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L’Économie Politique du Succès de la Filière Coton au Burkina Faso: Entre Paradoxes et Incertitudes

FAC document de travail no. 41par Augustin Loada

Le présent article porte sur l’économie politique de la filière coton au Burkina Faso. Si l’histoire du succès économique de cette filière est bien connue, il n’en va pas de même pour le rôle de l’économie politique jusque là peu étudié.

Pays sahélien enclavé confronté à des conditions climatiques et écologiques peu propices au développement de l’agriculture, le Burkina Faso est pourtant cité comme un exemple de réussite dans la filière coton. Introduite en Afrique l’Ouest sous l’ère coloniale dans les années 20, la culture du coton connaît un succès qui n’est pas seulement dû aux innovations techniques apportées de l’extérieur mais aussi à la capacité d’innovation des producteurs (Thomas J. Basset, 2002). Mais la filière ne prendra son envol qu’au lendemain de l’indépendance en 1960, sous l’impulsion de la Compagnie française pour le développement des fibres textiles (CFDT), une société publique dont le champ d’intervention s’étendait dans la sous-région francophone.

Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant: Agricultural Development in the Guinea Savannah

By Ian Scoones, FAC Co-coordinator

A fascinating FAC workshop has just finished hosted by FAC partner, SOAS, focusing on the World Bank’s Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant report. This argues that a huge area, defined as the ‘Guinea savannah’, stretching across West Africa and with a second belt in southern Africa offers huge potential for a new era of commercial agriculture in Africa, sufficient to supply growing domestic, regional and global markets. The report offers two models for agricultural development of this area – the Brazilian cerrado, focusing on large-scale commercial operations, and northeast Thailand, where a smallholder led revolution took place.

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Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant? The Potentials and the Pitfalls

In 2009 the World Bank published a report entitled Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant: Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in the Guinea Savannah Zone and Beyond. The report highlights the agricultural potential of Africa’s Guinea Savannah (henceforth GS) zone, which it describes as “one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world” (p2). It argues that the time has come for this potential to be realized, noting the strengthening demand for agricultural commodities both in world markets and within Africa, where population growth, rising incomes and urbanization are driving demand for staple foods as well as for livestock and hor ticultural products. Macroeconomic and sectoral (taxation) policies are also increasingly favourable to agricultural investment within Africa.

The report draws lessons from post-1960 agricultural development experiences in two other regions once considered low potential agricultural areas, but now home to agricultural export industries of global importance: the Brazilian cerrado, where production is dominated by large-scale farmers, and the Northeast Region of Thailand, where production is dominated by smallholders. It recognises that considerable challenges will have to be overcome if Africa’s GS zone is to emulate their success and also that such success could be accompanied by some adverse environmental and possibly social impacts. However, it argues that, with adequate planning and policy, the worst of these eff ects can be mitigated. Priorities for public intervention thus include: land policies that protect property rights in an equitable manner; investments in agricultural research, education and infrastructure; institutions to promote smallholder access to markets and services (including fi nance), and enhanced environmental monitoring and management. With these in place, “opportunities abound for farmers in Africa to regain international competitiveness, especially in light of projected stronger demand in world markets for agricultural commodities over the long term” (p2).

  Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant? The Potentials and the Pitfalls (381.03 kB)

Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa (PEAPA)

Debates on the appropriate role for the state in stimulating agricultural development should be linked to an assessment of the capacity and willingness of the state to implement particular policies in particular country contexts.

The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa (PEAPA) project proceeds from the following insights:

it is a country’s political system which generates the incentives (strong or weak) for the state to take action to promote agricultural development; this political system also influences the type of development promoted (for example, smallholder or large farm based).

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Awakening Africa's Sleeping Giant

FAC’s conference held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, on 21-22 June 2010, focused on the findings of the World Bank’s Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant report. This influential document argues that a huge area, defined broadly as the ‘Guinea Savannah’, stretching across West Africa with a second belt down to southern Africa, offers huge potential for a new era of commercial agriculture in Africa. Intensive commercial production in this zone, it is asserted, would be sufficient to supply growing domestic, regional and global markets. The report offers two models for agricultural development of this area – the Brazilian Cerrado region, focusing on large-scale commercial operations, and northeast Thailand, where a smallholder-led revolution took place.

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Report on the Africa College International “Food Security, Health and Impact” Knowledge Brokering Conference

22 - 24 June 2011, Leeds, UK, by Colin Poulton

Africa College is a research partnership between University of Leeds (Faculties of Biological Sciences, Environment, Medicine and Health), IITA and ICIPE that aims “to improve the lives of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa by a sustainable enhancement of their food and nutritional security”. David Howlett (ex-DFID, now University of Leeds) seems to be a key link person in bringing the partners together.

Africa College research focuses on:

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Debating Fertiliser Subsidies in Malawi
FAC recently published an in depth evaluation of the 2006-07 fertilizer subsidy programme. The evaluation, by Andrew Dorward (FAC and University of London) and Ephraim Chirwa (FAC and University of Malawi), assesses the impact and implementation of the Malawi Government Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme (AISP) in order to provide lessons for future interventions in growth and social protection. This follows on from a similar study covering 2005-06 by Blessings Chinsinga (University of Malawi).

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Climate Change Adaptation Policy Processes

Two FAC members (Blessings Chinsinga and Lydia Ndirangu) are involved in collaborative research on "Linking African Researchers with Adaptation Policy Spaces". This project aims to increase the ability of partners in Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA) programme in East Africa to understand climate change adaptation policy processes at local and national scales.

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Role and Performance of Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development

During 2007 - 2009, the Policy Processes team conducted research in seven districts of Kenya (Eldoret West, Mwingi, Nyeri South and Rachuonyo) and Malawi (Dedza, Rumphi and Thyolo), to examine the role and performance of the Ministry of Agriculture at district level, using interviews with key informants and focus group discussions. The research explored stakeholders’ views as to the role that the ministries should be playing in different contexts, what they actually do and why, and what factors impede the performance of their roles.

The main activity of the Policy Process team during Phase 2 (2009-2010) has been additional field work for the Ministries of Agriculture district case studies in Malawi and Kenya and dissemination of the survey results on the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) services from all study districts.

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