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Atteh, David Oluwayomi (1980) Resources and decisions: Peasant farmer agricultural management and its relevance for rural development planning in Kwara State, Nigeria. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Many explanations offered for 'traditional' farming in Africa often concern production patterns without a serious attempt at understanding the underlying decision-making process. This study seeks to focus on the factors which influence decision-making in peasant agriculture from an emic perspective. Much of the failure in attempts to induce agricultural change in 'traditional' peasant systems is due to a lack of appreciation that historical, social, cultural and personal factors are as strong as the interplay of economic variables in influencing agricultural production. Understanding of farmers' knowledge and perception of the environment thus becomes a focus of interest in any attempt to structure change in the interests of the rural community. This study attempts to explain what farmers do, and why they do them, from their own perspective. To this end, the behavioural approach is used as the basis of explanation. The method of investigation is centred on the 'triad' strategy of 'observing', 'listening and recording' and 'asking questions' proposed by Whyte (1977) as the proper basis for the study of environmental cognition.;The following are typical of the study's detailed findings. a) Farmers' goals reflect a response to their 'representational model' of the rural-urban dichotomy in Nigeria. b) Production systems are governed by an organized system of knowledge (ethnoscience) which is valid. c) The 'conservative' and 'primitive' image given to 'traditional' farmers is misplaced. Not only is the farming system rational, farmers are eager to accept changes which they consider useful. d) Evidence suggests that farmers have a lot to teach, and to share with, planners and so-called 'experts'. Rather than being obstacles to rural transformation, partnership with farmers seems to be the best route to agricultural change. e) When appropriate methodology is used in studying farmers' decisions, they are sources of rich environmental information.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:31

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