Crop-livestock Integration in Africa
The aim of this project has been to explore the dynamics of crop-livestock integration in contrasting agroecological settings in Africa through an analysis of the institutions which mediate change.
The study design took a series of paired case study sites in three countries in eastern, western and southern Africa - Ethiopia, Mali and Zimbabwe - situated along agroecological gradients running from relatively high to relatively low resource endowment areas.
Fieldwork adopted an historical approach which aimed to uncover the multiple trajectories of change in each contrasting setting. A focus on institutions (seen broadly as 'regularised patterns of behaviour in society which persist over time') concentrated analytical attention on the social, political and economic conditions of technical change.
The project proposes a challenge to the conventional 'evolutionary' view of agricultural change which sees different standard types of crop-livestock relation emerging through an inevitable change in factor proportions resulting from population pressure.
Findings show that while such a trajectory may well be possible in particular cases, it will only occur under certain institutional conditions. These are historically contingent and unpredictable, and are likely to be highly differentiated by both agroecological and socio-economic setting. Thus in different places and for different people, the forms of crop-livestock integration may be radically different, resulting in multiple trajectories of change.
Attempts to impose a deterministic and linear view will, the project's findings suggest, lead to inappropriate policies, while an appreciation of multiple trajectories will allow researchers, planners and policy-makers to focus development interventions more effectively.