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Trees, Tenure and Conflict: Rubber in Colonial Benin

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  • James Fenske

Abstract

Tree crops have changed land tenure in Africa. Farmers have acquired more permanent, alienable rights, but have also faced disputes with competing claimants and the state. I show that the introduction of Para rubber had similar effects in the Benin region of colonial Nigeria. Farmers initially obtained land by traditional methods. Mature farmswere assets that could be sold, let out, and used to raise credit. Disputes over rubber involved smallholders, communities of rival users, would-be migrant farmers, commercial plantations, and the colonial state, which feared rubber would make land unavailable for food crops.

Suggested Citation

  • James Fenske, 2011. "Trees, Tenure and Conflict: Rubber in Colonial Benin," WIDER Working Paper Series 029, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2011-29
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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2011-029.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fenske, James, 2013. "“Rubber will not keep in this country”: Failed development in Benin, 1897–1921," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 316-333.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Nigeria; tree crops; rubber; land tenure; land conflict;

    JEL classification:

    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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