farming plus the number of fallow years. The 
characteristic R indicates the proportion of the area under cultivation in 
relation to the total area available for arable farming. If, for instance, 
40 per cent of the available arable land in one holding is cultivated, the 
R is 40. 

I/ We have thus: R - 



- 5 - 



As long as fallow farming has an extensive character, in which many fallow 
years follow a short period of cultivation, R remains very snail* If for 
example, 18 fallow years succeed 2 years of cultivation, as is frequently 
the oase in the rainforest , R amounts to 10. This extensive type of fallow 
fanning is generally designated shifting cultivation, because the shifting 
of fields within a broad area of wild vegetation usually results in the 
gradual relocation of the farming population* On the other hand, it should 
not be forgotten that there are a number of regions where stationary 
populations practise shifting cultivation. 

The larger R becomes, the higher is the percentage of the area cultivated 
annually in relation to the total area available for arable farming, and 
the more stationary the character of the farming becomes* When cultivation 
is extended so far at the expense of fallowing that the characteristic R 
reaches or exceeds the value 33 1 then we can hardly speak of a shifting of 
the fields any more* A level of intensity of land utilization has been 
achieved that Terra and Nye and Greenland designate semi-permanent culti- 
vation, and that Faucher designates stationary cultivation with fallowing* 
A characteristic R value of 50 is obtained, for example, if 7 fallow years 
succeed 7 years of cultivation* This book (Ruthenberg's) uses the term 
"fallow system 91 * When the R value exceeds 66, and the soil is cultivated 
nearly every year or even more often, then permanent farming is being 
practised* Permanent farming may again be conveniently classified according 
to the degree of multiple cropping* An R value of 150 would indicate that 
50 per cent of the area is carrying two crops a year, and a value of 300 
would indicate that three crops a year are being grown*" (Ruthenberg 1980:15-16). 

Ruthenberg's R factor may be expressed in the following way (C represents the 
cropping period in years, and P the fallow period): 

C x 100 



C -f- P 
The examples given in the quotations by Ruthenberg above may be expressed as: 

R - 2 * 1Q . 10 

2 + 18 

R . ?* 1QQ . 50 

7-1-7 

The first example would be classified by Ruthenberg as a shifting cultivation system; 
the second, as a fallow system* 

It is tempting to adopt Ruthenberg 1 s classification on account of his wide know- 
ledge of farming systems and clear analysis of them* However, the present author draws 
attention to two problems* One is the danger of putting too much weight on the actual 
duration of the fallow and cultivation periods, sinoe these may depend on a variety of 
factors, as we have seen in d) above* 

Another is a certain ambiguity in a terminology which divides "natural fallow 
systems" into "fallow systems" and "shifting systems", sinoe the latter are fallow 
ey stems par excellence. This ambiguity can be explained by the note to the quotation 
by Ruthenberg above in which he explains that he was encouraged to introduce the term 
"fallow systems" to replace the term "semi-permanent farming" which was used in the first 
edition of his book* The earlier opposition between "semi-permanent" and "shifting" 
seems more logical than the present one between "fallow" and "shifting" syst< 

In the final event, everyone has to make the decision about which terminology suits 
his purposes best* The most acceptable definition of shifting cultivation appears to be 
that recommended by the FAO/University of Ibadan Workshop on Shifting Cultivation held 
in July 1982s 

"The workshop recommended the adoption of an oDerational definition of 



- 6 - 



periods of continuous cultivation are followed^ 1^ relatively long periods 
of f alloy." 

(PAO/UI 1982, Recommendations, p. 2). 

And, consequently, the use of the term "long fallow agriculture" as equivalent to 
shifting cultivation* 



1*2 Situation in tropical Africa 

On the question of out-of-date information, FAO Study (1984:7) draws attention 
to the well-known nap by W,B. Morgan, which is still frequently reproduced, and which 
shows shifting cultivation and bush fallow over most of west, central and east Africa* 
This map was based on ethnographic and agricultural data which had, in many cases, been 
collected very much earlier than the publication date of 1969; although it is a useful 
historical statement, it should not be used as a guide for present policy. 

There is a tendency to ascribe all types of subsistence cropping in Africa to 
shifting cultivation. This was true in the past but population pressure has brought 
about a reduction of fallows in various places to such an extent that the agriculture 
systems can no longer be classified as shifting cultivation in the meaning used in th 
study* 



this 



In the report for Africa of the FAO/UNEP Tropical Forest Resources Assessment 
Project, the following estimates of forest fallow areas are given. Although they provide 
an idea of the importance of shifting cultivation in Africa, some caution must be 
exercised to take into account several difficulties among which the following must be 
mentioned: 

- the minimal rainfall corresponding to open tree formations (wooded and tree 
savannas) is generally somewhat lower than 1000 mm (say 800 mm) which is the minimum 
rainfall considered in this study; 

- the forest fallow areas were estimated in many cases by interpretation of aerial 
photographs and satellite imagery on which the R value is not measurable; 

- interpretation of remote sensing data does not always distinguish easily between 
forest fallow areas and areas of similar appearance such as degraded forests long aban- 
doned by agriculture, or, in some oases perennial cash crops such as coffee plantations 
(for this latter oase see Lassailly^-Jacob, 1983:19)? 

Table 1; Estimated areas of forest fallows as at end 1980 

(in thousand ha) 
after FAO/UNEP, 1981 



Country 


Total area 


Woody fallows 


Total 
fallows 
,000 ha 


% 

of country 


Closed 
formations 
.000 ha 


Open 
fc mat ions 
.900 ha 


Chad 


i 284 ooo 




800 


800 


0.6 


Gambia 


10 400 




200 


200 


19.2 


Mali 


1 204 000 




2 500 


2 500 


2.1 


Niger 


1 26? 000 




3 000 


3 000 


2.4 


Senegal 


196 722 




1 750 


1 750 


8.9 


Upper Volta 


274 200 




4 500 


4 500 


16.4 


Northern savaim 
region 


\ 

4 236 322 




12 750 


12 750 


3.0 



- 7 - 



Country 


Total area 
KM? 


Woody fallows 


Total 
fallows 
,000 ha 


% 
of country 


Closed 
formations 
,OOO ha 


Open 
formations 
.000 ha 


Benin 


112 620 


7 


3 750 


3 757 


33.4 


Ghana 


238 538 


6 500 


2 680 


9 180 


38.5 


Guinea 


245 85? 


1 600 


1 300 


2 900 


11.8 


Guineas-Bissau 


36 125 


170 


390 


560 


15.5 


Ivory Coast 


322 463 


8 400 


6 930 


15 330 


0.48 


Liberia 


96 320 


5 500 


40 


5 540 


57.5 


Nigeria 


923 768 


7 750 


4 900 


12 650 


13.6 


Sierra Leone 


73 326 


3 860 


415 


4 275 


58.3 


Togo 


56 800 


250 


1 200 


1 450 


25.5 


West Africa 


2 015 817 


34 037 


21 605 


55 642 


27.6 


Angola 


1 246 700 


4 850 


7 400 


12 250 


9.8 


Cameroon 


475 442 


4 900 


1 200 


6 100 


12.8 


Central Afrioax 
republic 


i 
622 984 


300 


3 800 


4 100 


6.6 


Congo 


342 000 


1 100 




1 100 


3.2 


Equatorial Cfuii 


iea 26 000 


1 165 




1 165 


44.8 


Oabon 


267 670 


1 500 




1 500 


5.6 


Zaire 


2 344 885 


7 800 


10 600 


18 400 


7.8 


Central Africa 


5 325 681 


21 615 


23 000 


44 615 


8.4 


Burundi 


27 834 


14 


10 


24 


0.8 


Ethiopia 


1 221 895 


300 


10 000 


10 300 


8.4 


Kenya 


580 367 


55 


550 


605 


1.0 


Madagascar 


590 992 


3 500 


- 


3 500 


5.9 


Malawi 


118 580 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Mozambique 


783 030 


500 


12 700 


13 200 


1.7 


Rwanda 


26 338 


25 


40 


65 


2.5 


Somalia 


637 539 


- 


50 


50 


0.001 


Sudan 


2 505 813 


600 


11 000 


11 600 


4.6 


Tanzania 


942 345 


100 


4 000 


4 100 


4.4 


Uganda 


196 840 


- 


1 600 


1 600 


8.1 


Zambia 


752 612 


900 


6 700 


7 600 


10.1 


Zimbabwe 


389 367 


- 


y 


- 


- 


East Africa an 
Madagascar 


d 

8 496 392 


5 994 


46 650 


52 644 


6.2 



I/ undetermined. 



- 8 - 







Woody 


fallows 


I7UN<4> A 1 


4 


Country 


Total area 
Km* 


Closed 
formations 
.000 ha 


Open 
formations 
.000 ha 


TO* ax 
fallows 
,000 ha 


7 
of country 


Botswana 
Namibia 


574 992 
824 293 





330 


330 


0.004 


Tropical South 
Africa 


1 399 285 





330 


330 


0.002 


Tropical Africa 


21 473 497 


61 646 


104 335 


165 981 


1.1 



Another important point is that where shifting cultivation does exist according to 
the proposed definition, it is now nearly always practised alongside other fonts of 
cultivation*! so that a given household practises shifting cultivation on some fields 
and other more permanent forms of cultivation on other fields* Thus the use of tempo- 
rary housing and shifting of homesteads, which may be necessary in some oases of sole 
reliance on shifting cultivation, is now not common, since farmers would not leave the 
site of their permanent fields. This fact was brought to the fore at the PAO/University 
of Ibadan Workshop on Shifting Cultivation: 

"It was generally agreed that the classical form of shifting cultivation 
involving relocation of homesteads is no longer a common practice in 
contemporary African agriculture." 
(PAO/UI 1982:1) 

This misleading idea of shifting cultivation being practised by some people, 
whereas other forms of cultivation are practised by other people, has been encouraged 
by academic classifications of farming systems, which tend to separate them more than 
usually happens in reality. For example, Ruthenberg's otherwise excellent book on 
farming systems in the tropics has separate chapters on shifting cultivation systems, 
fallow systems, ley and dairy systems, systems with perennial crops, systems with 
permanent upland cultivation, systems with arable irrigation farming, and so on* It is 
thus easy to forget that any given household may practise at the same time several of 
these different "systems' 1 . For this reason FAO (1984) argues that shifting cultivation 
should not now be treated as a full fledged farming "system", but rather as a farming 
"subsystem". Thus several different agricultural subsystems, including shifting oultiva/- 
tion, constitute a single farming system* 

Given these reservations, we can now consider the actual distribution of shifting 
cultivation. The FAO study mentioned above states: 

"Permanent agriculture is now the norm in all the highland areas of Ethiopia 
and Kenya, and in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, many parts of Tanzania, and 
Malawi. In Tanzania, "villagization" has reduced fallow lengths and encou- 
raged a transition to semi-permanent cultivation... In Zambia, the bulk 
of the population concentrated along the line of the rail, moved over to 
permanent cultivation during the last 30 years. Shifting cultivation in both 
the last two countries is now found only in a few sparsely settled areas... 



* In all of the recent cases of shifting cultivation in Africa located in the context 
of the present research, there were no examples of it not being combined with other 
forms of cultivation. This was also the case for FAO study, 1984. Even the Bemba of 
northeastern Zambia in the 1930s, who practised an archetypal form of shifting culti- 
vation called "citemene", also had permanent river bed gardens (Richards, 1939:311)* 



In the Zaire basin, population is very sparse. There is some evidence that 
in recent years people have been concentrating round the towns, where more 
permanent agriculture is being practised* Cameroon contains much mountain 
country under permanent cultivation* 

The southern part of West African countries are relatively densely populated* 
Tree crops are dominant on small holdings or plantations* Arable food farming 
is often a secondary activity* *. In south eastern Nigeria there is a 
densely populated region where small, permanently cultivated compound farms 
are the dominant type* Production from outlying, inadequately fallowed 
fields is of secondary interest* Farming itself is often subsidiary to non- 
farm occupations* 

Within West Africa one also finds concentrations of rural population around 
annually cultivated riverine or swamp land* These permanent fields may or 
may not be supplemented by shifting cultivation on the uplands. Examples 
can be found in Sierra Leone and Qhana. 

However, beyond the coastal belt lies the "middle belt" of West Africa, 
where population is sparser. Here shifting cultivation remains a major 
technique... In the drier zone north of the middle belt concentric ring 
farming or permanent cultivation is now the norm...* 

Thus, the main humid area where shifting cultivation remains the dominant 
form of farming is the middle belt of West Africa, between the coastal tree 
belt and the more permanently farmed northern plains* It is also still 
found in sparsely populated areas of Tanzania, Zambia and northern Mozambique 
and in the empty area of the Zaire basin*" 

(FAO 1984:7 and 9) 

Tables 2 and 3 list some examples of shifting and short fallow agriculture in 
tropical Africa* Table 2 is based on pre-1961 data, and examples are divided into the 
different rainfall and vegetation zones. Table 3 is based on more recent data, collected 
from a number of sources. In addition to the crops cultivated under shifting cultiva- 
tion or short fallow cultivation, it lists the main crops grown in continuous 
cultivation, in the context of the same farming system* At one end of the scale in 
table 3, the examples from Sierra Leone show a low R value, indicating the small 
proportion of land cultivated in relation to the total available land. At the other 
extreme are the final two examples, which have relatively high R values of 50 and so 
represent examples of short fallow cultivation, not shifting cultivation. Given 
Ruthenberg's cut-off point of an R value of 33, some of the cases listed in both tables 
2 and 3 are in fact examples of borderline shifting cultivation/short fallow cultivation, 
or straight short fallow cultivation* Some of these examples will be used to illustrate 
points made in latter sections. 

1.3 The use of Jf ire 

Under shifting cultivation, fire is commonly used as a way of clearing vegetation 
in a labour-saving way, and at the same time enriching the soil with ashes* This method 
has been criticised as wasteful and has led to countless measures to ban burning in 
different parts of the world, from early times until this day* For instance article 105 
of the Legal Code issued in 1881 by the Nerina Queen Ranavalona, Madagascar, states! 

"On ne peut def richer la forJt par le feu dans le but d f y fttablir des champs 
de riz, de mats ou toutes autres cultures; les parties anterieurement 
difriohtes et brftltes, seules, peuvent fttre oultivies; si des personnes 
operent de nouveaux dCfriohements par le feu ou (tendent ceux dt jl exist ants, 
elles seront mises aux fers pendant cinq ans." 

(Quoted in Uhart, 1962s 108). 



- 10 - 



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- 11 - 



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- 12 - 



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- 13 - 



Of course, burning is blamed all the more in areas of wood shortage, as was the 
case around Antananarivo, the oapital of the Merina Kingdom at that time* On the whole, 
anti-burning measures have met with little success, especially if they are introduced 
in the absenoe of any alternative method of clearing vegetation in a labours-saving way 
and enriching the soil* 

Lassailly-Jaoob (1982:68) explains the position of farmers in the Ivory Coast: 

"Sans brftlis, la terre ne pourrait Stre miss en valeur; les branches, tronos 
et dlbris serai en t trop nombreux et gtaants; le reortt forestier serait si 
vivace qu'il concurrencerait les espfeces cultivftesj de plus, sans brftlis, 
la mineralisation des mat i ires organiques serait trop lente." 

She argues that what is needed is advice to farmers on how to use fire and control it 
more efficiently, rather than fire prevention* 

In order not to misunderstand the farmers* position on fire, several points should 
be borne in mind: 

Beneficial aspects of burning: farmers would be likely to reject the view that 
burning is but a waste of vegetation, because they recognize the value of ash as 
fertilizer, and usually make a direct link between the amount of vegetation burned and 
the degree to which the ashes enrich the soil* Most of the fertility derives from 
burning the leaves as opposed to the stem, especially when it comes to food crops which 
require instant fertility; the stems may take some time to decompose and are therefore 
more important for longer term growth as with trees. 

Moreover, the leaching effect from the burning of vegetation considerably increases 
the availability to plants of nutrients in the soil, according to Schmidt (1973:65). 
And fire may play an important role in removing foci of fungal diseases and noxious 
insects (Levlngston, 1983)* Also, burning of slash is generally a less arduous way of 
clearing woody vegetation than cutting and extracting it: unless a good deal of time is 
spent on further clearing and weeding, therefore, not burning would restrict the choice 
of crops which can overcome the competition of other plants and mature successfully* 

Farmers often prefer clearing forest regrowth than high forest: farmers may avoid 
clearing high forest when they have the choice of clearing regrowth because of the high 
labour requirements of the former (see Ivory Coast case study). In Liberia, younger 
vegetation of 6 to 10 years is preferred especially if young men are not available to do 
the clearing work which is then left to women (Carter 1982:69)* Consequently less 
valuable timber is being "wasted" than some may believe. Likewise in northeastern 
Zambia, since many of the able-bodied young men are away from the village working on the 
copperbelt, it is often not practical to clear the larger trees, and plots which have 
only been left to fallow for a short time may be preferred in order to facilitate 
clearing (Lawton 1982:293). 

Farmers usually protect useful species from fire: it is sometimes believed that 
farmers are unable to manage fire successfully On the contrary, there is every evi- 
dence that farmers are generally able to control fire if they want to and often take 
adequate precautions such as the clearing of firebreaks, or leaving the cleared vegeta- 
tion to dry out before burning so that it burns more rapidly than the surrounding 
vegetation. In this way useful species are often protected from the damaging effects 
of fire. 

In cases where demand for wood and other forest products is high and where 
communications, transport and markets are accessible, farmers commonly extract forest 
products before burning. For example, in the region of Andasibe, Madagascar, high 
forest is being cleared, but before burning, the larger trees are cut into lengths for 
railway sleepers, and much of the wood is made into charcoal for sale in the towns. 



- 14 - 



Fire is used by farmers for purposes not connected with shifting cultivation; it is 
also used by people other than farmers: thus Baoule immigrants moving into the forested 
areas of southwest Ivory Coast from the savanna areas to the north, in their search for 
land to clear for perennial crop plantations, make a greater use of fire than the local 
farmers who practise shifting cultivation (see Ivory Coast case study). In the wooded 
savannas fire may be used by hunters, to trap animals and by herders, to destroy 
parasites and encourage the regrowth of new grass. Forest fire is also a well-esta^- 
blished form of protest or expression of discontent. 

An example of the mistaken blaming of shifting cultivators for the uncontrolled 
destruction of forest by fire is provided by the recent Mozambique project assisted by 
PAO called "Slash-burning prevention". The following quotation is taken from a project 
progress report: 

. .. "the constant reference to "slash-burning" is misleading and this may be due 
to difficulties in translation. ... An important finding, based on fairly 
extensive travel through three provinces said to be representative, is that 
fire from slash-burning (in this context, synonymous with "shifting cultivar- 
tion") is not the main cause of uncontrolled fire." 

This was subsequently confirmed to me \y the departing project director (Mather, 1983) 

2. SHIFTING CUDTIVATION AND UNPLANNED* CHANGE 
2.1 Introduction 

2.1.1 Social change in Africa over the last few decades has been characterized by the 
following: increasing population densities; the expansion of areae under cultivation 
caused partly by increasing population densities but mainly by the introduction and 
expansion of cash cropping; the consequent increasingly difficult access to land; and 
the increasing participation of rmall communities in regional, national and interna- 
tional markets. 

Changes in agricultural techniques can be understood in this framework: what one 
has been witnessing over the last few decades is a rapid intensification (compared to 
developments in many other parts of the world); agricultural techniques have been adap1>- 
ing fast (though in some places not quite fast enough) to the changing circumstances, in 
particular the increasingly difficult access to land. 

2.1.2 Carrying capacity of shifting cultivation 

Shifting cultivation is characterized by long periods of fallow and therefore 
requires a large amount of land per family, most of this resting fallow at any one time. 
It is simply not possible to practise shifting cultivation when population densities 
rise and there is not enough land to leave a satisfactory period of fallow. However, 
just how high is the population density which can be supported by shifting cultivation 
is a matter of some debate. Ruthenberg (1980:62) calculates that no more than 56 persons 
per square kilometre can be supported by shifting cultivation, assuming an even use of 
land, three crop years and 15 fallow years, 6 moves per cycle and 0.3 ha of crops per 
person. 

Table 3 demonstrates a certain correlation between shifting cultivation and low 
population density. The example of Benin, with a relatively high R value of 50, is 
accordingly associated with a relatively high population density of 150 persons/km 2 . 
On the other hand, the example of Tanzania, with the same R value of 50, is associated 
with a low population density of 22 persons/km^: this can readily be explained by the 



Unplanned in the sense of "not planned by the government", or "spontaneous". 



- 15 - 



fact that much of this mountain area is not cultivable or inhabited. In other oases the 
presence of towns may distort the population density figures (see for example the oase of 
Ikale in Nigeria). It is therefore important to distinguish between absolute population 
density and population density in relation to cultivable areas* When discussing the 
carrying capacity of shifting cultivation it is the latter figure which is crucial, but 
often difficult to obtain. 

Lassailly-Jacob, in a detailed survey of land use in Beoumi, central Ivory Coast, 
estimates that only 60$ of the land area is used for traditional food crop production 
(shifting cultivation, see table 3 for details); that the population density in relation 
to this area is as high as 83 inhabitants/km ; and that the theoretical maximum number 
of persons who could live off shifting cultivation in this area without destroying the 
environmental balance is as much as 123 inhabit ante/km 2 . Her results challenge the 
common assumption that the Beoumi area is over-populated and more generally demonstrate 
that shifting cultivation can support a relatively high population density and should not 
be regarded as "devoreur d'espaoe" (Lassailly-Jacob 1983:13). 



2.2 Adjusting to o^wigimr conditions 

The system of shifting cultivation called "citimene". as practised by the Bemba 
people of northeastern Zambia in the 1930s (Richards, 1939; t relied on a fallow period 
of about 30 years and was practised in an area of extremely low population density: 
34 inhabitants to 1 km . Nowadays, of course, this is no longer possible, and rather 
different techniques are now practised in the same area. There are many possible 
reactions to such changing circumstances in the rural areas* One of the most radical is 
rural exodus: the conditions no longer exist to produce such a good harvest with tradi- 
tional methods of cultivation, and there are paid jobs available in the towns. Thus over 
the decades many Zambian farmers left their farms, temporarily or permanently, to become 
miners in the copperbelt region. 

Another reaction is to adapt the agricultural techniques to the changing circums- 
tances. Paced with land shortage, crop rotation practices are adapted (see for example 
Vermeer, 1970) in relation to Tiv farmers in Nigeria and Lassailly-Jacob, 1983$ in 
relation to Baoule farmers in Ivory Coast), and the intensity of cultivation is increased 
by extending the cultivation period and/or decreasing the fallow period. Thus Lawton 
(1982:293) gives recent evidence from another part of northeastern Zambia: he states that 
7-year old growth of "miombo" woodland is being cut in some oases, whereas the tradi- 
tional period of regeneration was about 25 years. 

This strategy, however, is only rational up to a certain point, beyond which any 
further decreases in fallow period would result in soil degradation and decreasing yields. 
At this stage, a more radical change has to be made from fallow agriculture to permanent 
agriculture for example. Typically, the farmer introduces this change at first only on 
some of his plots, whilst leaving the rest under fallow farming. Boserup gives the 
example of short fallow farmers in a situation of growing population density and increa- 
sing land pressure: 

"A growing rural population does not produce additional food by increasing 
the number of times the land is ploughed or by the weeding of fields under 
short-fallow cultivation which were hitherto left unweeded. Instead of 
such changes, which would not add much to total output, short-fallow 
cultivators are likely to take to annual cropping on a part of their land. 
This transition in its turn may call for the introduction of better 
ploughing, irrigation and weeding - or the shortening of fallow may have 
as its necessary concomitant the production of fodder crops for the 
animals. In other words, the additional labour is likely to be used as 
a means to undertake a radical change of the system of cultivation in 
part of the area, while no chan&e is made in other parts of the area." 

(Boserup 1965:26) 

The plots which undergo this change to permanent agriculture first are usually 
those nearest the house site; animal, vegetable and general household refuse are used 
to fertilise gardens around the house, where all sorts of vegetables, root crops and 
fruit trees are grown. And, together with more permanent forms of cultivation go more 
permanent forms of housing. 



- 16 - 



2.3 Palling to adjust: deteriorating farming conditions and yields 

The main purpose of the fallow period in shifting cultivation is simultaneously to 
improve soil fertility and the soil's capacity of resistance to erosion (Jean 1975t 
quoting Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Paris). There is evidence that the length 
of fallow period can be decreased to a certain extent without seriously compromising 
these functions: 

"Des recherches & la station experiment ale de Yangambi au coeur de la 
forSt pris de Kisangani y montrent que plus de la moitifi dee substances 
nutritives les plus import antes s'aocumulent (dans le sol) durant les 
cinq premieres annSes d'une jachire de 18 & 19 ans. n (Jean 1975:35 
quoting Miracle 196?). 

The actual length of time obviously depends on a variety of f actors , such as soil 
"type, vegetation type, and intensity of previous cultivation of the area* Another factor 
is weed control: in wetter climates, to prolong the period of cultivation implies the 
need to apply more sophisticated weed management techniques or to spend more time on this 
work* However, it is clear that beyond a certain point further decreases in fallow 
length and/or further increases in cultivation length prevent the fallow from accomplish- 
ing its functions. Shifting cultivation, from balanced exploitation becomes "soil mining", 
as illustrated in Figure 2. 

Given the increasing cultivation period and/or decreasing fallow period consistent 
with increasing land pressure, at a certain stage yields can only be maintained or 
increased by the use of fertilizer. This principle is the basis of Jean's (1975:12) 
division of cultivation techniques into three types: 

! temporary cultivation with fallow; 

2* semi-permanent cultivation with fallow and fertilizer; 

3. permanent cultivation with fertilizer. 

It can readily be seen that the transition from 1 to 2 and 3 depends upon access to 
fertilizer. If chemical fertilizers are too expensive or not available; if animals are 
not kept so that manure is unavailable; if the use of "green manure" is found to be too 
labour intensive, and so on, then there is a likelihood that increasing land pressure 
will result in soil degradation. 

If yields continue to decline under these circumstances, members of the farming 
households may look for paid jobs to contribute to family income; or some or all of the 
family members may migrate to another area where land pressure is not so great. It has 
been a subject of much discussion why farmers resist change until the process of 
decreasing yields and soil degradation have, often irreversibly, set in. Why can they 
not change before this process begins, it is often asked. Several suggestions are put 
forward here, some of which may apply to some areas and not to others: 

a) It has been demonstrated that the more intensive the agricultural technique, 
excluding mechanization, the worse the returns to labour (Boserup 1965:32-3 
and other authors since) Thus a change from upland rice under shifting 
cultivation to swamp rice under permanent cultivation generally represents 
an increased labour requirement (see Sierra Leone case study). 

b) In cases of soil degradation it is often discovered that the farmers concerned 
have no long-term security of land tenure; in other words, they will not 
necessarily benefit from soil conservation measures: their landlords will. 

c) Switching to a new agricultural technique represents a risk which may be 
unacceptable to fanners who only just manage to satisfy their subsistence 
requirements. Such farmers will wait until others have tried and 
succeeded before they themselves try. 



- 17 - 



The relation between length of fallow and poll productivity 
in shifting cultivation* 

(Source j Ruthenberg 1980:62 from Ouillemin 1956) 



Cultivation 
years 




Unnecessary 




Regeneration years 
Fallow years 



I 



I 




Cultivation Fallow years 

' I . I I 




Fall in soil 
productivity 



Cultivation Fallow years 

11,1. 



I 



5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 years 



"The yield of the soil drops with the number of cultivation years and recovers 
in the fallow period* In (a) the fallow period lasts longer than the regenera- 
tion of the soil requires, R is low (!!) This is shifting cultivation with 
production reserves* The situation in (b) corresponds to that of shifting 
cultivation without production reserves (R29). The fallow period is 9 however, 
long enough to restore soil fertility to its original level* (c) shows what 
happens as the fallow is shortened (R-46)* The fallow is no longer sufficient 
to restore soil productivity and the yields per hectare fall, though since the 
shortening of the fallow period means that a greater part of the total area is 
cultivated, the fall in yields per hectare may well be accompanied by a rising 
total production* However, the result is a continuous degrading process*" 

(Ruthenberg 1980:62) 



- 18 - 



d) Switching- to a new agricultural technique may require capital investments 
which the small farmer cannot afford, or which are difficult to obtain 
locally (fertilizer, improved seeds, etc.). 

e) Making the new agricultural technique profitable to the small farmers may 
depend on easy access to markets, and access to transport. In some areas 
such conditions may not exist. 

To illustrate this process, P. Richards describes the deteriorating conditions in 
which farmers in the Ikale region of Southwestern Nigeria have been farming, in particu- 
lar the decreasing land available per farmer over the years. Figure 3 shows that this 
trend is particularly important in the case of two of the Ikale Districts, Orisunraeta 
and Idapomarun, which between 1952 and 1963 experienced population growth at the rate of 
7.41 and 6.98 percent respectively (rather than the 2.5 or 30 percent charaot eristic of 
other parts of Africa over that period). 

The conclusion is that although shifting cultivation may survive in Idapometa 
district for some years to come, something of a crisis in man-land relations is 
developing in both Idapomarun and Orisunmeta districts. Pressure on land has 
already led to far-reaching changes in the agricultural econongr, but there can 
be little doubt that further change is called for. 

There are four probable directions in which such changes may ooour. First, 
evolution towards permanent cultivation of annual crops must almost certainly 
take place, perhaps via a "compound land 11 farming system as practised in parts 
of eastern Nigeria. In this respect it is of interest to note that some of 
the best yams are to be seen growing right in the heart of settlements, 
immediately around the houses. These domestic "gardens", especially prominent 
in the farm-camps and smaller villages, are in most oases deliberately 
manured and farmers are aware of the nature and significance of the yields 
they get from such sites. 

Secondly, there is likely to be continued increase in the acreage planted to 
tree crops, especially oil-palm. This is an understandable if not entirely 
satisfactory development since tree-crop plantations provide an assured cash 
income, are much less prodigal of land, and onoe established require less 
labour to maintain than annual-crop farms. 

Thirdly the number of farmers engaged in part-time trade and manufacturing 
and in plantation labour will continue to grow. The three government- 
sponsored oil-palm estates at Ilutitun, Igbotako and Bcoya, will continue 
to attract local labour, while the associated oil-palm mill in Okitipupa 
will provide an additional incentive for the development of peasant oil- 
palm plantations. Finally, the pressure of people on land remaining un- 
absorbed by these three kinds of changes will continue to seek an outlet 
in that long-established standby of an underoccupied rural labour force, 
migration - especially migration to the major urban areas." 

(Richards 1977:78-9) 

2.4 The last resort: migration 

Apart from rural-urban migrations, which are a constant feature of areas of land 
shortage, there is a less obvious but equally important type of migration: that of 
farmers from areas of higher population density into neighbouring rural areas of lower 
population density. Such migrations vary according to the distance travelled and the 
extent to which the agriculture practised in the homeland differs from that practised 
in the new lands* In some oases such migrations represent an attempt to find farming 
conditions comparable with what was found in the past in the homeland. 



- 19 - 




(VH NI) 



aaa aiaviivAv ONVT 



- 20 - 



In situations of change, it would therefor* be inaccurate to think that farming 
ey at erne were adapted only in the direction of intensification of agriculture* They 
usually are | and this is consistent with the prevailing trends towards increasing 
population density and increasingly difficult access to land* But this is by no means 
always the case: where people move from an area of higher population density to one of 
lower population density and easier access to land, this may be accompanied by an 
extensifioation of agriculture. Boserup ( 1965s 63) gives as an example the European 
(especially German and Italian) colonisers in south Brazil, who descended in the techno- 
logical scale rather than ascended, when they met with rather different conditions in 
the country they came to from the one they left. 

Likewise Richards ( 1939 * 289) says that it was difficult to find out how long the 
Bemba of Zambia had followed their practice of shifting cultivation, "citemene", involving 
only an axe to cut down branches, and why they differed from kindred peoples in this 
respect* Some of her informants told her that they only learned it when they arrived 
in this particular locality; before that they were in an adjacent territory, Lubaland, 
and the Bemba "hoed like the other people 11 when they were still there. 

A more recent example of extensifioation of agriculture through migration is 
provided by seasonal migrants in the east of Nigeria, who travel from areas of high 
population density in I bo land (e.g. Udolca Court area of the Awka Upland and Eseagu 
County of Udi Plateau) to adjacent areas of lower population density (e.g. Nikeland 
north of Enugu), anything from about 20 to 100 km away (Grossman 1974x205)* According 
to this author, at least one third of the population of northern Iboland is affected by 
this form of migration. Most migrants live in camps consisting on average of 30 house- 
holds. They spend 6 to 9 months in the camps, but retain their permanent home bases, 
paying periodic home visits whose frequency depends on the distance between farm and 
village. The migrants take out yearly leases with the local land owners (payment some- 
times in kind in the remoter areas, but usually in cash) which are usually renewed on 
expiry. The migrants farm food crops exclusively (especially yams in the first year, 
followed by cassava in the second, then a bush fallow for 3 to 6 years) and the exclusion 
of economic trees is almost invariably specified in the tenancy agreements; or else the 
landlords permit planting of trees but insist that ownership reverts to them after 
expiry of the lease. 

Another example of migration from areas of higher to lower population densities is 
the important migration route into the humid forest zones of West Africa from the sub- 
humid and sahelian zones to the north. Until recently the southern forest zones were 
inhabited mainly by low densities of farmers practising shifting cultivation. Many of 
these forest have been opened up by roads constructed by logging companies in connection 
with the selective harvesting of timber. Rapid changes in land use were observed during 
the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s in Ghana, when much of the forest in the south of the country 
was turned over to the cultivation of cocoa. (For a description of this process from 
the samll-holder's point of view, see Hill 1963)* A similar process occurred in 
neighbouring Ivory Coast with both large-scale and smallholder plantations of coffee, 
cocoa and oil palm. In addition to the local farmers, large numbers of other people 
were attracted to these areas ty the availability of unskilled paid jobs with the timber 
companies and on the state plantations. In accordance with the patterns of labour 
migration in West Africa, these labourers mostly came from the north: in the case of 
southwest Ivory Coast, from the savanna zones just north of the forest (especially 
Baoule people from the region of Bouakfc) and from further north, even as far as the 
Sahel (especially Nossi people from Upper Volta). 

Such migrations and changes in land use patterns have of course had profound 
consequences on the local farmers. Following the example of large-scale private and 
state perennial cash crop plantations in which they provided much of the labour force, 
many of them have turned to permanent cultivation of perennial cash crops in addition 
to their subsistence farming. This suggests that the lack of roads and access to 
markets was an important factor in determining the local people's way of life as 
subsistence farmers; and that as soon as conditions changed and they had access to 
markets, they switched to a way of life which was more profitable to them. 



- 21 - 



The migrant farmers have sometimes been confused with the local farmers and mis- 
leadingly called shifting cultivators** In fact, a substantial difference in land use 
patterns can be observed between the local farmers and the immigrant farmers* Rouw 
(1979 this work is summarised in the Ivory Coast case study) compared the cultivation 
practices of Oubi local farmers and Baoule immigrant farmers in the southwest of Ivory 
Coast* She found differences in food crops grown: the Baoule grow mainly yams, the 
Oubi mainly hill rice* She found differences in cultivation techniques: the Baoule have 
a greater use of fire in land preparation than the Oubi; the Baoule, coming from 
savannah areas, are not used to the axe, but cut trees with a machette and prepare yam 
mounds with a hoe; whereas the Oubi use the forest farmer's traditional tool, the axe* 
But most strikingly, the great majority of the land which is cleared by the Baoule farmers 
is subsequently planted with coffee or cocoa* They do not use fallows for the regene- 
ration of soil fertility* They practise permanent, not shifting, cultivation with food 
crops in the early years of plantation establishment. The local farmers, on the other 
hand, continue practising shifting cultivation of food crops on some of their land with 
an average of one to two years 1 cultivation followed by three to four years fallow 
period; and on other parts of their land they have switched to the permanent cultivation 
of tree crops with food crops during the first year of plantation establishment. 

One consequence of this change in land use from shifting cultivation to perennial 
cash crops is that the more forest land is cleared for plantations, the less is available 
for agriculture (this also is one of the problems encountered when establishing forest 
plantations by the "taungya" system, and caused a lot of farmers to resent the system). 
The local farmers are likely to suffer most in the long run, since when their land runs 
out, they have nowhere to go. Whereas the Baoule immigrants firstly usually retain 
links with family in their area of origin, some of whom will be farming food crops there; 
secondly, they have moved at least once and will probably find it easier to more again 
than the local farmers, many of whom have no experience of other areas* Thus land for 
food crop cultivation is becoming scarce in some areas of SW Ivory Coast which have 
experienced a rush of tree crop plantation* To quote the title of a recent publication 
on the same subject and the sane area (Ruf 1982); "Ma forfct est finie* Ob planter 
I'igname?"* Land scarcity has brought on conflicts between local and immigrant farmers, 
which are at the root of arson attacks whereby cocoa and coffee plantations are 
maliciously burned (Fraterniti Matin Ivory Coast newspaper article of 18 March 1983, 
p. 10). 

3. SHIFTING CUI/TIVATION AHD PLANNED CHANGE 

It would be quite wrong to think that shifting cultivation in all its forms was an 
unsatisfactory form of land use* Okigbo (1981:41) states that bush fallow systems can 
be stable, ecologically sound and efficient farming and land use system; and Nye and 
Greenland (i960) argue that until now we have failed to evolve a superior method of 
staple food cultivation in the tropics. It should be stressed that problems of land 
scarcity, population pressure* soil degradation and decreasing yields are associated 
not so much with shifting cultivation but more with short fallow cultivation in areas 
where shifting cultivation was once practised, but where conditions have changed so 
that it is no longer possible to leave a long fallow period, and where the fertiliser 
and other inputs needed for a more intensive land use are too expensive or not available* 



* If the term shifting cultivation has been mistakenly applied to these migrants it is 
because they plant food crops in the early years of plantation establishment* The 
term is inappropriate because food crops are only tolerated as long as they do not 
rival the perennial agricultural crop species, and the latter is not grown in order 
to regenerate soil fertility for food crop production* 



- 22 - 



Priority planning effort should therefore be addressed to these "crisis" areas of 
short fallow cultivation; not to areas where it is still possible to restore soil 
fertility and forest vegetation lay sufficiently long periods of fallow. One type of 
planning effort concerns the improvement of fallow cultivation; the other concerns its 
replacement by other forms of cultivation. These will be treated in turn. In both 
oases the role of trees (forest or agricultural crop) is of utmost importance. This is 
because it is widely recognized that planted trees, in the same way as trees which 
grow naturally in the fallow f can play a crucial role in controlling erosion, 
suppressing and eliminating herbaceous and woody weeds and in restoring soil fertility 
(Orinnell 1975:21). Alternatives to fallow cultivation which have involved complete 
land clearance including desturaping and a change to other forms of agriculture without 
trees, for example annual crops, have often not been successful (see Senegal case study) , 



3,1 Improvements to shifting cultivation 

3.1.1 Regulating the fallow period? the "couloir" or corridor system 

Jurion and Henry (1967) and Tondeur (in PAO 1956) describe the efforts practised 
in the then Belgian Congo to regulate shifting cultivation by delimiting strips of land 
which were to be cleared then left fallow according to an overall plan for a particular 
area (see Figure 4)* These efforts failed for a variety of reasons (see Ruthenberg 
1980f65), On the technical Bide, such a regular division of the land meant that it was 
impossible to respect the different needs, in terms of fallow years especially, of 
different parts of the land: in other words, some patches of land would be ready for 
recultivation before the appropriate time in the cycle. On the socio-economic side, 
these efforts lacked farmer cooperation. On the contrary, many farmers were forced 
to come to the new villages (called "paysannats") associated with this scheme. Since 
the fanners were obliged to grow a certain amount of cash crops like oil-palm, they 
saw these changes more as a method of social control, tax collection and cash crop 
extraction, than as a method of improving their agricultural techniques (Baya-Vuma, 1983) < 

3.1.2 Planting trees and grasses in the fallow in ord,er to regenerate 
soil fertility in a shorter period of time 

The practice of substituting artificially established woody legumes for natural 
bush fallow vegetation is an old idea of proven value for edible varieties of pigeon 
pea, but the potential of the technique for other woody legumes which yield firewood 
and other by-product^ while at the same time contributing to the restoration of soil 
fertility, has yet to be explored (Raintree 1981:115). 

Let us mention in passing one example, from the Ibo heartland (Awgu and Nsukka 
Divisions) of farmers who, according to Grossman (1974:206), plant "Aoioa barteri" J/ 
a coppicing shrub but not a legume, in order to shorten the fallow period. Nevertheless 
the point is taken that there are many more trees and shrubs which, if planted in the 
fallow, could help to increase the speed at which sufficient soil fertility is re- 
established in order to plant the next agricultural crop. 



1/ Aoioa barter i is a fast-growing, shrub capable of growing in dense stands, evergreen, 
useful for green firebreaks, yam sticks, tomato stakes and possibly fuelwood. It is 
sometimes planted, and is found from Sierra Leone to Nigeria, also in Zaire 
(R, Levingston, 1983), 



Figure 4: The "couloir" or oorridor system of regulating cultivation 
end fallow periods 



PLAN 



NORD 



A 




B 



"Reoru" i forest regrowth 

'Culture 11 : cropping 

"Defriohement" s clearing 

11 an" or "annee"* year 

"route" i road 



~ 24 - 



Raintree also lists the desirable characteristics of species for planting in 
fallows, followed by the speoies which appear to conform most closely to at least some 

of these characteristics: 

Characteristics of ideal speoies 

! High N-fixation oapaoity 

2. Fast growing 

3. Capable of restoring soil fertility and suppressing weeds in a shorter 
time than natural bush fallow 

4* Able to provide good erosion control 

5* Easy to establish rapidly and economically 

6* Easy to harvest 

7. By-product yields provide significant additional economic incentive 
(e.g. food f forage, firewood, fibre, building materials, staking, etc.) 

8. Special adaptive characteristics (e.g. promiscuous nodulation; 
tolerance of drought, acid soils, high altitudes, cultural acceptability, 
history of previous looal use, etc.). 

Some promising woody legume species/genera for trial and evaluation 

Habit 

Aoaoia aurlouliformis tree 

Albieia fal cat aria tree 

Cajanus oajan shrub 

Calliandra oallothyrsus small tree 

Cassia spp. tree 

Crotolaria juncea shrub 

Desroanthus spp. shrub 

Desmodium spp. shrub 

Enterolobium cvclocarpum tree 
Leucaena leucocephala shrub/tree 

Mimosa scabrella tree 

Sesbania grandl flora tree 

Tephrosia Candida shrub 

(Source: Raintree 1980:115). 

Although a number of projects and field trials are being carried out in several 
countries, there is as yet little information on the implementation of planting in 
fallows, and the acceptance of the principle by farmers. 

In Madagascar, the project "Rest duration et mise en valeur des 'savoka'" (see 
Appendix and Madagascar case study), concerns in principle the rehabilitation of the 
vegetation, called 'savoka' which grows during the fallow period after the cultivation 
of hill rice and other associated crops (maize, beans). The planting of "Or evil lea" 
in "savoka' 1 was tested with the trees growing in the fallow for three years, then being 
cut for fuelwood when the "savoka" was cleared for rice cultivation* Better yields 
of rice were obtained than on similar lands left fallow for three years without 
"Qrevillea"* (Be, 1983). 

In Benin, a government programme has encouraged small farmers to plant Aoaoia 
auriouliformis in their fallow land in order to enrich the soil with nitrogen and humus 
and at the same time produce fuelwood quickly (see Appendix)* By 1982 some 200 000 
saplings had been produced for distribution by local organizations. However, they have 
not all been planted, because the farmers have not yet appreciated the soil-enriching 
properties of the tree (the programme only started in 1980), and they prefer to plant 
Tectona (teak) and Eucalyptus because their stems are straighter for poles and also 
the leaves of the latter are appreciated for their medicinal qualities* 



-25- 



A major problem with this scheme is that the length of the fallow period is 
gradually being reduced and it is now three years, sometimes even two years* The land 
shortage is acute, and the population density increasing rapidly, so the trend of 
shortening fallows is continuing. Three year old Acacia can still produce about 7 m^ 
of fuelwood per ha per year, but if cut before that time, the full advantages of planting 
Acacia, in particular those related to regeneration of soil fertility, would not be felt. 
On the other hand, it is impossible to persuade the farmers to leave the land fallow for 
longer since they need it to plant food crops for their own subsistence needs. 

The long-term aim of the project is that the farmers should transfer from a distri- 
bution of fallow between fields (fallow years follow cultivation years) to a distribution 
of fallow within each field (some parts of the land are in fallow while others are being 
cultivated): Acacia would be planted in rows, with food crops between them and a rotation 
organized whereby crops would be grown on soil enriched \yy the Acacia. However, the lack 
of opportunities for marketing surplus produce is a major disincentive to the intensi- 
fication of agriculture in this area (Tran Van Nao, 1983)* Such agro forestry techniques 
will be discussed fully in a later section. 

3.1.3 Making better use of cleared vegetation; 
The Subri Conversion Technique 

The assumption - as we have seen, partly misleading - that burning vegetation is 
wasteful is at the basis of a number of attempts at improving shifting cultivation by 
replacing fire with other techniques of clearing. One such attempt has been named 
the "Subri Conversion Technique", after the Subri Forest Reserve in Ghana where it was 
developed (see Appendix and Ghana case study). It is a technique for clearing forest 
without burning and with the maximum use of the cut vegetation: most of it is to be 
extracted as sawn lumber, some as charcoal f some as fuelwood, and some for small local 
industries like carving and basket weaving; and the remainder, the small branches and 
leaves, are to be used as green mulch for the agricultural crop. 

Although field trials have already been carried out within the forest reserve and 
results made known (see Earl 1982), no effort has yet been made to introduce the 
technique to farmers outside the reserve. Those farmers employed as labourers within 
the reserve, however, will have had an opportunity of observing the new practices. The 
field trials indicate that income from the Subri Conversion Technique exceeds expendi- 
ture by about USS 831 per ha before taking into account food production and the benefits 
derived by private entrepreneurs. Table 4 indicates the product and its value on site 
per ha, and gives details of arrangements made with charcoal entrepreneurs. 

Subri Conversion Technique 

Output and value of product on site for 1 ha of 

a 100- ha programme 



Product 


Unit Value 
AS*Wtf USS/nP 


Total Value 


ust 


Sawn lumber -/ 

2/ 
Charcoal -/ 

Fuelwood 


5.8 n 3 655 
4.0 m 3 600 
50 m 3 (piled) 17 


3799.00 
2400.00 
850.00 


Grand Total 




7049.00 


I/ 15.3 m 3 at 38$ 
z/ Entrepreneurs pay 4t (40$ of product) to the project. 
The remaining 6t (60$) is marketed by themselves and 
represents an additional benefit to the eoonony. 



Source; Earl 1982: 23 



- 26 - 



On the other hand, the direct costs of the Technique are about 2.9 times those of 
the ordinary cut-and-burn technique and require about 37 per cent more labour (Earl 
1982: 23) These last two facts probably mean that to the small farmer with limited 
capital and limited labour resources, the new technique is not a feasible proposition* 
Moreover, the trials comparing- the Subri Conversion Technique with the cut-and-burn 
technique have taken into account forest tree production, but not agricultural crop 
production (see Table 4 above), which is, of course, what the farmers are primarily 
interested in. 

Finally, since the land has been used very differently inside and outside the 
Subri Reserve, the vegetation to be cleared is also rather different. Therefore, results 
of trials in high forest areas inside the reserve may not be applicable outside the 
reserve, where there is no high forest left, and where vegetation is being out after 
only a few years 1 growth. For all these reasons, one may expect farmers to have a 
cautious outlook in relation to any technique of clearing without burning, unless of 
course the farmers themselves are to make significant profits, for example from inorear- 
sed sale of charcoal, timber or food crops. 

3.2 Alternatives to shifting cultivation 

3.2.1 Cultivation of food crops in the early years of a For esti*y Department 
plantation: "individual taungya" 

Taungya is a word of Burmese origin (taung hill, ya cultivation, see King 
1968:6) designating a system of large-scale forest plantation establishment used by 
Forestry Departments, in which food crops are interplanted between trees in the early 
years of plantation establishment. Two broad types of 'taungya 1 are distinguished, 
according to the farmer's role: 

a) "individual taungya 11 or "own your own crop" (Olawoye 1975:229) (also known as 
"traditional taungya" or "private taungya"), where the farmer plants trees 

in return for use of the land for a limited period of time; 

b) "departmental taungya" or "farming for pay" (also known as "direct taungya") 
in which the farmer carries out jobs for the forestry department, related 
to plantation establishment and agricultural crop production, in return 

for a wage. 

None of the documents seen makes any reference to the fact that farmers may be 
practising "individual taungya" as an alternative to, or alongside, shifting cultiva- 
tion. However, examples of "individual taungya" exist in humid areas of West Africa 
where shifting cultivation has been and still is practised today by fanners on some 
of their fields. In such cases, taungya appears to be, if not an alternative to 
shifting cultivation, at least a parallel additional system. 

There are many accounts of profitability of taungya from the point of view of 
Forestry Departments which practise it to this day in order to establish plantations at 
low cost (see, for example, the cost/benefit analysis of taungya proposals for Sierra 
Leone in FAO/World Bank, 1982). There are, on the other hand, relatively few accounts 
of how profitable or acceptable taungya is from the farmer's point of view. 

Under a system of "individual taungya", farmers are given access to plots of land 
in which they must plant trees which are the property of the Forestry Department. In 
return they may cultivate the spaces between the trees with food crops, the produce of 
which is their own. Depending on the crops and trees grown, and the Forestry Depart- 
ment regulations, the farmer may cultivate the land with certain prescribed crops for 
between one and three years, after which time the trees will have grown enough to shade 
out any food crops. At this point the farmer has no choice but to move to another area. 
If the Forestry Department is continuing to plant trees in the same way at this time, 
and if the Department is pleased with the way the farmer has looked after the saplings, 
then he may be offered another plot for use. If not, he will have to search for land 
elsewhere. 



As an alternative to shifting cultivation, this is likely to represent a move from 
greater security of land tenure to lesser security for those farmers accustomed to 
cultivation outside forest reserves where they have permanent customary rights in land. 
Under "taungya" the land most definitely belongs to the State since it is part of the 
forest reserve. The farmer who is allocated one plot after the other by the Forestry 
Department can have a certain illusion of security of land tenure; however, in practice, 
departments do not continue their reforestation programmes year after year, and there 
always comes a time when no more land is available for "taungya". Also, there may not 
be enough land in forest reserve for everyone who would like access to it, so some 
farmers have to do without* 

Since the farmer has no long-term rights to this permanent forest estate, there 
must be short-term incentives. One of these is access to cultivable land where such 
land is scarce* Indeed, it has been pointed out that the successful working of 
"taungya 11 is associated with a shortage of land suitable for agriculture (see King 
1968:57). Ball and Umeh ( 1981: 12) refine this by saying that the desire to farm on 
forest land is not necessarily caused merely by a shortage of agricultural land but by 
a shortage of fertile agricultural land - the forest land being seen as particularly 
fertile. Indeed Ball and Umeh state that "taungya 19 has not succeeded where there is 
available fertile agricultural land. The other short-term interest is, of course, the 
one to three years 1 agricultural crop. But since the crop under the "taungya 11 system 
is much reduced in relation to the area cleared, on account of the space and labour 
spent on the sapplings, it is clear that the farmer would only choose this system if he 
could not otherwise get access to similar land. 

Because of these factors, it is understandable that the Forestry Departments have 
had problems in their attempts to smoothly administer the "taungya" system of reforest- 
ation. In Togo, new "taungya" regulations introduced in 1958 (see Appendix) for 
grouping plots rather than allowing them to be dispersed as previously, triggered off 
a wave of protests against the "taungya" system, in particular the restriction on which 
crops to grow, and against the very principle of setting aside forest reserves: fanners 
resented the fact that they were being deprived of forest land to which they felt they 
had inalienable customary rights. There resulted a 'massive and uncontrollable 
invasion of the forests by the traditional custodians, who went as far as planting 
forbidden crops - oil palms, coffee, cocoa, etc. 1 (Nadjombe 1982:71). In the early days 
of independence, therefore, the "taungya" system was suspended. 

In 1972 "taungya" was reintroduced in Togo with FAO assistance (see Appendix), 
but this time with added incentives in the form of bonuses in cash and in kind. However, 
two problems were faced: first, the farmers objected to the fact that it was not 
possible to carry out crop rotations; and second, the plantations were far from human 
settlements. Since there was no shortage of grasslands around the forest reserves and 
nearer the settlements, the plantations were gradually deserted in favour of the less 
fertile agricultural land. Once more the "taungya" system was disbanded. The next 
experiment in Togo was in "departmental taungya" (see below). 

In Nigeria, three types of bonuses were being considered in 1981 in order to make 
"taungya" more attractive to farmers: subsidized food (obtained from "departmental 
taungya"); assistance with land clearing, crop processing and crop storage; and cash 
bonuses for successfully planted trees (Ball and Umeh 1981:9, 12). However, it remains 
doubtful to what extent even such bonuses can remedy the situation. 

In Ghana, "individual taungya" was introduced in 1928, in order to satisfy the 
farmers' demand for cultivable land in areas of land shortage, and the foresters' demand 
for establishing a tree crop at reduced cost: the farmer bore the cost of the major 
item of expenditure in plantation managements site clearing. According to Brookman- 
Andssah ( 1978: 4), "it cannot be said that success was commensurate with effort", since, 
as in Togo, the early plots were small, scattered, not too easily accessible, and did 
not constitute manageable plantation units. Moreover, tending of the tree crop was 
inadequate, especially after the farmer had left the site. 



- 28 - 



In 1968 the afforestation effort in Ghana was intensified (eee Appendix), which 
meant a sudden increase in the amount of land which was available to the "taungya 11 
fanner | "perhaps more than he really needed for his subsist enoe agriculture or could 
cope with* Sinoe genuine land hunger is seen by many as one of the prerequisites for 
a successful "taungya" system, it is easy to visualize the forester's difficulty to get 
from the farmer his best performance. One may therefore say that from that day the 
forester, in these large afforestation areas, oeased to be the benefactor who dished out 
portions of his forest estate to the land hungry farmer and became very dependent on 
the farmer's goodwill for the establishment of his tree crop at low cost." (Broolonan- 
Amissah 1978:4)* 

The sudden increase in land available for "taungya" created a situation in which 
some entrepreneurs found the large tracts suitable for commercial farming (ibid p. 6)t 
"taungya 1 ' was being used by big farmers, and small farmers were being overlooked* In 
order to manage a situation which was getting out of control, in particular "to obviate 
the problems posed by overabundance of land to the farmers" , the Forestry Department 
introduced a system of "departmental taungya" in 1969 

In Liberia an alternative way of controlling the amount of land available to each 
"taungya" farmer was introduced by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in 1974 
(see Appendix): land preparation up to, and including, the phase of burning is carried 
out by the FDA, and then farmers come in and plant one rice crop at a nominal fee of 
US? 20 per acre. "The fee is charged to control the acreage given to each household 
and to help retain part of the cost for land preparation" (Appleton 1982:8). This 
system can be seen as part of the way between "individual" and "departmental" "taungya", 
but has been classed with the former since the farmer retains the use of the agricultural 
crop. Only 1,400 acres, capable of accommodating 400 households, are reaf forested 
annually. The main benefits are reported as "reduction in the cost of reafforestation 
as farmers perform the initial task of tending the plantations. Increase in the 
production of upland rice through increase in cultivated acreage and improved seeds". 
(Appleton 1982:9) From the fanner's point of view, this system looks more like a 
yearly tenancy. 

In Sierra Leone there are two variants on "individual tamgya" (one, unfortuna- 
tely, only at the stage of a proposal, end the other at an early stage of implementation) 
which have particular implications for the farmer. The first (Appendix Sierra Leone 2) 
is similar to the Liberian example just cited in that farmers would pay an annual rent 
for access to the land (though it is not clear whether farmers would be helped in 
clearing the land). The difference with any other "taungya" systems considered here is 
that the agricultural crops are not annuals, but perennials suoh as coffee, cocoa and 
cola, as understoreys in Tertoinalia JLVoreneis and Te.rmi.nalia superba plantations. 
Providing that the arrangement could be renewed, this system would provide the farmers 
with a tenancy arrangement for at least twenty years, or as long as the life of the 
particular crop. This would provide a great deal more security of tenure than the one 
or two years "squatting" arrangement under "taungya" with annual food crops. 

It was introduced in response to a situation where it became increasingly diffi- 
cult for government to obtain additional land for forest plantations or even to retain 
the existing forest estate, because of a growing feeling in the country that landowners 
who had given up land for forest reserves and protected forests generally did not 
receive adequate or immediate compensation (Koroma 1982:69)* The government has thus 
been encouraged to consider the farmers' desire for increased land security. 

The second variant on "individual taungya" (Appendix Sierra Leone 3) is a proposal 
for community fuelwood plantations and community forestry plantations, to be established 
by farmers under the "taungya" system. Farmers, however, would benefit not only from 
the food crops planted in the early years of establishment, but also from the forest 
trees: it is clearly stated that "There should be no equivocation at any time as to which 
party would benefit from the sale of fuelwood or poles arising out of a farmer's opera- 
tions under the "taungya" system* In this connection, the mission would expect the 



-29- 



farmers to be allowed to keep the proceeds of any harvesting of such material that he 
undertakes, subject perhaps to payment of a small license fee." (PAO/World Bank 1982 
Ann. 1, p. 19). 

It is precisely because the farmer is to profit from the forest trees that the 
project is called "community forestry 11 ; and it is for the same reason that the word 
"taungya" is inappropriate, since a characteristic of "taungya" systems is that the 
farmers do not profit from the forest trees. Here, the term agroforestry would be 
more appropriate: the farmer himself is combining the production of agricultural orops 
and forest trees, both to be managed \yy him for his own profit. In this way the farmer 
is highly motivated to care for both crops, not just the agricultural crops as under 
"individual taungya", or neither, as under the system of "departmental taungya". 

3.2.2 Paid_ Labour:, "departmental taungya" 

"Departmental taungya" is distinguished from "individual taungya" by the fact that 
produce from the agricultural crop planted in the early years of plantation establish- 
ment belongs to the Forestry Department, which rewards the agricultural worker with a 
wage. Prom the worker ! s point of view, therefore, "departmental taungya" is similar to 
other types of agricultural paid labour and radically different from "individual 
taungya": under the latter system, the fanner depends on his food crop for subsistence 
and is therefore highly motivated to take care in growing it, whereas under the former 
system, the paid labourer is only motivated to the extent that he will continue to 
receive his wage at the end of his work. It is therefore not surprising that Forestry 
Departments complain of 'lack of discipline 1 among their "taungya" labourers and that 
administrative costs are high. In Togo, the cost to the State of the food crop produc- 
tion under Forestry Department supervision 'exceeds acceptable limits' (Nadjombe 1982:7). 

If and when the system of "departmental taungya" runs smoothly without excessive 
administration problems, it can be a cheaper way of establishing a plantation than 
"individual taungya". And this despite the fact that the Department has to pay for the 
farmer's labour - the main cost of the operation - whereas under the previous system 
the farmer himself bore most of the production costs like clearing, planting and weeding 
the saplings. Ball and Umeh ( 198 1:8) calculated the economic rate of return in the 
establishment of teak and Qmelina arborea plantations in Nigeria under three different 
systems in 1975 and in 1980. "Departmental taungya" showed the highest returns for both 
species and at both dates, followed by "individual taungya", then by direct planting. 

But the same authors state that the area under "departmental taungya" in Nigeria 
has declined considerably between 1975 and 1980 (see Appendix), and this partly because 
of administrative reasons, not only at the local level, but also higher up: for 
example the system was stopped completely in Ondo State, because revenue realized on 
food crops usually went to the agricultural division of the Ministry. In 1981, only 
Cross River and Ogun States were still carrying on "departmental taungya". Ball (l977si) 
sums up the faults of the "departmental taungya" as "low agricultural crop yields and 
high supervisory commitments." 

A further difference between departmental and individual "taungya" is that whereas 
the latter attracts mainly local farmers, the former may in addition attract people from 
other areas and even from towns, who are in search of a wage. Ball and Umeh (198!: 2) 
state that "departmental taungya" introduced into Cross River State of Nigeria in 1971, 
is operated by "forest labourers who may have no previous experience in farming". In 
such oases it is easy to see why the agricultural crop yields may be low. However, this 
brings us beyond the scope of this study since for such labourers, "taungya" can in no 
way represent an alternative to shifting cultivation. 



- 30 - 



3*2.3 Permanent cultivation of annual crops; Lowland rioe 

Both the Sierra Leone and the Madagascar case studies give examples of projects 
which have attempted to encourage the production of lowland rainfed or irrigated rice 
as a substitute for upland rice cropping* 

The major advantage of the former is its greater productivity per hectare and 
possibility of producing more than one crop per year. A number of advantages and 
disadvantages need to be considered to obtain a balanced view of what is an intensive 
and stabilized form of agriculture developed in Asia due to shortage of land available 
for more extensive forms of agriculture* 

(a) High cost of irrigation in Africa up to the present time. However, only 
a small percentage of rioeland is irrigated, much of it is swampland and 
valley bottom. Once initial preparation of the rice field is completed, 
labour costs of maintenance are relatively low compared to that required 
for clearing at successive intervals for the bush fallow-cycle. 

(b) African farmers prefer working on upland rice on account of water-borne 
diseases (Bilharzia, Malaria, Guinea Worm). Development of new safe, 
effective low-cost drugs and the possibility of integrated pest control 
can substantially improve the health of farmers working under these 
conditions (T.N. Mather, 1983). 

(c) Upland rice permits mixed cropping; a possibility not explored BO far 
in valley-bottom rainfed or irrigated rice in Africa, The practice is 
common in Asia, however and could result in its introduction to lowland 
rice culture, 

(d) Swamp and irrigated rice have the basic advantage of continued produc- 
tivity during periods of cyclical drought when upland rice crops fail. 

In summary, the Asian example of intensive development of swampland and rainfed 
valley bottom land could provide Africa with a means of attaining intensive cultivation 
of a staple crop under a stabilized system. However, the possibility of improving 
upland rice cultivation must not be ignored and the use of agroforestry techniques 
appears appropriate (planted fallows, alley cropping: see 3.2,4)* 

3.2.4 Agroforestry: alley cropping ancL multistorey intercropping. 

Agroforestry is already practised by many African small farmers (see Olafson 
1982: 14ff). However, there is considerable agreement among scientists that agro- 
forestry could, if practised more widely, provide a solution to some of the problems 
experienced with fallow agriculture in conditions of rising population densities and 
increasing land shortage (see Vergara 1981, Raintree 1980: 108); indeed this is the 
assumption behind much of the work of the International Council for Research in Agro- 
forestry (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. Accordingly, certain field trials have been carried 
out in experimental research stations. For example, both the International Institute 
of Tropical Agriculture (lITA) at Ibadan, Nigeria and ICRAF have been carrying out 
field trials with alley cropping of the fast-growing woody leguminous genus Leucaena 
(see Hartmans 1981 and Okigbo 1981*44 for IPTA and Raintree 1980:116 below for ICRAF) * 
Unfortunately, there is as yet little information on the acceptability of these tech- 
niques to fallow farmers, since trials have been carried out in areas of permanent 
cultivation. 

Work on the intensification of agriculture based on agroforestry techniques is 
particularly promising because it emphasizes the close relationship between the type 
of agricultural improvement on the one hand and the availability of labour and the 



- 31 - 



Pi 



e_5t 



Hypothetical pathway for sustained-yield intensification 
in tropical farming systems 



A 



LABOUR 
INTENSITY 




Multistorey Intercropping 



Alley Cropping 



Planted Fallows 



>5 50 

R-Value 

LAND USE INTENSITY 



75 



100+ 



(Sources Raintree 1980:113). 



- 32 - 



intensity of land use on the other hand. Figure 5 presents a hypothetical progression 
from planted fallows to intensive multistorey intercropping, suitable for maintaining 
or improving per capita fields on a fixed land base under conditions of population 
pressure and land shortage* 

a) In the early stage of intensification, as land pressure converts long-fallow 
farmers into short-fallow farmers, the use of appropriate tree legumes as 
planted fallows can increase and sustain the productivity of the land at 
fairly low labour costs. 

b) By initially planting the fallow trees in appropriately spaced rows, the 
stage is set for the next phase of intensification in which progressively 
shorter rotations eventually result in permanent cultivation in the alleys 
between the pruned hedgerows of vigorously coppicing trees. The concept of 
alley cropping - the production of arable crops in the spaces between rows of 
of woody legumes which are pruned periodically throughout the cropping 
season to control shading and provide green manure mulch - is possibly the 
most versatile, effective, and widely adopt able of recent innovations in 
conservation farming. 

The practicality of the system has been demonstrated for a few arable crops 
and a number of woody legumes all of which f with the exception of Gliricidia 
sepium T have been listed on page 23. The characteristics of these species 
also resemble those on page 23 with additional stress on ability to coppice 
vigorously and yield high volumes of leaf matter under intensive pruning/ 
pollarding as well as a deep rooting habit for drought resistance and 
minimal surface root competition with the arable crops associated with them. 
The range of potential crop combinations and management options has, 
however, only begun to be explored. (Raintree 1980:116). 

c) In the final, increasingly labour intensive, stages of intensification, the 
installed green manure 'fertilizer factories' can be maintained in place 
while additional upperstorey trees and intercropping practices are 
introduced to accommodate higher population densities, as the grandchildren 
and great-grandchildren of the original settlers arrive on the scene: 
multistorey intercropping. Multistorey intercropping is the system which 
offers the closest approximation to the characteristics of the tropical 
forests, and is not act all a new idea. It is in fact a prominent feature 
of compound gardens in densely settled areas of the tropics. The proposal 
here is to incorporate soil-improving economic tree legumes into the 
upperstorey of the system, and to choose species with light or seasonal 
canopies which permit the system to be extended to field crops. 

Here again the characteristics of species ideal for multistorey intercropping 
incorporate high N-fixation capacity, low establishment and maintenance costs and special 
adaptive characteristics. However, a number of other essential characteristics are 
required such as a capacity for fast growth and planting at dense spacing, light canopy 
permitting the growth of understorey crops; deep rooting habit and minimal surface root 
competition; nutrient -rich and readily^humified foliage; high yields of economic 
byproducts such as high-protein pods; capability for easy and cost efficient harvesting 
of the above products. The species suitable for multistorey intercropping are 
Aoacia alb i da Prosopis spp. , Sesbania grandiflora. Leuoaena leuoooephala. Samanea 
saman and Tr""*^"? indioa (Raintree 19BOi 116-117) . 



If the motivation exists, there is no reason why the scheme of intensification here 
envisaged cannot be run "ahead of itself" to generate higher incomes for industrious 
rural families well in advance of population-pressured necessity* The scheme likewise 
admits of great flexibility in the combination of elements from different "stages 11 for 
simultaneous production of optimal products for particular localities (see Raintree 1980 
and 1983) 



- 33 - 



CONCLUSIONS AND 



1. The terras 'shifting cultivation' and especially 'shifting cultivator' have been 
found to be used in a number of inaccurate ways; this has had the effect of 
confusing the variety of agricultural systems found in forest areas and the 
variety of reasons for which forest trees may be cut by different people. It 
is not only misleading to group all these people together; as long as we hold 
inaccurate ideas about 'shifting cultivators' we are unlikely to devise 
satisfactory alternative agricultural strategies for them. Following FAO 
convention and such respected agriculturalists as Ruthenberg, it has been found 
useful to equate shifting cultivation with long fallow agriculture, and to 
distinguish it from short fallow agriculture. 

2. Shifting cultivation as defined above is no longer as common in Africa as formerly. 
It continues to exist in areas of low population density. Short fallow agri- 
culture, on the other hand, is common. 

3 Moreover, shifting cultivation is nowadays usually combined by producers with 
other methods of cultivation, for example short fallow and/or continuous 
cultivation nearer the homes. Two points follow: first, the houses of farmers 
who practise shifting cultivation are usually permanent buildings and do not 
'shift* any more. And second, shifting cultivation is nowadays more usually 
a component in a complex farming system than a complete farming system in itself. 

4. Farmers are constantly and spontaneously adapting their agricultural practices 
to changing conditions of population density and land availability; adapting 
their crop rotation practices and/or switching part of their land to a more 
intensive (or, in appropriate cases, a more extensive) method of land cultiva^- 
tion. 

5. In some areas there may be considerable constraints against the intensification 
of agriculture from shifting cultivation and short fallow cultivation to conti- 
nuous cultivation. One is the low returns to labour of continuous (unmechanized) 
cultivation when compared with short fallow and even more so with shifting 
cultivation. Other constraints are the difficult access to, and high prices of, 
fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, and the lack of security of land 
tenure, which discourages investments in such inputs. 

6. In such areas, a crisis point may be reached, characterized by population 
pressure, land shortage, soil degradation and decreasing yields. Such crisis 
areas may be associated with the abandoning of shifting cultivation in favour 
of short fallow and/or continuous cultivation, but rarely with the continuing 
presence of shifting cultivation. 

1. Interventions are of two types: firstly, improvement of fallow agriculture, 

for example planted fallows, is appropriate where trends of population density 
and distribution of access to land are such that farmers have enough land to 
retain a sufficient fallow period on some or all of their lands in order to 
restore soil fertility; and where this situation seems unlikely to change in 
the near future. 

8. Where it is becoming difficult for small farmers to get access to sufficient 

amounts of land in order to practise fallow agriculture, then it is appropriate 
to turn to alternative methods of cultivation, in particular continuous 
agriculture. Under such conditions, if the farmers have not already switched 
to such alternative methods, it is likely that there are serious constraints. 
Every effort should be made to communicate with the farmers in order to 
determine what these constraints are. 



-34- 



9* Of utmost importance are the physical constraints, about which the farmer is 
likely to have a considerable amount of practical knowledge. For example 
fallow agriculture is often deliberately practised in poorer soils, which need 
quite considerable inputs of fertilizer in order to support continuous 
cultivation. 

10. Socio-economic constraints are also of major importance. Alternatives should 
not assume that farmers have security of land tenure. Rather, this should be 
ascertained. In some oases, it may be necessary to implement a degree of local 
land reform before the 'alternative 1 may be an attractive proposition for fallow 
fanners. This is particularly the case where planting of trees is concerned. 

It should also be ascertained whether the farmers have access to enough labour 
in order to adjust to the higher labour requirements of continuous cultivation? 
and whether they have enough money to buy the fertilizer and other inputs which 
may become necessary* 

11. In order not to burden the farmer with the cost of chemical fertilizer, the use 
of natural fertilizer should be substituted wherever possible. Apart from the 
use of 'green 1 manure, more attention should be devoted to recycling animal 
manure as fertilizer and generally coordinating animal production and crop 
farming activities. 

12. Off-farm activities should always be borne in mind as alternatives to fallow 
farming in crisis areas: particular attention should be devoted to the possi- 
bility of diversification to include such activities as the email-scale exploi- 
tation of wood and other forest products. 

13. The use of perennial as opposed to annual agricultural crops should be encouraged 
where appropriate, in order to exploit the soil in the most stable way. In 
general the planting of trees is seen to be one of the most effective ways of 
preventing soil degradation. 

14 The alternative should also take into account the sexual division of labour: 

in many parts of Africa where fallow agriculture is practised, women carry out 
more of the farming work than men with the exception of clearing. In some places 
they also do clearing work (see Carter and Mends-Cole 1982:62 in respect of 
Liberia) j and in other places they not only carry out farming work but also farm 
in their own right, taking management decisions in their own land and even 
employing male hired labour (see Spiro 1980:19 in respect of Qyo State, Nigeria). 
Interventions in such cases should address women farmers as well as men. 

15* This report has dealt at great length with "taungya" systems. This is largely 

because, being older systems, there is more information about farmers' reactions 
to them. The main conclusion to draw from experience with "taungya" is that 
since it is primarily a system of plantation establishment and since farmers 
derive no profit from the trees they plant which remain the property of the 
Forestry Department, the farmers are not highly motivated to make it work: they 
are mainly interested in getting access to land for their crops. Great scope is 
seen in proposals for agroforestry or community forestry in which the farmers 
have responsibility for the trees they plant, and derive profit from them. 



-35- 



16. Of the many proposed agricultural improvements and alternatives to fallow 
farming (better seed, fertilizers, minimum tillage, green mulch, mixed 
oropping t etc,) only very few have been tried out in collaboration with 
fallow farmers. The great majority have so far been field station trials 
only. Furthermore, some of the practices are already carried out by some 
fallow cultivators, especially mixed cropping and minimum tillage. Again 
what is needed is more of a dialogue with farmers, so that both foresters 
and agriculturalists may learn from farmers considerable local experience, 
and so that alternatives proposed in particular areas may be well adapted 
to the particular needs of the local farmers. 



17* More attention should be paid to the particular reasons wty farmers use fire, 
in the local context. Less emphasis should be placed on fire prevention 
programmes; instead, farmers could be advised on ways of improving fire 
management, bearing in mind the measures they already take. 



- 36- 

APPENDIX 
BENIN 

A. General information 

Location: three southern provinces 
Rainfall: 1,000-15,000 mm annual average 
Population density: 150 persons/km^. 

B. Cultivation practices 

! Main food crops: maize, cassava, yams, beans, grown in the following way: 
average of three successive years of cropping (6 seasons) followed by three 
years of fallow (in the 1960s the fallow period was 6-8 years according to 
PAO/African Development Bank 1982:37). According to Tran Van Nao (pers. 
comm. 1983)f the cultivation period may in some areas be up to four or five 
years, followed by a fallow period of only two to three years. 

2. Main cash crops: oil palm, grown on permanent plots. 

3. Others: fruit and vegetables grown on permanent plots near villages. 

C. Improvement s^ and alt ernali ves 

Government programme of rural development and extension (with the Centre 
d 1 Act ion Regional de DeVeloppement Rural - CARDER - directorate) includes 
three types of action in forest areas: 

1. Teak plantations and nurseries for small farmers 

2. Eucalyptus plantations for fuelwood 

3. Agroforestry for small fanners, in particular, planting fallow land 
with Acacia auriouliformis. in order to enrich the soil with humus and 
nitrogen as well as producing fuelwood quickly (Worou and Tram Van Nao 
1982:10). By 1982, some 200,000 saplings had been produced for distri- 
bution by local cooperative organizations. Not all distributed and 
planted, due to farmer preference for eucalyptus (Tran Van Nao per. 
comm. 1983). 



- 37 - 



GHANA 

A* General information 

Source: Ghana case study exoept where otherwise stated. 

Location: Site of PAO project OHA/7 4/103 "Development of Forestry Energy 

Resources 11 : some 1,432 km 2 in Tarkwa Forest District, southwestern 

Ghana. 412# of this region constitutes the Subri Forest Reserve* 
Rainfall: annual average 1500 mm in the east and 1875 mm in the west of the 

region. 
Population density: 40.6 persons to the km 2 in Tarkwa Administrative District; 

lower in Subri area because of a concentration of population in 

mining towns outside the area in question. 

B. Cultivation practices 

1. Permanent cultivation of tree crops; cocoa (14.69$ of land available for 
agriculture is under cocoa), rubber, oil palm, citrus, coconut palm. Ten 
to 15$ of farmers had permanent crops along with food crops. 

2. Shifting cultivation of food crops (a greater proportion of arable land 

is devoted to SC): maize, cassava, plantain, cocoyam, yams. Mixed cropping, 
on small mounds (except maize). Cultivation period: 2 years (occasionally 
three, rarely four); fallow period three years (though would have preferred 
five or more); (rarely, two and one year, see p. 

C Alternatives 

1. Individual taungya: A system of individual taungya was introduced in 1928 
in Ghana: "The early plots given out were small, of the order of 2-4 hec- 
tares per annum and usually scattered, not too easily accessible and did 
not constitute manageable plantation units. Tending for the tree crop, 
particularly after the farmer had left the site, was therefore inadequate 
and it cannot be said that success was commensurate with effort. The area 
treated by this system, as at December 1966, was 4?774 ha and some 

15,060 ha were added between 1966 and 1973. The afforestation effort was 
intensified in 1968 with an annual target of 13 km^ in 5 forest reserves 
and stepped up in 1972 to an annual target of 104 km 2 scattered over some 
36 forest reserves. This meant more land to the taungya farmer. 11 
(Brookman-Amissah 1978:4). 

In the Subri area, farmers prepare the site (without burning), provide pegs, 
assist with pegging and tending. 

2. Departmental taungya: A different system of taungya was introduced in 1969, 
in an attempt to solve some of the problems caused by an overabundance of 
land available to the taungya farmer: accordingly, the Forestry Department 
was to fulfill all the functions previously performed by the farmer, 
including the marketing of food crops; the proceeds would thus offset the 
cost of establishing the tree crop (Brookman-Amissah 1978:4). The wage 
labourer would have the right to buy a ration of food items from the 
Department . 



-38- 



Proposed improvement: The "Subri Conversion Technique 11 is a technique 
for clearing forest without burning and with the maximum use of cut 
vegetation. Most of it is extracted as wood f charcoal or material for 
small-scale local industries such as carving and basket weaving; and 
the remainder, in the form of small branches and leaves, is to be used 
as green mulch for the agricultural crop* This improvement is being 
introduced in the context of an FAO-supported project, "Development of 
Forestry Energy Resources in Ghana 11 , whose long-term objectives are to 
establish a sustained supply of wood firstly for charcoal production 
for both domestic and industrial use and secondly as raw material for 
a pulp and paper mill (envisaged but no progress yet made in establishing 
the industry). 



-39- 



ITORY COAST 



A. General information 



Source: The Ivory Coast case study. 

Location: southwest Ivory Coast; bordered in the west by the Liberian 

frontier and in the east by the Sassandra River. 
Rainfall: annual average 1600 (NE) to 2400 (SW) mm 
Population density: 3+/km 2 in 1976 (l.4/bn 2 in 1972). 

B. Cultivation practices 

1. Forest people (oubi, Bakyfe) 

a) Pood crops especially hill rice (also manioc, bananas). 
Cultivation period 1-2 years; fallow period 3-4 years. 

b) Tree crops (coffee, cocoa) plus food crops in years 1,2. 
Use axe, do not make mounds. 

2. Baoulg immigrants; permanent farming only (p. 21 ); no use of fallows. 
Perennial crops (coffee, cocoa), plus annual food crops in years 1,2: 
yams. Also rice, manioc, vegetables and bananas. Make mounds, use hoe. 

C. Alternative 

Cultivation of perennial agricultural crops. Not necessarily a more stable 
form of landuse. Shifting cultivation has, in this area, been a staple form of 
landuse for several decades during which very low population densities were 
maintained and large tracts of forest were left undisturbed. The pressure on 
forest resources started with the advent of the government-sponsored opening 
up of the area for commercial exploitation, which resulted in the rapid 
development of a pioneer front subject to intense changes in landuse. Although 
this resulted in temporary cultivation to be "stabilized" into permanent 
cultivation, it did not result in a spatial stabilization of landuse, nor in 
a stabilization of the interacting components of the farming system 
(see pp. 149-153 of Ivory Coast case study). 



- 40 - 



LIBERIA 

A. General information 

Location: forest areas nationwide* 

B. Cultivation practices 

! (Prom Ruthenberg 1980:55-6 quoting van Santen 1974t relating to Bong 
Country, central Liberia): 
"Farm holdings include: 

- upland rice (average 1,6 ha: 1-3 crop years followed "by 4-20 
fallow years) ; 

- lowland cultivation: rice followed by sugar cane (for rum, the 
major cash activity); less frequent fallow, mainly for weed control; 

- permanent home plot (about 0.4 ha) with plantains, bananas, 4-5 
different fruit trees, some root crops, and vegetables. 11 

2. (Prom Applet on 1982:2): 

- upland rice intercropped with cassava, maize, pumpkin, vegetables; 
fallow period 3-6 in populated coastal areas, central and upland 
savannah zone of the northwest; and 8-12 years in the sparsely 
populated high forest zones of the northwest and southeast regions* 

C. Alternative 

"Agrisilviculture" (or in the vocabulary used in this report: "taungya") 
incorporated into reforestation programme initiated by the Forestry Development 
Authority (FDA) in 1974. 

"The FDA Scheme slightly differs from countries where agrosilvi culture is 
well developed. Land preparation up to, and including, the phase of burning 
is carried out by the Forestry Development Authority. Farmers then come in 
and plant their rice crop at a nominal fee of $20/acre*. This fee is charged 
to control the acreage given to each household and to help retain part of the 
cost for land preparation. The rice and forest tree crops are planted 
simultaneously. This is done so that the tree will receive an initial boost 
in growth from burnt vegetation and early tending given by the farmers. 

Only rice, maize and pumpkin are allowed to be intercropped with the forest 
trees. After harvesting the rice the agricultural aspect of the programme 
discontinues. The agricultural component is incidental as emphasis is placed 
on the forest tree crops. The present agro-silviculture scheme is very 
localized and is practised on a very moderate scale as compared to the extent 
of the forest destruction and number of households engaged in the swidden/slash 
and burn method of cultivation. At present only 1,400 acres, capable of 
accommodating 400 shifting households, are on the average reforested annually 
under this arrangement," (Applet on 1982:8-9). 



* One Liberian dollar 1 US dollar. 



- 41 - 



MADAGASCAR 



A. General information 

Source: The Madagascar case study. 
Location: Vavatenina, province of Toamasina. 
Rainfall: 2,000 mrof 
Population density: 83/km . 

B. Cultivation practices 

! Hill rice: one to two year cultivation period followed tjy fallow which 
is being reduced from 6 to 3 years. All farmers practise this. 

20 Swamp rice: majority of farmers have at least small amounts of this. 

3 Cash crops; coffee, cloves, bananas, sugar cane, pineapple. All farmers 
grow some. 

Most farmers rely on their own rice for about 3 months in the year; for 
the rest they rely on proceeds from cash crops and from paid labour with 
the few wealthy farmers. 

C. Improvement 

Proposal to enrich fallows with Grevill^a which would be used as fuelwood 
when the fallow was cleared for agriculture. To be implemented if and when 
Phase II of the project is approved. To date, nothing has been attempted with 
regard to enriching the fallow vegetation which, if the title of the project is 
anything to go by, might have been one of the project's main aims. Instead, 
farmers are encouraged to turn to alternative uses of this land apart from the 
fallow cultivation of hill rice. 

D. Alternatives 

Farmers are encouraged to plant perennial agricultural crops on land 
previously devoted to hill rice. Also to cultivate more swamp rice in order 
to depend lees on hill rice; in this context, irrigation schemes are being 
devised for the slopes, and some terracing is under way. Finally, some slopes 
are being planted with eucalyptus trees for fuelwood. 



NIGERIA 

A. General information 

Source: Ball and Umeh 1981. 

Location: Nine states in southern Nigeria: Anambra, Bendel, Benue, 
Cross River, Imo, Kwara, Ogun, On do, Oyo. 

B. Cultivation practices 

No details on cultivation practices of those who practise taungya, who are 
either licensees under individual taungya, or paid workers under departmental 
taungya. But these are areas of fallow agriculture. 

C. Alternatives^ 

1. Individual taungya (or traditional taungya): "In 1Q7 r , there were 24,/]?7 
traditional taungya farmers in the southern states of Nigeria. It was 
estimated that a further 19,500 people had casual employment for <s~10 weeks 
of the year in traditional taungya farms, but :v.> rel.;aile figures could bo 
obtained of the number of family members uf th^ taun^va *\irmer who worked 
on the farm. In 1979t however, the number of t aurvr.V' 1 farmers had fallei] 
to 17 1 744? despite the area of traditional t?iun/^y;i .having remained nearly 
the same and the availability in some states of tauM^ya f:irm? which were 
not planted with trees. 

This may reflect the continuing lack of recruit p to traditional taungya 
farming (see Olawoye 1975 ^d- Ball 1?77) Another factor affecting employ- 
ment in taungya farming has been the recent introduction of universal 
primary education; there may be fewer young family members available, 
resulting in an increase in casual employment during land preparation, 
mounding and harvesting. 

Yams, maize and vegetables, which make the greatest demands on soil 
fertility, are grown first, followed by cassava. A second crop of rnaize 
may be grown, but it is low yielding and is generally used for seed the 
following year. In the past it was forbidden to grow certain crops, such 
as cocoa, rubber, plantains, etc., because they were permanent or semi- 
permanent crops which competed with the forest crop and could lead to 
alienation of the forest reserve if they grew for long enough to establish 
some sort of rights. Crops such as rice or guinea corn were banned because 
they are aggressive root competitors and tobacco was banned probably because 
of root eel worm. Cassava could only be grown if it was the erect and not 
the spreading variety, but when taungya started in Bendel State forty years 
ago it was banned completely. These rules have now been considerably relaxed. 
Plantains may be grown in Ogun, Ondo and Oyo States as boundary markers and 
in Bendel State throughout the plot. Rice and guinea corn are raised in 
Bendel, Kwara and the Eastern States. 



- 43 - 



The tree crops planted in Nigeria are presented in the following table: 



Tree species planted in taungyra farms in some States 
of Southern Nigeria in 1975 



Tree Species, in order of importance 

Anambra Gmelina arbor ea Teak 

Bendel Gmelina arbor ea, Teak, Opepe, White Afara 

Cross River Gmelina arbor ea 

Imo Gmelina arbor ea, Teak, White Afara, Opepe 

Kwara Qmelina arbor ea. White Afara, Teak 

Ogun Qmelina arbor ea, Teak, Opepe 

Ondo Teak, Gmelina arbor ea, White Afara, Opepe 

Oyo Gmelina arborea 



Generally the licensees are responsible for tending the tree crop after 
planting until they harvest the final food crop, which is usually cassava. 
In Bendel State, however, the Forest Department do the lining out and 
Pegging but the licensees plant the trees* This can lead to abuse. Poor 
planting and lack of weeding have been noted at several other centres in 
other States, and in some places deliberate damage to trees." 

Departmental taungya: "In 1975/76 there were 1221 jobs created in 
departmental taungya, either in growing or in processing the food crops. 
Ho reliable estimate is now available but the figure has been considerably 
reduced because the area has fallen considerably (from 1448 ha to 405 ha) 
and because none of the cassava crop is processed into gar i . In depart- 
mental taungya the only two crops grown are maize and cassava. In Cross 
River State, two crops of maize may be grown, the second being for seed 
but usually it is only one. A new development is that the Ondo Afforest- 
ation Project will introduce Cowpea this year. 11 



- 44 - 



SENEGAL 

A. General information 

Source: The Senegal case study and Oxby 1983 
Location: Casamance 
Rainfall: 1,000 mm. 

B. Cultivation practices 

1. Permanent cultivation of vegetables , fruit trees, some cereals and 
legumes around villages; usually fertilized with manure. 

2. Short fallow cultivation of millet, sorghum, groundnuts near the 
village. 

3. Wet rice in the swamps. 

4 Long fallow cultivation of cereals and groundnuts in plots cleared 
in the forest away from the village. 

C Alternative 

COOT* carried out mechanical clearing of forest (6,500 ha all together 
were cleared during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s) in order to introduce 
continuous cultivation, mainly of groundnuts and rice. Local farmers 
were not involved much since the project recruited paid workers, many of 
whom came from other regions or countries. Deforestation was increase4 
as a result of the project, and there were severe problems of soil 
degradation, far worse than those associated with the local forms of 
agriculture. 



* Compagnie G6n6rale des OHagineux Tropicaux 



- 45 - 



SIERRA LEONE 1 



A. General information 

Source: The Sierra Leone case study 

Location: Eastern Province 

Rainfall: between 2, 500-3 f 000 mm annual average 

Population density: 50 persons per km^ in Eastern Province in 1974* 

B Cul t ivat i on pract ices 

Upland mixed food crops combined with swamp rice and tree cash crops 
(cocoa, coffee, oil palm). In the case of food crops, average fallow of 
7*4 years in eastern province follows 2 (or sometimes l) years cultivation. 

C. Alternative 

Eastern Province Integrated Agricultural Development Project. 

Implications with respect to fallow: increased concentration on swamp 
rice and some perennial cash crop cultivation (cocoa and oil palm, not 
coffee), with inputs and extension; upland fallow cultivation discouraged, 
especially on steep slopes* 

Achievements: more success with perennial crops than with swamp rice. 

Reasons: farmers 1 preference for upland rather than swamp cultivation, 
on account of its lower labour requirements. 



-46- 



SIERRAJLBOKE 2 



A. General information 

Source: Koroma 1982 
Locat i on : nat i onwi de 

B CultJ. vat i on^pr act ices 

Bush fallow and swamp rice. 

C. Alternatives 

1* The National Progreuanae of Taungya 

The taungya procedure practised in Sierra Leone is as follows: 

"Each year planting areas are demarcated in December or January and invita- 
tions issued through the Paramount Chiefs to the farmers who formerly owned 
the land. It is the original land-owners who have the first rights to farm 
the land in exchange for clearing the bush fallow and following the planting 
guidelines set out by the government. Only the original landowner can reject 
the offer to farm and pass on the rights to someone else. 

After the bush is felled, the cut vegetation is allowed to dry and is then 
burned about March-April. The Forestry Department lists crops that are 
allowed to be cultivated and lays down other requirements. In June-July, the 
young forest trees are planted by the forestry staff, and this is done after 
the farmer has planted his own crops. Spacing for the forest trees varies 
according to site and species to be employed. The general trend is toward 
wide spacing, e.g. 2.5 x 2.5 m, 3 x 3 m, and 45 x 4*5 m for Groelina arbor ea t 
Terminalia ivorensis. T. superba. Cprdia alliodora, and Nauclea diderrichii. 
The principal agricultural crop used in taungya is rice, but farmers are 
allowed to sow maize, guinea corn, peas, sorghum, cassava, and okra. During 
this time, the farmers tend the young trees in addition to their agricultural 
crops. 

After the second, and sometimes the third, year the farmer is allotted 
another plot. In most cases where there is no land hunger and in remote 
areas where the Forestry Department is obliged to carry out rapid afforest- 
ation, the farmers are the forestry employees. Forest villages are built 
for them, and all the agricultural crops they cultivate belong to them." 
(Koroma 1982; 68-9). 

2. Proposed taungya with perennial agricultural crops 

In order to increase agricultural production and provide a longer-term 
arrangement for farmers, the Forestry Department began in 1976 to introduce 
cocoa, coffee and cola as understoreys in Terminalia ivorensis and Terminalia 
superba plantations. --. 



- 47 - 



"Initial experiments at Kasewe Forest Reserve in the late 1950s had proved 
satisfactory, and the indications are that coffee will soon become the main 
understorey in extensive areas of wide espacement plantations in forest 
reserves and the line-planted areas in native administration forests. These 
perennial crops are being introduced as understoreys at spacings of 7*5 * 7*5 m t 
9 x 9 m f and 10.8 x 10.8 ra such that the final crop will be 178, 121 f ajid 
85 stems/ha respectively when the plantations are between 12 and 15 years old. 
It is hoped that when the agricultural crops have outlived their usefulness 
(about age 30) f the whole area will be clear felled and replanted by the 
taungya system. Maintenance from the time the agricultural crops are planted 
will be carried out by the farmer (the original landowner or holder), to whom 
the plantation would be leased on payment of an annual rent to be mutually 
agreed upon. 11 



-48- 



SIERRA LEONE 3 



A* General information 

Source: FAO/World Bank 1982, Appendix 2 

Location: Adjacent areas of central Sierra Leone in the northern 

and southern provinces. 
Rainfall: 2,500-3,000 rwn 
Population: 40 to 100 persons/km . 

B. Cultivation practice 

Upland mixed food crops combined with tobacco growing; the latter has 
been of increasing importance in the last 10 years. Bush fallow 5-8 years; 
forest rarely more than 10 years old. In the north of the region in 
question, where rainfall is lower, fallow is savanna, including Lophjre alata 
dominated savanna. ~~ 

C. Alternative 

Puelwood plantations (eucalyptus) and community forestry plantations: 
for fuel, poles, shade for agricultural crops and dwellings, soil improve- 
ment, ease of successful culture and minimal effect on growth of agricultural 
crops. 

Proposed species: Acrooarpus fraxinifolius t Acacia auriculaeformis. 
Albizzia fal cat aria* Leucaena leucocephala. 



-49- 



A General information 

Source: Vieweg and Wilms 1978:228-9 

Location: the Kilombero Valley, southern Tanzania (higher land f not 

low- lying central) 
Rainfall: 1,200-1,400 mm 
Population density: 20-23 persons/km 2 rising. Some farmers in the 

lower population areas shift their dwellings; most do not. 

B. Cultivation practices 

3-5 years cultivation followed by 10-20 years fallow. Fallow period 
depends on the type of soil; the farmer often judges the fallow sufficient 
to restore soil fertility when the original Hyparrhenia grass has again 
become the dominant species of the vegetation. Cultivation of upland rice, 
also maize and cassava. All crops planted on ridges. Weeds removed and 
laid in the furrows where they serve as green manure after splitting the 
ridges for the next crop. Only tool: hand hoe. 

C. Alternative 

Permanent cultivation of annual crops on 30 ha at Katrin Research Station. 
1. Results to date 

"The crop rotation differed somewhat from field to field, but generally 
the sequence was: maize, rice, soyabean, rice or sesame, rice, rice. Dressings 
of artificial fertilizers were given to all crops; rates of application 
to rice were usually 20 kg of N (as ammonium sulphate), 26 kg of P 
(as triple super-phosphate) and 40 kg of K (as potassium chloride) per 
hectare. Despite the dressings of fertilizer, yields decreased gradually, 
but it was not possible to determine to what extent it could be attribu- 
table to the effect of season or to an ever increasing amount of weed 
growth which could not always be handled properly. 

During the Birth year of cropping, large patches of plants in the fields 
grew extremely poorly and no seed was harvested. On one field, soyabeans 
suffered considerably, remaining small before finally dying. In another 
field devoted to a rice variety trial, all 16 varieties germinated well, 
but few tillers and even fewer ears were produced before the plant B died 
without a single grain being harvested. Soil analyses showed that during 
the six-year cropping period the pH of the soil (as measured in CaCl2 
solution) was reduced from 5.4 to 4.1. This reduction was a very large 
one, taking into account the relatively low rates of application of N and P. 
Lime applied to the final soyabean crop raised the pH from 41 to 49t 
but rice sown as a test crop on the site of the same experiment in 1973 
was destroyed by wild animals and no crop was harvested. The remaining 
land was put down to fallow." 



-50- 



2. Research work in progress 

"Leaf and soil analyses of a detailed nature are being undertaken, but no 
results are available yet* Several trials have been laid down in an 
attempt to find a sound cropping system for this type of soil. One long-- 
term experiment is being used to compare 12 different orop rotations in 
which rioe is the main orop and leys are also included* Other experiments 
are being used to compare high and low rates of fertilizer and the effect 
of lime. In one trial No significantly increased the yield of rioe straw 
and narrowly failed to do so for grain yield. fl 

3. Conclusion 

fl The results obtained so far from trials on the long-term cultivation of 
annual crops with mechanization on a pale sandy groundwater laterite soil 
have not been encouraging. After six years cropping, yields fell to zero, 
despite reasonable dressing of NPK. The application of cattle manure and 
lime markedly improved the orop but neither seems to be a practicable 
proposition because little cattle manure is produced and the cost of lime 
is uneconomical ly high. Liming might also aggravate the problem by 
increasing mineralization of organic matter. 

At the present early stage of investigation, no improvement can be suggested 
on the customary method of shifting cultivation as practised by farmers on 
soil of this type." 



TANZANIA 2 



A G eneral information 

Source: case study of Hado, Tanzania 
Location: Hado area, Kondoa 
Rainfall: 500-800 mm annual average 

Population density: 21 or 245 persons/km 2 (1978) (different figures 
on pp 26 and 27). 

B, Cultivation practices 

Of 120 farmers interviewed, 83 did not practise fallows, 37 did. For those 
who did, an average of 2 years fallow followed an average of 5 years culti- 
vation (p 44 of case study). In other words, this is not shifting cultivar- 
tion; it is usually permanent cultivation. 

C, Alternative 

Tree planting for the Forestry Department, for fuelwood, community woodlots 
and for reducing soil erosion. Four tree nurseries have been established and 
by December 1982 some 7,1 million seedlings were being raised. There were 
1690 ha of 'demonstration plots 1 , ridging had covered some 95 km 2 . There was 
a good participation rate of farmers in tree planting, but tending was not 
rigorously pursued. Interest in tending trees would be greater if the trees 
planted were multipurpose, i,e. if they could be integrated with the farmers 1 
agricultural practices, as agri silviculture, (p 55 of Hado case study). 



-52- 



TANZANIA 3 



A. General information 

Source: cose study of Usanibara, Tanzania 
Location: Usambara mountains 
Rainfall: 1,000-2,000 mm depending on altitude 

Population density: 137 persons/km^ or 185 persons/km^ for the area 
of cultivable land (1978). 

B. Cultivation practices 

No recent data: probably shifting cultivation in pr^-colonial times, then 
a change from forest fallow to short grass fallows during the early colonial 
period, associated with the spread of cash cropping and government reserva- 
tion of land. Now permanent cultivation is the most common form of 
agriculture, 

C. Alternative 

Vegetable growing in the context of the Lushoto Integrated Development 
Project. An evaluation in 1974 showed that: 

a) the high-input agricultural practices used, based on methods from 
industrial countries, were not appropriate in this area; 

b) the positive aspects of traditional cultivation techniques had 
been neglected and 

c) it was envisaged that subsistence farmers would buy vegetables and 
thereby improve their diet; in fact the farmers could not afford to 
do this, (pp 20-21 of Usambara case study)* 



- 53 - 



TOGO 



A. General information 

Source: Nadjombe 1982:70-72 
Location: nationwide* 

B. Cultivation practices 

Shifting cultivation (no details). 

C. Alternative 

Taungya, involving a succession of different arrangements from the 1950s 
to the present time. 

! Individual__taungya 

a) 1954* Food crops with teak in disbursed plots. 

"At first, the farmers were allowed to select their own site and 
desired acreage in a forest reserve, according to their own criteria 
and abilities. Using traditional methods, they prepared the ground 
and planted and nurtured the seedlings supplied by the Forestry 
Department, which, in principle, supervised all operations. The food 
crop harvests belonged entirely to the farmers, who were authorized 
to open up new plots according to their needs. When the cover of the 
teak plants began to hamper the development of food crops, the Forestry 
Department resumed responsibility for the care of trees. The farmers 
were also allowed to choose the food crops they wanted to grow, 
according to practical experience. Only perennial crops, such as oil 
palms, citrus fruits, coffee, and cocoa were forbidden. ff 

b) 1938: Food crops with teak in adjacent plots. 

"As early as 1958, farmers were compelled to cultivate plots in a 
continuous block rather than interspersing them throughout the forest. 
This regulation derived from the difficulties associated with managing 
email heterogeneous plots that were spread throughout the forest and 
that included seedlings of many different ages. With regard to the 
kind of crops to be grown, it was recommended that only corn, yams, 
and beans be cultivated together with teak. This recommendation was 
based not on scientific evidence but rather on observations of poor 
teak growth in combination with other crops such as cassava, cotton, 
and sorghum. fl 

c) 1972; Food croj>s with Terminalia superba with incentives in the form 
of bonuses in cash and kind. 

"With PAO assistance, the Office de Ddveloppement et d 'Exploit at ion 
des ForSts (Forest Development and Exploitation Authority, ODEF, a 
government organization set up in 1971 to stimulate reforestation 
activities) reintroduced the taungya on its sites in 1972 f adding new 



-54- 



elements such as incentives in the form of bonuses in cash and in kind. 
The cash bonus was fixed at 6 f OOO Fr. CFA (in 1981, 400 Fr. CFA - US$ l) 
and there were supplies worth 23,000 Fr. CFA for the first year of the 
contract* These incentives made it possible to plant more than 1,200 ha 
of germinal i a superb a before the system encountered two difficulties 
that led once more to its abandonment* 



Terminal ia superb a plantations were established in dense, semi- 
deciduous woodlands that are much sought after by farmers, who clear 
them for food crop production* The new taungya system allowed the 
planting of corn, which in Togo is generally grown on forest clearings 
and is not the leading rotation crop* Because the ODEF was unwilling 
to allow rotation of crops under the taungya system, farmers felt it 
was pointless to continue with the system, as grasslands were readily 
available all around the forest reserves; and T. supgrba and teak 
plantations were usually handed over to the Forestry Department after 
two years of cultivation by farmers. Since these plantations were far 
from human settlements, there was inadequate labour for maintenance 
and reforestation activities* A great many of the plantations were 
thus left in a deplorable state. ff 

2* Departmental taungya; paid labour to establish food crops with eucalyptus* 

"Given that the taungya system faced virtually insurmountable difficulties 
at the sociological and technical levels, a new formula had to be found. 
Thus, lander state supervision, a semi-mechanized eucalyptus reforestation 
site was established near a major urban centre capable of supplying needed 
labour. Both food and tree crops were to be cultivated as before but the 
State would reap the benefits of all harvests and would pay labourers 
a wage." 



- 55 - 



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\\oSS 



FAO TECHNICAL PAPERS ' ' " v ' : : ' - ' ' ' ' < , 

FAO FORESTRY PAPERS: 

1. Forest utilization contracts on public land, 1077 (E* P 8*) 

2. Planning forest roads ami harvesting systems, 1977 (E* P S*) 
1 at . Wortd U*t of f6fwtrv Softools, 1077 (E/F/S*) 

3 Rev. 1 . - World list of forestry schools, 1 981 (E/F/S*) 

4. Wortd pulp and paper demand, supply and trade - Vol. 1 , 1 977 (E* P S*) 

Vol. 2* 1978 {* P S*) 

5. The marketing of tropical wood in South America, 1978 <E* S*> 

6. National parks planning, 1978 (E* P S***) 

7^ Forestry for local community development, 1978 (E* P S*) 

8, Establishment techniques for forest plantations, 1978 (Ar*** C* E** P S*) 

9. Wood chips, 1978 (C* E* S*) 

10. Assessment of logging costs from forest inventories in the tropics, 1 978 

1 . Principles and methodology <E* P S*) 

2. Data collection and calculations (E* P S*) 
1 1 . Savanna afforestation in Africa, 1 978 (E* P) 

12. China: forestry support for agriculture, 1978 (E*) 

13. Forest products prices. 1979 (E/F/S*) 

14. Mountain forest roads and harvesting, 1979 (E*) 

15. AORtS forestry wood catalogue of Information and documentation services, 1979 (E/F/S*) 

16. China: integrated wood processing industries, 1979 (E* P S***) 

17. Economic analysis of forestry projects, 1 979 (E* P S*) 

17 Sup. 1. - Economic analysis of forestry projects: case studies, 1979 (E* S*) 
17 Sup. 2. - Economic analysis of forestry projects: readings, 1980 (E*) 

18. Forest products prices 1960*1978, 1980 (E/F/S*) 

19. Pulping and paper-making properties of fast-growing plantation wood species - Vol. 1 , 1 980 (E*) 

19. Pulping and paper-making properties of fast-growing plantation wood species - Vol. 2, 1980 (E*) 

20. Me)ora genetics de arfooles forestales, 1980 (S*) 

21. Impact on soils of fast-growing species in lowland humid tropics, 1980 (E* P) 

22/1. Forest volume estimation and yield prediction - Vol. 1, Volume estimation, 1980 (E* P S*) 
22/2. Forest volume estimation and yield prediction - Vol. 2, Yield prediction, 1 980 (E* P S*) 

23. Forest products prices 1961-1980, 1981 (E/F/S*) 

24. Cable logging systems, 1981 (E*) 

25. Public forestry administration in Latin America, 1 981 (E*) 

26. Forestry and rural development, 1961 (E* P S*) 

27. Manual of forest inventory, 1981 (E* P) 

28. Small and medium sawmills in developing countries, 1981 (E* S*) 

29. World forest products, demand and supply 1990 and 2000, 1982 (E* P S*) 

30. Tropical forest resources, 1982 (E/F/S*) 

31. Appropriate technology in forestry. 1982 (E*) 

32. Classification and definitions of forest products, 1982 ( A r/ E/F/S*) 

33. togging of mountain forests, 1962 (E*) 

34. Fruit-bearing forest trees, 1982 (E* P S*) 

35. Forestry in China, 1982 (E*) 

36. Basic technology in forest operations, 1982 (E* P S*) 

37. Conservation and development of tropical forest resources, 1982 (E* F* S*) 

38. Forest products prices 1962-1981, 1982 (E/F/S*) 

39. Frame saw manual, 1 982 (E*) 

40. Circular saw manual, 1983 (E*) 

41. Simple technologies for charcoal making, 1983 (E* P S*) 

42. Fueiwood supplies in the developing countries, 1 983 (E* P S*) 

43. Forest revenue systems in developing countries, 1 983 (E*) 
44/1. Food and fruit-bearing forest species, 1983 (E*) 

44/2. Food and fruit-bearing forest species, 1984 (E*) 

45. Establishing pufp and paper milts, 1983 (E*) 

46. Forest products prices 1963-1982, 1983 (E/F/S*) 

47. Technical forestry education - design and implementation, 1984 (*) 

48. Land evaluation for forestry, 1984 (E*) 

49. Extracci6n de trozas mediants bueyes y tractores agricoias, 1 984 (S*) 
S. Changes in shifting cultivation in Africa, 1984 (E*) 

FAO PLANT PRODUCTION AMD PROTECTION PAPERS: 57 titles published 
FAO CONSERVATION GUIDES. 8 titles published 



Aim HEALTH PAPERS: 45 titles published 2 



FAO FOOD AND NUTRITION PAPERS: 31 titles published 
FAO AGRICULTURAL SERVICES BULLETIN: 60 titles published 
PAD IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE PAPERS: 41 titles published 
FAO SOILS BULLETINS: 53 titles published 

Availabttrty: October 1984 

Ar - Amble * Available 

** Out of print 
*** In preparation 



'' ' ! ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '"'' ' " ' ' '' '"'' '