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Rural emptiness and its influence on subsistence farming in contemporary Gabon: A case study in Loango National Park

Fairet, E.; Bell, S.; Remanda, K.; Setchell, J.M.

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Authors

E. Fairet

K. Remanda



Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa, rural exodus leads to increasing unemployment in urban centres and to the disorganisation of farming practice in rural areas. This article draws on data from participant observation and interviews to analyse how rural exodus, combined with a population density that was already low, led to what we refer to as rural emptiness in Gabon, and how this affects farmers’ livelihoods. Farming in Gabon is largely slash and burn agriculture with a gender division of labour and therefore requires both men and women. Farming practices at our study site, in Loango National Park, follow a traditional pattern, but the labour force has been reshaped by demographic and social change. The exodus of young people, especially men, has left ageing farmers with increased workloads but decreased access to labour. Subsistence farming is, therefore, in a state of crisis and farmers’ livelihoods are threatened. Promoting the development of farming and rendering rural life more appealing through the development of roads and other infrastructure could reverse current trends of high unemployment, weakened agricultural production and high dependence on imported food in Gabon.

Citation

Fairet, E., Bell, S., Remanda, K., & Setchell, J. (2014). Rural emptiness and its influence on subsistence farming in contemporary Gabon: A case study in Loango National Park. Social biology and human affairs, 78(1-2), 39-59

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 24, 2015
Journal Social biology and human affairs.
Print ISSN 0143-5051
Publisher BioSocial Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 78
Issue 1-2
Pages 39-59
Keywords Rural exodus, Labour, Agriculture, Central Africa.
Publisher URL http://www.biosocsoc.org/sbha/

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