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The Changing Resources of Sedentary Communities in Air, Southern Sahara

Michael J. Mortimore
Geographical Review
Vol. 62, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 71-91
DOI: 10.2307/214060
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/214060
Page Count: 21
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The Changing Resources of Sedentary Communities in Air, Southern Sahara
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Abstract

The disruption of the trans-Saharan caravan trade, the colonial occupation of West Africa, and the policy of "sedentarization" for the nomadic population of Niger have required the Tuareg of Air to make considerable economic adjustments. Today the sedentary communities in Air are placing increasing emphasis on irrigated agriculture. This development has taken place in the context of a renewed system of interregional trade, based on the export of Saharan salt and wheat to southern Niger and Hausaland. In this paper an attempt is made to map and measure the extent of enclosed agricultural land in central and southern Air and to evaluate the present relationship between population and resources. The decline of pastoral nomadism seems inevitable, but agriculture as an alternative can provide only limited employment. Although the supply of cultivable land is greater than the demand at present, expansion of agriculture will be limited by physical conditions, and the area suffers a location remote from the urban markets of the south. Tuareg participation in the modern economy (road transportation and tin and uranium mining) has so far been small.

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