Agroécologie du développement maraîcher au Burkina Faso Réorganisations spatiales, transformations socioéconomiques et enjeux de développement


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Agroécologie du développement maraîcher au Burkina Faso Réorganisations spatiales, transformations socioéconomiques et enjeux de développement
Gross Basile
Jaubert Ronald
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnement
Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnement
Université de Lausanne
CH-1015 Lausanne

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An Agroecological Perspective on Vegetable Market Gardening
Development in Burkina Faso
Spatial changes, socioeconomic transformations and development issues
This study takes an agroecological perspective on vegetable market gardening development in Burkina Faso. It examines the dynamic relations between a natural environment (terroirs in the regions of Réo and Ouagadougou), a population, and activities linking them. Vegetable gardening is approached from an original livelihood perspective combined with human ecology of the agro-food system. Agroecology is mobilized primarily as a method, but also as a research topic through agroecological practices and projects.
Gardening is an old practice in Burkina Faso. After the 1970’s and 1980’s food crises, securing water resources and developing off-season farming became a necessity. Approximately 2,000 small reservoirs were built and gardening gained greater importance. This evolution from a marginal to a central role is also inked to profound changes in ways of living, providing food and inhabiting the local environment.
Individual fields and more specifically wetland gardens take a crucial economic function for rural households, leading to their expansion in space. More importantly, the end of a strict self-sufficiency occurs at the same time than the emergence of a food trade supplying urban markets. Subsistence economy, that was limited to the satisfaction of the family needs with the means of the farm, turns into a modern market economy.
Peasants who engage in gardening earn most of their income from this activity. Market gardening is profitable and allows for the monetary needs to be met, despite strong disparities among households. Nevertheless, gardening only partially replaces other peasant activities. This evolution is not a simple transition from one state of the economy to another. A certain level of food autonomy is kept through rain-fed agriculture, everyone makes use of small livestock as savings and risk insurance, and some engage in non-peasant activities such as small businesses or mechanics. The situation of rural households is essentially characterized by a great diversity. The main highlights of theses transformations can however be stressed: a complexification of land organisation; an individualisation of labour; a monetarisation of the economy and an ongoing process of commodification; a modernisation of equipment; an artificialisation of the environment, through hydro-agricultural developments or, more broadly, through the increasing dependency of agro-ecosystems on external components such as energy sources.
The evolution of market gardening, beyond the natural environment adaptation process, is not highly dependent on development aid. Only few farmers benefit from development projects, and they are all relatively wealthy. The agroecological projects don’t succeed better at reaching poor people. Only simplistic technical solutions are given to the complex issues of market gardening development. The two major approaches today consist of either a conventional package comprising a low-cost drip irrigation kit, or the promotion of agroecological practices. Although they are rooted in competing discourses, they are both implemented and operated in similar ways. Both orientations lead to development projects managed and financed by northern countries organizations, promoting technical innovations through school-farms or showcase-farms.
Agroecology is a promising alternative responding to many of the issues of vegetable market gardening in Burkina Faso. But the agroecological turning point can only be reached if tackled endogenously, in line with local peasant realities. Agroecology ideological criticism would become more significant if extended to an operational level in order to provide alternative paths of development leading to a sustainable agro-food system.
Create date
03/09/2018 12:55
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15/11/2019 16:23
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