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Food versus Cash. Development Theory and Reality in Northern Côte d’Ivoire


  • Matty Demont
  • Johan Stessens


In the literature on the evolution of farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, the food versus cash debate on the competition versus complementarity between food and export crops (such as cotton) in agricultural development seems to offer contrasting views on rural development. The purpose of the present study is to revisit these schools of thought through an empirical case study in northern Côte d’Ivoire. Farming systems are distinguished through the presence of cotton and the degree of intensification and mechanization. Non-mechanized cotton systems are severely constrained by labour bottlenecks during field preparation of cotton fields due to competition with food crops and are barely able to subsist. Mechanization, as part of the cotton program, enables cotton farms to spread labour peaks and dramatically increase cropped areas. Our findings suggest that both development theories in reality coexist rather than contrast and that neither of both simultaneously applies on all farming systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Matty Demont & Johan Stessens, 2009. "Food versus Cash. Development Theory and Reality in Northern Côte d’Ivoire," Review of Business and Economic Literature, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Review of Business and Economic Literature, vol. 0(3), pages 258-272.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:revbec:20090303

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    farming systems; adoption; cotton; animal traction; Côte d’Ivoire;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets


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