Bush fallowing in west africa

Bush fallowing is a farming method, where a piece of land is cultivated for several years and left to fallow or rest of some years to allow it regain its fertility.  Bush fallowing is very common in West Africa due to the following conditions.

  1. The population of the said areas are usually very low such as the equatorial lands.
  2. The system only involves the use of crude farm tools such as cutlass and hoes.
  3. Availability of large acres of farmland in rural areas.
  4. Poor technological know-how couples with low level of education of the farmers.
  5. Farming involving this method is often done on substance level, hence the farmer only produces to meet up with his household needs.
  6. It involves small holding of farmlands, hence little or nothing is left for sale at the end of the season.
  7. The system does not permit commercial cash crop production since there is the likelihood of t he farmer coming back to the farmland.
  8. Crop production includes roots and tuber crops at yams, cassava, cocoyam, rice, wheat, maize and sorghum
  9. The system involves low capital expenditure.

The Advantages of Bush Fallowing

  1. It involves cheap labour
  2. The system helps to control pests and diseases.
  3. It involves low capital expenditure
  4. It helps to increase the fertility of the soil
  5. It helps to control leaching and soil erosion


  1. It is not suitable where there is large population settlement
  2. The system often lead to destruction of fest resources
  3. The system does not encourage large scale mechanized farming, hence, it only paves away for annual production
  4. The system always leads to fragmentation of land
  5. The system wastes time, money and energy of the prospecting farmers
  6. The system is not suitable in places where land tenure system is strictly adhered to.


Fruit farming is a system of agriculture which involves the cultivation of fruit crops for commercial and domestic purposes.  In areas where lots of fruits crops are cultivated in plantation system, it is referred to as orchard farming.

The most noticeable areas in the Mediterranean lands of Africa where fruit farming is very pronounced include places in South Africa (around Cape Town, Orange Free State and Natal).  In the north Western part of Africa, Libya, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are the main places.


  1. The presence of Mediterranean climate
  2. Presence of fertile alluvia soil
  3. Availability of ready market both local and foreign
  4. The use of irrigation system of crop cultivation
  5. Adequate rainfall in winter nor exceeding 1000mm per annum.
  6. Government’s assistance as in the case of South Africa
  7. The presence of local winds of siroro and mistral in the Mediterranean religion.


In the North West Africa, the main fruits produced include, limes and tangerines, lemon, olive figs, oranges, grapes and apricots whereas in South Africa, the main fruits grown include apple, pears, peaches, and apricots, vine, grapes and cherries.


  1. It yield a lot of foreign exchange through export
  2. It creates employment for people within the areas
  3. It provides raw materials for both local and foreign canning industries
  4. It generates revenue to the government and the farmers
  5. It is used for the production of wine.


  1. Lack of proper storage and processing facilities
  2. Inadequate rainfall impedes the growth and cultivation of these crops
  3. Lack of manpower to man the various fruit-processing industries
  4. Soil erosion often affects fruit production
  5. The wine processed form the fruits equally faces severe competition with other countries.


Plantation agriculture simply refers to the cultivation of perennial crops on large extensive areas of land. This method of crop cultivation is the most widely spread in West and East Africa with equatorial type climate.


In East Africa, the areas and the crops include Tobacco and Tea in Kenyan Highlands and Coffee in Uganda.  In West Africa, a lot of crops are cultivated under the plantation scheme which include the following.

  1. Cocoa plantation in Western State (Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Oyo) of Nigeria; Kumasi in Ghana and Bouake in Cote d’Ivoire
  2. Rubber plantation in Benin (Edo State) Nigerian and Howbel in Liberia
  3. Oil palm plantation in Benin (Edo), Okitipupa plantation are also prevalent in Benin Republic


  1. It requires large hectares of land
  2. It depends on large number of unskilled workers
  3. It equally requires the services of skilled workers
  4. It depends on large amount of capital
  5. It involves the application of complex tools for maximum output
  6. The presence of undulation plans as in the case of East Africa
  7. Adequate rainfall distribution throughout the year
  8. Availability of good transport network such as roads, rail and water, as in the case of western states of Nigeria
  9. Availability of fertile such as loamy soil as in the case of West Africa and volcanic soil as in East Africa.
  10. Presence of large market


  1. It provides employment opportunities
  2. It provides raw materials for the various categories of industries
  3. It leads to skill acquisition
  4. It generates revenue to the government and individual farm owners
  5. It often serves as a tourist centre
  6. It leads to agricultural innovations and establishment research centres as the case of NIFOR (Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, Benin (Edo State) Nigeria.
  7. It contributes a lot to foreign exchange earning through the exportation of its products.
  8. It leads to the development of towns with modern facilities and infrastructure as in the case of NIFOR near Benin (Edo State) and Ugharefe Rubber Estate near Sepele (Delta State) of Nigeria respectively.
  9. It encourages the development of hybrid corps are carried out by the various research centres.


  1. Land tenure system as practiced in most parts of West Africa particularly Nigeria
  2. Insufficient capital to run the plantation efficiently
  3. Problem of skilled workers to supervise thoroughly the various plantation in the rural areas.
  4. The problem of ownership in the hands of foreign investors.
  5. Problem of price fluctuation of the various plantation products
  6. Problem of pests and disease which can spread easily as a result of the infection of a single crop in an area
  7. Problem of inadequate rainfall and strong breeze as in the case of equatorial lands
  8. The use of crude implements in the cultivation of crops
  9. Inaccessibility (lack of good road network) coupled with lack of good modern infrastructure.


  1. Good roads and other infrastructural amenities should be made available in the rural areas
  2. The various governments should provide loans and credit facilities to prospective plantation farmers.
  3. The formation of cooperative and thrift societies will enable farmers to pool up resources.
  4. Agricultural machine spare parts should be made available to farmers.
  5. Good incentives should be given to skilled personnel who pick up jobs in the rural areas where the plantations are located.
  6. Government should establish demonstration sites where farmers should be educated on the use of modern form tools
  7. Government should encourage proper farm management as to the use of pesticides and insecticides in case of outbreak of disease


Lumbering may be defined as the sorting, felling of economic trees in the forest and transporting them as logs to the various places where they are processed for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes.


Lumbering is usually an activity by which is practiced in the various forest regions in Africa

  1. In the equatorial forest of West Africa lumbering is done along the coast of Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  2. Lumbering is equally practiced extensively in the tropical forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)
  • In East Africa forest, lumbering also thrives although in small quantity in Kenya, Uganda hardwood like camphor and coniferous trees (cedar and podocarp) are noticed.

The South Africa forest only produces a very small quantity of hardwood (ironwood, sneezewood) and softwood from yellow wood.

The Mediterranean forest can be located along the coast of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The common trees found include Cedar, Juniler and Oak.


There are several factors affecting lumbering in Africa.  They are as follows.

  1. Vegetation plays a significant role in lumbering because it can only be practise in the forest zones where lumberable trees can be located.
  2. Climate is another factor that aids lumbering. Rainfall and temperature plays vital roles, since lumbering can only thrives well in areas with high amount of rainfall.  Lumbering therefore is best in areas where annual rainfall is not less than 1500mm and temperature of 18oC – 24o
  3. Good soil is another factor that favours the growth of forest. The forest can only thrive well in areas of loamy soil which contain a lot of moisture content to support the tree throughout the year.
  4. Good transport network is another factor which can aid the development of lumbering. The development of lumbering relies on good transportation for the movement of the logs to where they can easily be processed and where they are needed as raw materials.
  5. Lumbering as an occupation is a capital intensive venture. There are so many expenses incurred in the process of lumbering.
  6. Human activities may influences the growth of lumbering in several ways. Man may decide to protect forest reserve by practicing afforestation.  On the other hand man may subject the forest to annual clearing and cutting down the lumberable trees thereby bringing the forest to savanna structure.


In Zaire, rainforest occupies a larger percentage of the land which present a lot of lumberable trees.

Lumbering is favoured in Zaire due to the following

  1. The vegetation is of rainforest which present a lot of lumberable trees both hardwood and softwood
  2. The Zaire basin is equally favoured with rich alluvial soil which is relative fertile thereby supporting the growth of trees.
  3. The Zaire basin is equally blessed with an annual rainfall of not than 1500mm and this favours the growth of lumberable trees.
  4. The availability of good transport network coupled with the provision of captain makes lumbering to be much attractive in Zaire
  5. Human activities also favours lumbering. Human beings cut down the trees for agricultural purposes while there may be the need to conserve the trees as forest reserves and reafforestation.
  6. Zaire has an equator climate with a mean annual temperature of 27o Since lumberable trees need t his range of temperature, it therefore plays an impact in their growth.


  1. The lumbermen search for the various trees of Okoume, Limbe and Mahogany
  2. Long handsaws and axe are used in cutting the trees
  3. The use of power driven engine saws are used for cutting and splitting the logs
  4. The logs are transported through the rails and rivers.


  1. Afforestation which is the policy of planting of at least two trees in place of one tree cut down in any area.
  2. Roads should be constructed round lumbering areas in the forest for easy transportation of logs
  3. Forest guards should be employed to check illegal falling of trees and ensure planting of new tree
  4. Improved technological system of felling trees through the use engine – operated saws
  5. Discouragement of both bush fallowing and bush burning
  6. The use of public enlightenment campaign to discourage illegal felling of trees and the resultant effects on the environment.


Pastoral farming is a system of agriculture involving the keeping of livestock.  They include Goat, Sheep and Cattle for both domestic and commercial purposes.  This system of agricultural practise is very much pronounced in the Sudan and Sahel Savanna regions of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Nigeria, all in West Africa.

Pastoral farming is also practiced in the wettish and tse-tse fly free areas of the East African Highlands, particularly in the Massai Reserve Grassland along the Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania borders.  In West Africa, pastoral farming is common among the Fulani and Hausa tribes, whereas in East Africa, it is taken as an important occupation among the Massai, Karamojon and Beja tribes.


Basically, two forms of pastoral farming are noticed in Africa, namely: Transhumance and Pastoral Nomadism.

Transhumance:  This form of pastoral farming involves the movement of cattle with the respective owners from lowland areas during rainy seasons to the highland areas and from highland areas in dry season to lowland areas, in search of green pasture at these respective period.

Pastoral Nomadism:  This system of agriculture involves the up and down movement of cattle and their respective owners form one place to another in search of green pasture and adequate water as seen in Nigeria.


  1. Good equitable climate
  2. The presence of grassland vegetation particularly, in the savanna vegetation region
  3. The presence of large expanse of land for grazing
  4. The complete absence of tse-tse fly in the vegetation belt which may cause sleeping sickness
  5. The cultural belief of the people such as the Massais and t he Fulanis
  6. Ready market for the various products
  7. Moderate rainfall


  1. It serves as a major source of food
  2. It provides foreign exchange to the practicing countries since they serves as major exports for the nation
  3. It provides income to farmers
  4. It serves as major source of power since most of the animals are used to pull farm implements
  5. Their products serve as raw material to various industries
  6. It creates job opportunities to both the cattle rearers and the various butchers


  1. The low level of education of the cattle rearers
  2. Inadequate rainfall leading to poor grass formation and water consumption by the animals
  3. Overgrazing of grasses often lead to soils erosion
  4. Lack of proper health care of the animals as the veterinary personnel are often in short supply.
  5. Insufficiency of drugs and vaccines
  6. Presence of tse-tse fly in some parts of the areas impede the full operation
  7. Lack of capital for extensive system of rearing animals.


  1. Nomadic education should be encouraged for the herdsmen as proposed by the Nigeria Government
  2. Adequate vaccines and drugs should be provided at subsidized rate
  3. More opportunities should be granted to veterinary officers in order to increase their numbers
  4. Better breeds of cattle and other animals should be introduced
  5. More research work should be introduced
  6. Ranching should be encouraged.

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