Participatory appraisals of farming systems

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The participatory analysis of the farming systems in the various sites revealed the diversity of conditions in which (peri)-urban agriculture takes place in both cities. In Bamako, the results of the appraisal highlight the differences between zones A and B. The sites in zone A combine both staple crop and horticultural crop production, with the former being the most important, while zone B consists essentially of intensive horticultural production in an urban setting. Farmers in zone A make use of urban wastes coming from municipal collection points in the nearby Commune IV as well as animal manure from urban livestock corrals. Generally these farmers go and seek out these waste products themselves, or they make arrangements with the drivers of the municipal trucks.

Figure 3: Urban horticulture at Djélibougou, Bamako

In zone B of Bamako, the farmers usually are full-time, commercially oriented vegetable producers, at least during the dry season, living somewhere in the city but not by their plots. They generally purchase waste products, with a preference for animal waste products, not only manure, due to their higher moisture content, a valuable trait during the dry season.

The problems or constraints identified by the farmers in Bamako and Ouagadougou were the following: lack of security of tenure, losses due to theft, poor quality of seeds, pesticides and mineral fertilisers, lack of technical support, and uncoordinated sale of product with periods of excessive production, and thus prices that do not even cover costs.

This difference between staple crop and horticultural crop farmers' use of waste products identified in Bamako is similar to that in Ouagadougou. The greatest users of municipal solid waste are some of the staple crop farmers in the periphery of the city, while the urban horticultural producers generally prefer animal wastes. One difference is that many of the staple crop farmers who apply urban solid wastes from the municipal dump trucks are

Figure 4: Sorghum fields at Kamboinse, Ouagadougou with urban waste

Figure 3: Urban horticulture at Djélibougou, Bamako

also urban residents, and not peri-urban residents. They also do not have access to water supplies that would permit them to also engage in horticultural production (see Figure 2).

In Ouagadougou, the staple crop producers working the periphery of the city in Kamboinse also identified the urbanisation of their production area as another tenure-related problem. Land in the area is being progressively converted to urban use with the growth of the city and this takes precedence over any agricultural use. Regarding the potential to improve the use of waste products, these farmers also identified the large amount of material in

the municipal solid waste having no, or even negative, agricultural value. They also perceive that despite the fertilising benefits of waste application, this practice also promotes the growth of weeds.

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