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American Journal of Rural Development

ISSN (Print): 2333-4762

ISSN (Online): 2333-4770

Editor-in-Chief: Chi-Ming Lai




The Changing Nature of Agricultural Livelihoods along a Peri-urban to Rural Gradient in Eastern Madagascar

1Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Dept., Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

2Founder and President of Maroantsetra Area Development Association (MADA), Antananarivo, Madagascar

American Journal of Rural Development. 2016, 4(2), 31-42
doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-1
Copyright © 2016 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Christoffel den Biggelaar, Maya Moore. The Changing Nature of Agricultural Livelihoods along a Peri-urban to Rural Gradient in Eastern Madagascar. American Journal of Rural Development. 2016; 4(2):31-42. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-1.

Correspondence to: Christoffel  den Biggelaar, Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Dept., Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA. Email:


Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, but with high conservation value due to its many unique, endemic species. Rapid population growth and increasing poverty are leading to growing food insecurity and malnutrition especially in rural areas, putting ever more pressure on remaining natural resources. Ecoagriculture is seen as one approach to address these issues, but the success of introducing new practices is contingent on the specific local conditions and situation of individual households reflected in different livelihood strategies. In order to better orient agricultural training and technical assistance provided by the Madagascar Flora and Fauna Group (MFG), a short survey was done in villages in two areas where MFG operates, at different distance from and ease of access to the city of Tamatave: Parc Ivoloina and the Betampona Integral Nature Reserve. Results show that households in villages around Betampona largely continue to use traditional slash-and-burn methods, with future livelihoods remaining focused on agriculture based on primarily food crop production. Around Parc Ivoloina, households rely more and more on off-farm and non-farm income made possible by its close proximity to Tamatave. People do farm, but are switching to less labor demanding tree crops and livestock more compatible with off-farm jobs, and to keep ancestral land occupied to provide supplementary food and income. The results confirm that farmers are adaptive resource managers, flexibly redirecting their activities, practices and methods as economic and environmental conditions change or opportunities arise.



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Smallholder Farmers’ Willingness to Invest in Irrigation Schemes in Dedza, Malawi

1Rural Development Theory and Policy, Hans-Ruthenberg Institute, University of Hohenheim Stuttgart 70593, Germany

American Journal of Rural Development. 2016, 4(2), 43-48
doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-2
Copyright © 2016 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Emily McNulty, Thea Nielsen, Manfred Zeller. Smallholder Farmers’ Willingness to Invest in Irrigation Schemes in Dedza, Malawi. American Journal of Rural Development. 2016; 4(2):43-48. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-2.

Correspondence to: Emily  McNulty, Rural Development Theory and Policy, Hans-Ruthenberg Institute, University of Hohenheim Stuttgart 70593, Germany. Email:


As governments look to alleviate their budgets and encourage local management of natural resources, interest in irrigation management transfer (IMT) has grown. IMT is the handover of control and ownership of an irrigation system from a public sector entity to a private sector organization. With Malawi’s ineffective irrigation systems, burgeoning population density, and strained water resources, IMT is an attractive option for policy makers. Planners of upcoming IMT projects must thoroughly investigate the willingness of farmers to invest in irrigation schemes, and use the findings to create realistic expectations for all IMT stakeholders. This paper analyzes the willingness of smallholder farmers to invest capital and unpaid labor in the construction, maintenance, and management of four types of irrigation schemes. A high willingness to invest in hypothetical irrigation schemes, in some cases, is explained by a greater household labor endowment, a higher education level, a higher elevation, a stronger social network, and the perception that irrigation is important to yield. These findings could be used as a basis for IMT budget estimates, but are not a substitute for in-depth research in particular areas where IMT is planned. Policy makers are encouraged to tailor IMT projects to individual households’ abilities to invest capital, unpaid labor, or a combination of the two.



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Territorial Management, Environmental Degradation and Resilience in Rural Areas of the Argentinian Temperate Arid Diagonal

1Departmento de Geografía y Turismo, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina

2Department of Geography and Regional Science and RCE Graz-Styria, University of Graz, Graz, Austria

American Journal of Rural Development. 2016, 4(2), 49-58
doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-3
Copyright © 2016 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Julia Inés Gabella, Friedrich M. Zimmermann. Territorial Management, Environmental Degradation and Resilience in Rural Areas of the Argentinian Temperate Arid Diagonal. American Journal of Rural Development. 2016; 4(2):49-58. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-3.

Correspondence to: Julia  Inés Gabella, Departmento de Geografía y Turismo, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina. Email:


Rural areas located in the South of Buenos Aires province represent a clear example of an extra marginal Pampean area with evidence of environmental degradation. The area is located in the Argentinean Temperate Arid Diagonal and presents a semi-arid to arid climate with high variability, mostly regarding precipitation regimes. Throughout the twentieth century and up to the present, these lands were incorporated into the new logics of globalized agricultural production leading to the deforestation of the native forest and the development of unsustainable agriculture with methods and techniques which are highly aggressive towards the environment. In addition to these practices, the absence of public policies aiming at territorial planning even enforced the environmental degradation of the area. Degradation in these areas involves three aspects of the same reality: Firstly, the natural aspect, which refers to changes in soil characteristics causing desertification and loss of biodiversity. Then, the economical aspect with an increasing indebtedness of the farmers and consequently rural impoverishment. Finally, the social aspect that manifests itself in the degradation associated with land abandonment, rural exodus and the loss of cultural values and traditions. The goal of this article is to develop a concept, based upon three models, constituting the framework for a stepwise development towards sustainability and resilience: (1) a conceptual model explaining different land management processes in which shaped these rural areas, (2) a process model covering the relationship between (land use/management) processes and environmental degradation and (3) a future model, proposing alternatives for rural land management, related to the concept of rural resilience.



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