IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/lauspo/v77y2018icp362-374.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The dividing of fields in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa: The roles of soil fertility variation and legal doctrine

Author

Listed:
  • Turner, Matthew D.
  • Moumouni, Oumarou

Abstract

The distribution of agricultural land is strongly shaped by field divisions that occur as rural households split in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa. Still, there remains very little empirical work focused on how fields are divided. Under local interpretations of Islamic law, parcels resulting from division should be of equal size. Complicating this is the potential for within-field variation in soil fertility which may result in parcels of unequal fertility. Research was conducted in western Niger to understand how these considerations affect the placing of boundaries when fields are divided. In two adjoining village territories, a random sample of farmers were interviewed about soil quality variation in their fields and how their management may vary within these fields. Interviews were conducted with those who oversee the division of fields: village chiefs and Islamic clergy. The divisions of 92 fields resulting from 43 household splits over a twenty-one-year period were analyzed. Group interviews of the parties to these splits were conducted and for 54 of the divided fields, soil quality variation was mapped. This information was used to assess the equality of the parcels resulting from division in terms of area and fertility. Unequal divisions were also accessed for bias toward the eldest party to the division. We find that soil fertility variation is an important consideration in the placement of boundaries and requirements for equal parcel size is not significant impediment to creating parcels of comparable fertility. Still, a significant fraction of field divisions is unequal, resulting in parcels of unequal fertility and/or unequal size. Unequal divisions are not significantly biased toward the eldest party. Factors in addition to parcel size and fertility affect field division decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Turner, Matthew D. & Moumouni, Oumarou, 2018. "The dividing of fields in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa: The roles of soil fertility variation and legal doctrine," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 362-374.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:lauspo:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:362-374
    DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.05.056
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837717315934
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.05.056?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jayne, T. S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David & Benfica, Rui & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2003. "Smallholder income and land distribution in Africa: implications for poverty reduction strategies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 253-275, June.
    2. Turner, Matthew D., 2016. "Rethinking Land Endowment and Inequality in Rural Africa: The Importance of Soil Fertility," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 258-273.
    3. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L, 1979. "The Development of Individual Rights to Property in Tribal Africa," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 163-182, April.
    4. Esther Herberich & Johannes Sikorski & Torsten Hothorn, 2010. "A Robust Procedure for Comparing Multiple Means under Heteroscedasticity in Unbalanced Designs," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 5(3), pages 1-8, March.
    5. Reardon, Thomas & Matlon, Peter & Delgado, Christopher, 1988. "Coping with household-level food insecurity in drought-affected areas of Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 16(9), pages 1065-1074, September.
    6. Powell, J. M. & Fernandez-Rivera, S. & Hiernaux, P. & Turner, M. D., 1996. "Nutrient cycling in integrated rangeland/cropland systems of the Sahel," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(2-3), pages 143-170.
    7. Ann Whitehead, 2006. "Persistent poverty in North East Ghana," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 278-300.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Turner, Matthew D., 2016. "Rethinking Land Endowment and Inequality in Rural Africa: The Importance of Soil Fertility," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 258-273.
    2. Turner, Matthew D. & Williams, Timothy O., 2002. "Livestock Market Dynamics and Local Vulnerabilities in the Sahel," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 683-705, April.
    3. Rasmussen, Laura Vang & Rasmussen, Kjeld & Reenberg, Anette & Proud, Simon, 2012. "A system dynamics approach to land use changes in agro-pastoral systems on the desert margins of Sahel," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 56-64.
    4. Genti Kostandini & Bradford F. Mills & Steven Were Omamo & Stanley Wood, 2009. "Ex ante analysis of the benefits of transgenic drought tolerance research on cereal crops in low‐income countries," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(4), pages 477-492, July.
    5. Grimm, Michael, 2008. "Food price inflation and schooling," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 14, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    6. Birthal, Pratap S. & Roy, Devesh & Negi, Digvijay S., 2015. "Assessing the Impact of Crop Diversification on Farm Poverty in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 70-92.
    7. Joachim Von Braun, 2005. "Agricultural economics and distributional effects," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(s1), pages 1-20, January.
    8. Brendan Fisher & Robin Naidoo, 2016. "The Geography of Gender Inequality," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(3), pages 1-10, March.
    9. Jayne, Thomas S. & Chapoto, Antony, 2006. "Emerging Structural Maize Deficits in Eastern and Southern Africa: Implications for National Agricultural Strategies," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs 54620, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    10. Thomas Vendryes, 2014. "Peasants Against Private Property Rights: A Review Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 971-995, December.
    11. Sam Barrett, 2015. "Subnational Adaptation Finance Allocation: Comparing Decentralized and Devolved Political Institutions in Kenya," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 15(3), pages 118-139, August.
    12. Grace, Kathryn & Hertrich, Véronique & Singare, Djeneba & Husak, Greg, 2018. "Examining rural Sahelian out-migration in the context of climate change: An analysis of the linkages between rainfall and out-migration in two Malian villages from 1981 to 2009," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 187-196.
    13. Barrett, C. B. & Reardon, T. & Webb, P., 2001. "Nonfarm income diversification and household livelihood strategies in rural Africa: concepts, dynamics, and policy implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 315-331, August.
    14. Wineman, Ayala & Liverpool-Tasie, Lenis Saweda O., 2017. "Land Markets and Land Access Among Female-Headed Households in Northwestern Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 108-122.
    15. Ruijs, Arjan & Schweigman, Caspar & Lutz, Clemens, 2004. "The impact of transport- and transaction-cost reductions on food markets in developing countries: evidence for tempered expectations for Burkina Faso," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 31(2-3), pages 219-228, December.
    16. Attahiru, Yusuf Babangida & Aziz, Md. Maniruzzaman A. & Kassim, Khairul Anuar & Shahid, Shamsuddin & Wan Abu Bakar, Wan Azelee & NSashruddin, Thanwa Filza & Rahman, Farahiyah Abdul & Ahamed, Mohd Imra, 2019. "A review on green economy and development of green roads and highways using carbon neutral materials," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 600-613.
    17. Shunji Oniki & Melaku Berhe & Koichi Takenaka, 2020. "Efficiency Impact of the Communal Land Distribution Program in Northern Ethiopia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(11), pages 1-14, May.
    18. Alice Pell, 1999. "Integrated Crop–livestock Management Systems in Sub-saharan Africa," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 337-348, September.
    19. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2004. "Can Conditional Cash Transfers Serve as Safety Nets to Keep Children at School and Out of the Labor Market?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5fp0g5p2, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    20. Walker, Thomas S. & Tschirley, David L. & Low, Jan W. & Tanque, M. Pequentino & Boughton, Duncan & Payongayong, Ellen M. & Weber, Michael T., 2004. "Determinants of Rural Income, Poverty, and Perceived Well-Being in Mozambique in 2001-2002," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 56061, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:lauspo:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:362-374. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/land-use-policy .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joice Jiang (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/land-use-policy .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.