Land-use by immigrant Baoulé farmers in the Taï region, South-west Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

TitleLand-use by immigrant Baoulé farmers in the Taï region, South-west Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsBudelman, A, Zander, PM
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Date Published1990
Keywordsagriculture; cacao; Humid Côte d'Ivoire; Ivory Coast; land shortage; soil fertility; transition shifting cultivation; yams

This paper discusses the cropping system of immigrant Baoulé farmers in the rain-forest area of South-west Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The area harbours one of the last substantial rain-forest reserves of humid West Africa. Part of it is known as Taï National Park, and has been adopted as one of UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme areas. The park area is threatened by farmers in search of land. Soils in the area typically show a low intrinsic nutrient content (particularly phosphorus and potassium), low pH values, a low CEC, and, locally, high levels of gravel. In the Baoulé cropping system fields are kept under perennial crops, mainly cacao, after having been used for food crop cultivation during the first two years. Yam, the most important food crop is grown on mounds. Next to the inherent poverty of the soil, this cropping technique, which disrupts the structure of the top soil is seen as one of the causes for low yields of cocoa on Baoulé farms in the area. Yields per ha amount to c. 60% of that of the national average. The conclusion is that the Baoulé agricultural production system is ill-adapted to the local ecosystem. Measures to improve adaptation include: Introduction of crop species adapted to adverse soil conditions (e.g. rubber, oilpalm), to buffer cacao plantations through planting of shade trees, to apply fertilisers, and to make use of biological nitrogen-fixation. Generally, the remedies proposed involve investments in terms of cash and labour on the part of the farmers. It is argued that farmers will not change their current cropping practices as long as there is forested land in the vicinity. The presence of the Taï forest, c. 300.000 ha of virgin rain-forest, impedes the process of change towards more intensive land-use practices.

Journal Abbreviation

Agroforest Syst


0167-4366; 1572-9680

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