Originally published in French, Agriculture in African Communities, is an excellent introduction to the farming systems of West Africa in particular, and the tropics in general. It not only provides a clear, concise introduction to the principles of crop physiology and crop husbandry, but sets the farm in the context of the socio-economic and biophysical environment of West Africa.

First, a variety of traditional West African subsistence farming systems are explained. Traditional technologies such as intercropping, tillage practices, pest control and agroforestry are elucidated in such a way as to encourage development practitioners to build upon traditional practices as they work with farmers.

The lessons are divided up into 15 sections, starting with the goals and aspirations of the farmer, and the environment. After discussions of soil, water, crops and fertilizers, there is a final section on measuring yields and economic returns. There is one small omission that is unfortunate. Given the importance of integrating livestock, particularly the small stock, into African cropping systems, several chapters on animal nutrition and management would have been useful.

Excellent black and white photos are complemented with informative diagrams. The combination of the breadth of information, language used and the excellent graphics make this an outstanding book for volunteers going to the field, extension agents and students.

Available from:

Terres et Vies
Rue Laurent Delvaux 13
1400 Nivelles
US$ 15.00/CFA 4500.