United Nations Scientific Conference on Tee Conservation and Utilization of Resources

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Keen, B.A.
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An examination is made of the reasons for the difficulties of introducing improvements into the backward agricultural systems, including the indifference or even resistance of the peasants to self-evident improvements. Stress is laid on the importance of the economic factor because, the simpler the rural organization, the more involved, and yet less obvious, are its economic problems. Three traditional systems are discussed involving respectively, village or communal land ownership fragmentation by inheritance end the native African system, where ownership in our sense hardly exists. It is shown how the rights and customs arising from these systems have created almost insuperable obstacles to the introduction of improvements, no matter how obvious their advantages may 'be. The rights and customs are so en-grained in the social system that there is no practical way of removing them, short of an agrarians revolution. Bu.t they can be circumvented, and. thus left in harmless operation. The device is essentially that of the public utility corporation in which is vested the responsibility for the proper use, although not necessarily the ownership, of the land. The arrangement is exceedingly flexible, applying equal to the Sudan Plantations Syndicate that operates 400,000 hectares, and to the simplest form of group farming.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal