Development agencies and their clients : the case of the En Nahud smallholder agricultural project (ENSAP), Sudan
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This thesis is concerned with rural development in Ghubeish village communities in En Nahud district, Northern Kordofan, Sudan. The area currently experiences an intervention in its traditional rain-fed agriculture by an NGO and is supposedly an area where rural development is underway. The thesis has to make use of an 'eclectic approach' which, in my view, is theoretically grounded to provide a holistic account of the development process. The 'eclectic approach' is an amlagam of the micro- and macro-approaches to development. Traditional anthropological approaches to development are mostly predicated on the too narrow premises of micro-models (e.g. transactional, actor-oriented etc.), and this renders them ill-equipped to take any account of the macro-level processes (such as local government, agencies etc.), which come directly to bear on the local scene. This, plainly, does not fully grasp the totality of the development enterprise (micro and macro). Despite being viewed as polar opposites, both the micro- and macro-approaches are necessary for the study of rural development at the local level. Rather than detracting from theoretical strength, combining such models in an overall 'eclectic approach' adds to the vigour of the theoretical analysis. Ten villages were selected for the present study, with between 274 and 1957 inhabitants. The population is from the Hamar tribe, which has historically witnessed a long process of transformation from semi-pastoralism to sedentary agriculture, combining subsistence and cash crop production. The basis of agriculture is predominantly traditional, using simple implements in a savannah environment. The majority of the inhabitants are smallholder farmers cultivating less than thirty makhamas (1 makhamas = 1.79 acres), though a significant proportion are large landowners. In addition to household labour hired labour and sharaka (share- cropping) contribute to the overall structure of the farming system. Despite the fact that land remains plentiful, expansion of the area under cultivation was restricted by capital shortage (which gave rise to informal and exploitative credit systems), and the simplicity of the agricultural technique. The intention this thesis is to bring to the foreground the views and perceptions of the people in these villages who are affected by the development project and to compare them with those held by the agency itself. It is shown that some of the respective views square and others diverge, whilst closer communication works to bridge the misunderstanding and misplaced stereotyping held by both sides. The study also shows that the government authority tends to ignore the villagers in their remoteness despite its plans for community development. Evaluation of the project shows that over the limited period of three years (mid-term) of project implementation the agency has partly succeeded in its experiment with institutionalising a low-cost and sustainable credit/extension system appropriate to the needs of smallholder farmers. But, on balance, it had had a limited impact towards reaching its goal of raising, significantly, smallholders' income.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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