Accepted paper:

"Ordering intensification?" Pastoralism and agribusiness in the middle valley of Senegal river


Sergio Magnani (IRAM)
Véronique Ancey (CIRAD)

Paper short abstract:

In the middle valley of Senegal River, an industrial dairy provides a classical intensification scheme to stabilize pastoral milk production over the year. Pastoralists accept the deal but mainly use the inputs to better cope with natural pastures variability in a context of fragmentation of the grasslands.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyses the effects of development interventions that profoundly changed the practice of pastoralism in the middle valley of Senegal river. Fifty years of public action, inspired by the technical model of intensification, have excluded pastoralists from the River valley (waalo), progressively used for irrigated agriculture. « Settled » in the dry inland (jeeri), pastoralists have lost the access to heterogenous spaces, between which they moved seasonally. Hence, they have become dependent on the highly variable rangelands of jeeri. As a part of my doctoral research, I have studied the intervention of an industrial dairy social business that collect pastoral milk within the area surrounding the city of Richard Toll since 2006. The dairy offers a model of integration of sugar and milk supply chains to stabilize pastoral production over the year (or even to promote social peace between the sugar industry and pastoralists). Feed inputs are provided on credit to settle dairy cows during the dry season, without regard for the economic viability of this option. Research results suggest that pastoralists accept the deal but mainly use the inputs to better cope with natural pastures variability. Moreover, by its strategic alliance with the local sugar industry, a key actor in land and natural resources management, the dairy indirectly supports a new wave of agricultural settlements in the grasslands of the inland. In contradiction with the social business objectives, these new dynamics could compromise the viability of pastoral systems and exacerbate land conflicts.

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