Torgeir Fyhri 1998

The Gambia: 
The Complexity of Modernising the Agricultural Sector in Africa

Chapter 8: Concluding Remarks

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CHAPTER 8: Concluding Remarks


CHAPTER 1: Introduction
CHAPTER 2: Methodical Considerations
CHAPTER 3: Theoretical Framework
CHAPTER 4: Introducing The Gambian Agricultural Sector
CHAPTER 5: The Development of the Agriculture Sector 1983-96
CHAPTER 6: Responses to household Constraints and Farm Risk
CHAPTER 7: Testing of hypotheses and Theoretical Discussion
CHAPTER 8: Concluding Remarks
APPENDIX - Interviews conducted in villages around Farafenni


This thesis has sought to evaluate the complexity and the barriers of modernising the agricultural sector of the Gambia. The complexity is visible through the many factors, in which the process of "modernising" relies on. In addition, real "modernisation" is not dependent on the success of modernising strategies performed by the national authorities. On the contrary, this study has shown, through comparing different geographical and decisionmaking levels that the farmers are important decisionmakers in this process through their responses to external conditions. In fact the farmers seem to be the real exponents of modernisation; a modernisation defined by their own needs. 

The farmers are responding in such a manner that their economical situation is stable and uncertainty is limited. Further, focusing on the differences in perceptions between the agricultural authorities and the farmers has shown a rather modified picture of the development, which not at all is strictly negative for the farming household. Contrary to conventional wisdom, with the basis at a household scale, the agricultural sector of The Gambia is not stagnant, but transforming. Without taking into account the risks and responses to risks at a farm scale, "modernising" of the agricultural sector with the basis at a national scale will not succeed (Lipton 1986). In other words, no "modernisation" of the crop sub-sector, seen from the national level, can be accomplished unless the efforts are performed in such a way that farmers would respond "positively" to them. The risk responses should be seen as benefits rather than constraints for modernising the agricultural sector of The Gambia.

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