Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Chapter 1: Residues toward freedom...
 Chapter 2: Background to settlers...
 Chapter 3: Methods of research
 Chapter 4: Presence of state...
 Chapter 5: Social organization...
 Chapter 6: Settler-autocthone relations...
 Chapter 7: Agricultural and natural...
 Chapter 8: Satisfaction : determinants...
 Chapter 9: Conclusions : commitment...
 Appendix A: Outline of semi-structured...
 Appendix B: Questions defining...
 Biographical sketch

Group Title: Freedom and sustainability : a comparative analysis of planned and spontaneous settlement in Togo
Title: Freedom and sustainability
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056226/00001
 Material Information
Title: Freedom and sustainability a comparative analysis of planned and spontaneous settlement in Togo
Physical Description: xvi, 414 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Pozarny, Pamela F
Publication Date: 1995
Subject: Anthropology thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1995.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 398-413)
Statement of Responsibility: by Pamela F. Pozarny.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00056226
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002054565
oclc - 33486690
notis - AKP2544

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Table of Contents
        Page x
        Page xi
    List of Tables
        Page xii
        Page xiii
    List of Figures
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Chapter 1: Residues toward freedom : theories of African development applied to studies of settlement
        Page 1
        Theories of African development
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
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        Key issues in studies of settlement
            Page 21
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            Page 26
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    Chapter 2: Background to settlers and sites
        Page 43
        The Kabye
            Page 44
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        The Mo plain: The spontaneous settlement
            Page 81
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        The FED project: Planned settlement
            Page 96
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    Chapter 3: Methods of research
        Page 117
        Inductive and deductive research approaches
            Page 118
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        Research design
            Page 122
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    Chapter 4: Presence of state support
        Page 137
        Infrastructural conditions and maintenance
            Page 138
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        Government representation
            Page 158
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    Chapter 5: Social organization and settler relations
        Page 172
        Social processes for Mo plain settlers
            Page 173
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        Social processes for FED settlers
            Page 205
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    Chapter 6: Settler-autocthone relations : a question of land
        Page 225
        Relations in the Mo plain
            Page 226
            Page 227
            Page 228
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        Relations in the FED project
            Page 236
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    Chapter 7: Agricultural and natural resource systems : lessons from similarities between settlements
        Page 253
        Agricultural practices in the Mo plain
            Page 254
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        Agricultural practices in FED
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    Chapter 8: Satisfaction : determinants towards success
        Page 317
        Page 318
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        Settler satisfaction
            Page 320
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        Forecast for the future
            Page 339
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        Speaking with their feet
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        Role of autonomy
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    Chapter 9: Conclusions : commitment to success
        Page 381
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        Summary of research findings
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    Appendix A: Outline of semi-structured questionnaire
        Page 393
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    Appendix B: Questions defining compound variable of autonomy
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 414
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Full Text








Ronald Cohen
my eternal mentor and friend

and to my parents

all of whom guided me
toward my own independence and freedom
through trust, enduring support,
tolerance, and example.


The ideas and scholarship embedded in this study are largely the result of

seven years' guidance and collaboration with my Chair and major professor, Ronald

Cohen, who has channelled my transformation in perspective of development in

Africa from what he refers to as my "appealing naivete," to a much more

sophisticated, analytical, and critical level of understanding. While encouraging me to

hold onto my bursting enthusiasm, he expanded my sensitivity to grassroots Africa to

wider and deeper boundaries. With the tools of inquiry and knowledge, he has

inspired me to continue reaching for theoretical understanding of everyday life in

rural Africa.

I thank my committee members, specifically my cochair Art Hansen, for

assuming support and leadership during the critical completion period of the

dissertation, and for offering concrete advice and direction for my fieldwork on

settlement. Goran Hyden has continually provided invaluable exposure and direction

to my theoretical understanding of Africa throughout my graduate training. He has

been a key, but often quiet player in stimulating my understanding of the relationship

between local-level action and governance. His ideas are woven throughout this study,

particularly influencing my views of participation. Chris Andrew has been a

concerned, and reliably objective critic of my work and approach to African

development. His candid counseling on prioritizing, organizing and managing my

work and life will have an enduring after-life. I also appreciate the contribution of

Deirdre Crumbley, who has understood well the challenges to completing the degree.

The Center for African Studies and Director Peter Schmidt have been

immensely supportive assisting me throughout my graduate program. The teaching

opportunities during write-up, in particular, have been invaluable sources for

presenting and defending my ideas, and helping me synthesize and share my own

interest and concerns, commitment, and zeal for Africa. The Department of

Anthropology, including the Chair John Moore, and the administrative staff, Lois,

Pat, and Karen, have relentlessly encouraged my progress through diverse, voluntary

assistance, all delivered with sincere and personal attention.

The fieldwork study in Togo was possible by a Fulbright grant awarded by the

Board of Scholarships and USIA in collaboration with Benin Universit6. At the

university, Rector Komlavi Seddoh was helpful in paving my way into the halls of

Togolese academia, librarian Director E.E. Amah exposed me to key resources, and

scholars G.N. Kenkou and Koffi Akibod6 assisted me in refining my research

methods and analyses.

I am indebted to a number of key individuals ho facilitated my research in the

field. In Mo, S6d6gnan Kedagni, Director of Plan-Central, relentlessly contributed to

advancing my fieldwork through logistical and theoretical support. He enriched and

advanced my data analysis, becoming a genuine partner in my studies of Mo

development, and a warm friend. Napo Tanghanwaye, Director of National Parks, a

longtime friend and colleague, was predictably resourceful in assisting my entry and

settlement into Mo through hiatuses in Binaparba, and invariably interested and

enthusiastic throughout my research. Our friendship matures and ripens steadily

through time. I am also indebted to the Mo chefs secteurs, Napo and Ketatal6, for

providing unwavering assistance and friendship. While forging rivers, trekking hills,

and sharing meals, our exchanges transformed from mutual curiosity to investment

and sincere respect and concern. Chiefs of Boulo and Tagba enriched my

understanding of Mo immensely, and illustrated the boundlessness of Mo-farmer

generosity and pride. Prefet of Soutouboua Kouami Pounpouni offered sensitive

insight, especially from an ethno-historical perspective, from which I benefitted

immensely. I also thank my loyal assistant Dream, who contributed much more than

interpretation of daily and rare events encountered, enabling me to enter the heartbeat

of Mo through opening his own world to me. My dear friend and "family" Fili was

an unwavering and welcome face at the end of everyday, sustaining my Mo existence

in style. FED-Bassar, specifically, Directors Moreau Lorrent and Allasane Traor6,

and Paulin Ewovor also were helpful in expediting my work in Mo.

In FED, Ahounde Tendoh, chef-secteur of Broukou, was indispensable to my

fieldwork. His patience and adeptness for problem-solving merits him the status of a

true diplomat. I am forever grateful to him. Sustained advocacy and attention for my

research from FED Directors, Eklou, Nebona, Tinka, and particularly Dogbe,

provided me rich insight to the longitudinal changes in FED through animated debate

concerning development in Africa. Both my FED assistants, Innocent and Claude,

enhanced my understanding of the project and of anthropological fieldwork, more by

their own beliefs and behaviors than the interview information they transmitted. Their

hard efforts warrant my sincere appreciation. Most important, with no uncertainty, the

Lombena family opened their hearts to me in blind trust, sharing the privacy of their

lives and beliefs. This family shaped the soul of this dissertation by enabling and

encouraging my own participation as a settler child. I especially thank Ladi, who

understood much more than she lead on.

In Lome, the Adjavon family rendered continuous generosity and warmth

during my visits, and always supplied open and honest criticisms of my work. I

appreciate the staff of ORSTOM, SOTED, FED, and UB for assisting my

documentation research and pointing out to me other more obscure works of interest.

Many other friends throughout Togo, of which there are too many to mention here,

selflessly offered support and motivation throughout my fieldwork.

Many friends in local networks have encouraged my progress and

unconditionally supported me during my writing. Each in their own way gave me

inspiration and confidence. I am especially grateful for concerned, relentless support

from the Cohens, Agnes Leslie, and Deb, who helped me spin my wheels. My

deepest appreciation and gratitude is extended to Anne Todd-Bockarie for helping me

with the most essential element of my work, myself. I also want to acknowledge the

fine assistance and editing work of Margaret Joyner, who added dimension to the

"final days," and Chuck Kincaid, for his keen interest in my research and patience in

the cadence of my grasp of numbers.

Finally, I want to thank my siblings, Eddie and Jill, and again my parents, for

sustaining confidence in me and motivating me toward successfully completing my

goal. Inquiry, social adaptation, freedom and independence have been the fodder of

our family hearth. These attributes underlie this dissertation and my continuing pursuit

of knowledge.


What is the appropriate role of the state in rural development in Africa today?

What degree of directed government assistance versus spontaneous farmer initiative

best ensures sustainable community development combined with stewardship and

responsibility toward the natural resource base? These are the fundamental questions

directing this research. My goal in this research is to examine the processes that lead

to understanding real needs for more incorporation or more disengagement of

individuals with the state and vice versa. The longer-term goal of such research is to

understand how to develop more responsive and effective state institutions which

incorporate a participatory approach.

The contribution that case-study, local-level analysis of the effectiveness the state

in rural development in current Africa should not be underestimated. Theoretical

understanding of state-society relations is gained through examination of the degree

and incorporation of participatory versus top-down models in actual development

programs. In this study, the research design relies on empirical research of state-

society relations by comparison of cases of spontaneous and planned settlement in

Togo, West Africa. In illustrating dramatic differences of state control on rural

settlement, I then analyze their immediate and long-term results. My aim is to

interpret and explain outcomes of the two settlements to garner key lessons from each

which inform future policy toward settlement, migration, and development at large.

Organization of the Dissertation

Organization of this dissertation is comprised of three main sections: (1)

Introduction; (2) Research findings; and (3) Conclusion. Section one includes three

chapters: (1) an examination of the theoretical focus of this research study (including

a review of "residues" from former perspectives leading to my own theoretical

framework), and an introduction to key issues in settlement studies relevant to this

research; (2) Background to the Kabye (primary settler group), the Mo plain

(spontaneous settlement), and the FED project (planned settlement); and (3) an

account of methods applied in conducting and analyzing findings from this research.

Section two includes five chapters, each comprised of data presentation and analysis

comparing sites. These chapters concern: (4) state support regarding infrastructural

development and government presence; (5) relations between settlers; (6) relations

between autocthones and settlers; (7) agricultural and natural resource management

systems (including agroeconomic outcomes); and (8) levels of satisfaction among

settlers, and their prospects and intentions toward the future. Section three is

comprised exclusively of a final summary and conclusion.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ... ............................... iii

PREFACE ......................................... viii

LIST OF TABLES .... ................. ................ xii

LIST OF FIGURES ..... ......................... ....... xiv

ABSTRACT ................................. ... ...... xv



Theories of African Development .......................... 1
Key Issues in Studies of Settlement ....................... 21


The Kabye ....................................... 44
The Mo Plain: The Spontaneous Settlement .................. 81
The FED Project: Planned Settlement ...................... 96

3 METHODS OF RESEARCH .. ....................... .. 117

Inductive and Deductive Research Approaches ............... 118
Research Design ................................... 122

4 PRESENCE OF STATE SUPPORT .......................

Infrastructural Conditions and Maintenance ..................
Government Representation ............................


Social Processes for Mo Plain Settlers . . . ..... 173
Social Processes for FED Settlers ................ ........ 205


Relations in the Mo Plain .............................
Relations in the FED Project ...........................


Agricultural Practices in the Mo Plain ....................
Agricultural Practices in FED ..........................


Settler Satisfaction .................................
Forecast for the Future ...............................
Speaking with Their Feet .............................
Role of Autonomy .................................


Summary of Research Findings ..........................
Conclusions ......................................

APPENDICES .......................................
Appendix A: Outline of Semi-Structured Questionnaire ...........
Appendix B: Questions Defining Compound Variable of Autonomy ....

REFERENCES ................... .....................

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................
















2-1. Population increase and density ............................ 60

2-2. M igration patterns .................................... 61

5-1. Comparison of sources of settler information and sponsorship . ... 174

5-2. Comparison of participation in labor and credit associations . ... 191

7-1. Comparison of sources and availability of land . . . ..... 256

7-2. Comparison of perceptions and management of natural resources ...... .258

7-3. Comparison of labor systems ................... ......... 261

7-4. Comparison of cropping systems and production levels . . .... 264

7-5. Comparison of extension policy, services offered, and outcomes ....... 267

7-6. Comparison of annual production and consumption of maize and sorghum 282

7-7. Crop production yields in FED over time . . . ... ....... 288

7-8. Comparison of income generating activities . . . ..... 298

7-9. Comparison of animal ownership and annual income generated by
sale of animals ..................................... 298

8-1. Comparison of settler satisfaction (reported better off, as percent of sample) 321

8-2. Comparison between home village and settlement ................ 322

8-3. Effects of duration in settlement on settler attitudes and behavior . 323

8-4. Income and socioeconomic status as reflected in purchases of material goods 324


8-5. Socioeconomic status by farmer status as reflected in purchases of
material goods ..................................... 326

8-6. Settler status and income (CFA) ................................. 327

8-7. Comparison of estimated average annual gross and net household incomes (CFA) 327

8-8. Comparison of household financial responsibility (% of respondents) . 339

8-9. Comparison of duration of settlers in settlement and perception of
responsibility for development ........................... 346

8-10. Comparison of settler opinions on defection (% of respondents) ....... 362

8-11. Comparative analysis of compound variables using both t-test and
W ilcoxon Sum test .................................. 377



1-1. Settlement sites in Togo .................................. 42

2-1. Comparison of population growth over time ................... 64

2-2. The spontaneous settlement site on the Mo Plain ................ 82

2-3. The planned settlement site of the Fonds Europ6en de D6veloppement
(FED ) . . . . . . . . . . 101

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Pamela F. Pozarny

May 1995

Chairman: Ronald Cohen
Cochairman: Art Hansen
Major Department: Anthropology

Failure of the African state, manifested in increasing economic, political and

environmental problems, has drawn researchers to rethink state-society relations,

particularly the society factor in the equation. The focus of this research is an

examination of the effects of varying degrees of incorporation of rural people into

structures of the modern state. Scholars differ in their perspectives of the appropriate

role of the state, ranging from the state-centric, centralized model, to one of classic

liberalism assuming uncertainty in development. Although scholars debate the most

effective role of the African state in terms of economic, political and social outcomes,

there is little research on the detailed effects of state control on rural farmers.

By examining farmers relocating to new lands under varying degrees of

government intervention, one a spontaneous settlement, the other, a government-

planned agricultural settlement, both in Togo, West Africa, this research focuses on

the extent of farmer articulation with the central government resulting in development

successes and failures to identify appropriate conditions wherein government

assistance leads to empowerment, autonomy, and sustainability.

Findings of this research indicate that a participatory approach to development,

and settlement in specific, ensures the greatest degree of settler investment and

permanence leading to long-term stewardship and sustainability of the environment.

Where settlers maintain greater responsibility and decision-making power over the

social and physical conditions and development of their landscapes, they are better

prepared to confront uncertain and challenging difficulties common to rural farmers in

Africa. In contrast, where authoritarian governments limit farmer participation by

providing "total" environments largely sponsored and designed by Westerners, overly

rigid, unresponsive, often inappropriate projects ensue, preventing farmer initiative

and flexibility essential for sustainable development.

This research illustrates that marriage between state-support and farmer

autonomy is the most effective means to sustainable growth and development in

Africa. When state assistance is conceived in collaboration with local populations, it

should result in appropriate long-term benefits for infrastructure, environmental

protection, and agricultural development. The legacy of overly centralized dirigisme

provokes project failures and dependency; farmer freedom generates creative energy

for problem-solving and success.


The utility of any theory is to make sense out of otherwise random events
(W.F. Ilchman, Rising Expectations and the Revolution in Development,

Even if the government thinks it knows what ought to be done, it will
try to do so in the worst possible way, which is to say uniformly,
systematically, politically and ignorantly. The last is an argument for
localizing-even for privatizing- the management of welfare and other
social programs, on the notion that encouraging a variety of approaches
is the best hope for learning what works in any particular place. But it
is also an acknowledgement that we haven't learned it yet (William
Raspberry, Gainesville Sun, January 4, 1995:8A).

Theories of African Development


What exactly should be the role of the state in Africa is hazy in both detail and

even macro ideological terms. It is still poorly understood primarily because of the

haziness of actual state-society relations. I believe this is largely due to researchers'

use of assumptions based on ideologically informed approaches that have obscured

real world conditions of state-society interdependence. The state has not been

realistically considered.


The utility of any theory is to make sense out of otherwise random events
(W.F. Ilchman, Rising Expectations and the Revolution in Development,

Even if the government thinks it knows what ought to be done, it will
try to do so in the worst possible way, which is to say uniformly,
systematically, politically and ignorantly. The last is an argument for
localizing-even for privatizing- the management of welfare and other
social programs, on the notion that encouraging a variety of approaches
is the best hope for learning what works in any particular place. But it
is also an acknowledgement that we haven't learned it yet (William
Raspberry, Gainesville Sun, January 4, 1995:8A).

Theories of African Development


What exactly should be the role of the state in Africa is hazy in both detail and

even macro ideological terms. It is still poorly understood primarily because of the

haziness of actual state-society relations. I believe this is largely due to researchers'

use of assumptions based on ideologically informed approaches that have obscured

real world conditions of state-society interdependence. The state has not been

realistically considered.

Failure of the African state (Wunsch and Olowu 1990), manifested in

increasing economic, political, and environmental problems, has drawn researchers to

rethink state-society relations, particularly the society factor in the equation. Among

scholars, there is little consensus on the appropriate role of African populations in

state governance. Although scholars have been debating the most effective role of the

state in terms of economic and political factors and outcomes, there is limited actual

research on the detailed effects of state control on society, of societal use of state

resources, or the nexus between the two.

Former theories and perspectives on African development that have stood the

challenge of time and hard criticism serve as residues informing current state-society

models. In this chapter, I analyze how former theories have addressed and contributed

to debates over state-society relations. I ask the question: What have been their

perspectives, what are their theoretical weaknesses and flaws, how can we improve

upon and contribute to their analyses to gain greater insight of current state-society

relations in Africa?

I follow this lofty theoretical analysis with a real-world application. I introduce

the direction of this research by providing essential background to the study of

settlements,1 presenting key elements of settlement operations, and discussing overall

settlement weaknesses and concerns held among scholars of settlement.

1Not surprisingly, key findings and issues which emerge from my own research coincide with the main
foci of studies on settlement.

Theoretical Residues

In this section, I analyze perspectives of state-society relations from four broad

theories of African development: modernization theory, dependency theory, Marxism,

and liberalism. In reality, these theories are not mutually exclusive, but rather similar

and overlapping, particularly dependency and Marxism. I have nonetheless distin-

guished the four as separate to gain analytical depth and clarity in this discussion.

Modernization theory. The central theme of modernization theory was built

upon the belief that growth through industrialization equalled development (Rostow

1960). A new, autonomous African independent nation was to emerge through

creating a more rational economic system and modernized social and cultural people.

This goal was to be achieved by promoting import substitution through

industrialization and export agricultural production. Industrialization was to expand in

effort to increase exports (including agriculture and commercial goods), thus

increasing foreign revenue to stimulate the internal economy.2 During this period, in

consequence, a number of large-scale agricultural programs were initiated (such as

settlement schemes) for export cash-crop production using the philosophy and

technologies of modernization.

The recipe for industrialization required social and political institutional

changes as well as changes in economic policy. The modern industrial work

environment required a behavioral shift from the traditional African work style, one

2 Modernization theorists assumed (falsely) that food production in Africa was self-sufficient and
capable of expanding to support increased urban populations created by modernization. This would drain
off the underemployed, leaving rural producers to increase efficiency and gain greater income. Greater
urban food needs would also benefit rural sectors and be paid for by industrialization (Lipton 1976).

of intermittent, varied intensity and often collective and shared labor, to a more

Western industrial system characterized by regularity, consistency, dependability,

punctuality, and individual work (Apter 1965; Inkeles and Smith 1974; Lerner 1958).

To be modern was not just a set of dynamic conditions, but a state of mind. Social

change held a personal meaning for individuals. The "modern man" (Inkeles and

Smith 1974) was expected to shed former behaviors and attitudes to adopt a

progressive, modernizing work ethic that was believed to be necessary in stimulating

the growth of the national economy.3

Modernization theorists viewed development and growth as the release and

growth of productive forces in society. The role of the state, therefore, was to

provide the conditions to "enable" the capacity for growth and progress in both rural

and urban areas (Apter 1965). Rural areas, however, bore the pains of national

economic growth. Little government incentive or concern was directed toward

understanding the actual state of rural conditions. Emphasis on industrialization and

urbanization created a bias against the rural sector causing inequities and injustices in

the name of "development" (Lipton 1976). This created discrimination against rural

sectors, squeezing rural poor into worsened conditions, while urban migration lead to

further imbalance (Lipton 1976).4 Allocated resources, available through export

3 The rural farmer viewed as a program beneficiary, or executor, of project goals is one result of this

4 Rural taxation, artificially suppressing prices to producers for food production, and minimum
infrastructural development (except to ensure food transport to the urban centers) are examples of strategies
applied by urban-based political elites to economically squeeze rural farmers in favor of satisfying the more
critical, potentially threatening, urban populations.

revenues or foreign assistance, were rarely directed toward rural areas (as was well

illustrated in the Mo plain).5

National integration and unification became the dominant theme of many

African nations during the modernization period (such as Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria,

Cameroon, Togo) (Ake 1967; Emerson 1962; Hodgkin 1957). Extensive state

involvement in all national affairs led by a political elite was believed to provide the

appropriate economic and social atmosphere leading to industrial modernization

(Huntington 1987).6 The political system of modernizing nations was, following the

model of the colonial rule, authoritarian and structured into a unified one-party

regime (defended as culturally African because it was "communitarian," rather than

democratic). Although the political system of nationalization was cloaked in African

dress, it bore the skeletal framework of former colonial rule. Traditional, familiar,

deep-rooted African cultural symbols and beliefs were used by politicians to

"promote" new, national economic goals. Yet for most rural African farmers, the

state appeared unchanged. It maintained the same dominant, intervening, imposing

character that the colonial regime had formerly held.

Identification and association with ethnicity, lineage, and region were to be

secondary to nationhood.7 The individual was to transform into the "modern person."8

5 Urban food prices were kept low and stabilized from price fluctuations by government policies and
regulations, such as marketing boards.

6 The strength and fervor of the nationalizationeffort was largely motivated by the personal interests
of members of the political elite and urban populations, many of whom were Western-trained.

7 Phrases such as "die for the clan, live for the nation," used by the first President of Cameroon,
Ahmadu Ahidjo, reflect the atmosphere during this period of development and modernization.

Through greater awareness and exchange of ideas, people were to develop opinions

about government and society. Formulation of opinion would stimulate people's

greater participation in politics. People's values regarding traditional cultural practices

and beliefs, however, were to change. Ideas about community, family, and gender

roles were to be reshaped. Modern man was to be liberated from traditional bonds by

becoming more mobile, individualistic, and empathetic toward other modern

individuals (exemplified in the persona required of settlers who entered the FED

scheme). Increased education and exposure built expectations among people to capture

better opportunities and improve their lives. Unmet expectations lead to

disillusionment and frustration.

To attempt to minimize or erase the reality of pre-existing identities and values

and build a unified, umbrella nation-state was ineffective and unrealistic. Groups

formed by state authorities (such as those in the planned settlement) were often

inoperative because they were unfounded. The strength of indigenous associations and

weaknesses ("softness") of government hindered the progress and further development

of industrialization and modernization. During this period, Third World dependence

on financial and technical assistance from developed countries, seen as a necessary

"temporary" step toward greater autonomy and independence, was an assumption

seriously challenged by dependency theorists whose work also began to emerge at this


8 Reshaping the individual through the spread of literacy and media were considered critical elements
to the modernization progression (Inkeles and Smith 1974; Lerner 1958).

Dependency theory. In opposition to the modernization perspective,

dependency theorists challenged the concept of the African nation as isolated and

independent, and placed the blame for Third World poverty, dependency, and

unattained goals on external factors outside the new nation-state (Cardoso 1972;

Fanon 1963; Frank 1969; Leys 1975; Myrdal 1969; Rodney 1972). The causes of

poverty, according to dependency theorists, lie in power differences between wealthy

core and peripheral poor countries. Exploitation through resource extraction and

unequal trade prices have allowed richer, more powerful developed countries to

dominate and control the economic life of less developed Third World nations for

their own interests.9 This unequal relationship has existed for centuries, argue

proponents of dependency, which makes a break with core-peripheral relations all the

more revolutionary and difficult, yet necessary.

In order to cut the tie, Third World nations needed to gain greater autonomy

through self-sufficiency and reduced foreign dependence. African nations needed to be

liberated from foreign dominance (Fanon 1963; Myrdal 1969; Rodney 1972). Rather

than imperialistic foreign-owned and -operated, the dependency theorists

enthusiastically supported increased control and ownership of banks, industries, and

According to dependency theorists, agricultural export based on the concept of "comparative advantage"
was a false notion, placing the less developed nations in severe economic straits. Western countries
captured control of the world market to maintain cheap prices of goods and food imported from Third
World nations. By selling exports high and importing cheap, Western nations were able to maintain an
unequal, exploitative balance of trade between themselves and less developed nations.

larger business operations by the state.10 As the only viable and capable institution to

manage national affairs, they believed the state must be the lead player in barring

foreign exploitation and stimulating internal growth.

Ironically, dependency theorists paralleled modernization theorists by

considering the state the most powerful and effective source able to change and

improve national and international conditions. The state was seen as dedicated to

"real" development (meaning welfare as well as growth), while the private sector was

by definition oriented to growth alone." Political elites gained increased opportunities

to entrench the one-party state regime and further build on the foundations of a

centralized controlling state already set in place by modernization proponents.

I hasten to point out that scholars have identified both positive and negative

outcomes of capitalist penetration of the urban and rural sectors (Warren 1980; World

Bank 1981). Although it is true that groups have remained peripheral or not captured

by capitalist investments and state welfare policies, it is invalid to suggest that little or

no development or growth occurred in Third World nations during this period.

Foreign investment increased Third World development by increasing cash crop

production, improving urban and rural welfare conditions, including improving health

conditions, providing infrastructural support through roads and water supplies.

'o State parastatal agencies were thought to provide effective means to overcoming foreign-dominated

In parallel, cultural imperialism was combatted with an "indigenization" of African values and
behavior. "Africanization" of society was to override the Western influences which had penetrated during
the modernization period.


Marxist-Socialism. Fundamental to the Marxist perspective in Africa was that

elimination of capitalism would allow for Marxist state control, for example, through

Marxist-Leninist socialist governments which would create a development polity

ensuring social justice and prosperity in the interest of the masses (Young 1982). This

centralized planning would entail nationalization of most sectors and activities in

society, including agriculture, business, banking, transportation, education, and social

services, including health care. The critical element to Marxist nationalization is the

one-party state where the party represented the people. The notion of traditional

African society conveniently fit into the Marxian class-based model.12 Similar to the

dependency school, one expression or branch of Marxist thought, Marxist-Leninism,

in Africa meant a strong and ruling state (administered by an elite political class).

The Marxist state is a bird's eye perspective. It follows a top-down,

scientifically planned and operated blueprint approach to government. In the Marxist

state, the polity has synoptic knowledge of societal activities, capable of directing all

national activities from central state headquarters. In attempting to remove itself from

society, however, the state loses communication, understanding, and control of

society, and becomes increasingly paranoid and vulnerable to corruption (see Beetham

1994 on positives and negatives of this approach).3 State leaders cannot respond

effectively to local needs when they are not in position to hear them.

12 For Marx, class "consciousness" is essential to class action. A class must be of and for itself to act
as a unit.

3 Authoritarian, centrallycontrolledpolitiesare highly exposed and vulnerable to going "soft" (corrupt
and inefficient) due to waste, corruption, inefficiency, and poor planning.

The strong role of the state has been considered ineffective in providing for

"all" members of the nation. The welfare state was to provide for the collective needs

of all, but many people, particularly the rural poor, did not always receive adequate

support.14 Overly authoritarian state control is myopic, resulting in top-down,

inoperative states reflecting little of actual state-society conditions. The state-centric

approach not only inhibits growth of local initiatives. Too often it also increases

coercion and injustice. Coercive means of control limit the spontaneous responses to

information and opportunities required for development and economic growth.

The absence of secured welfare has led people to focus on meeting their own

minimal needs through traditional, widely diverse groups and associations based on

relations lying outside state control. The powerful strength and persistence of these

traditional networks, what Hyden (1980) calls the "economy of affection," largely lies

in the secondary, parallel, informal economy. These relations, it has been shown

(Hyden 1980; Rothchild and Chazan 1988), provide a more secure means of survival

for many rural peoples who find it easy to use their isolation and lack of state

effectiveness to carry on a semi-autonomous way of life within states unable to

implement their mobilization policies (relations among farmers of the spontaneous

settlement particularly function in this manner).5

14 Results of Marxist governments have been mixed: economic growth has shown to be below levels
of other, capitalist-oriented, African states; Marxist rhetoric to create equality has largely eluded Marxist
states; human rights violations and generally coercive regimes have been found to be as repressive and
unjust as in other African states; and overall capacity and performance of the Marxist state has led to over-
developed governments and corrupt, predatory regimes (Young 1982).

15 President Julius Nyerere's Tanzania Ujaama villagizationprogram (Hyden 1983) exemplifies how
a nationalization effort of centralized settlement fell short of its goal of peasant incorporation to the state


By admitting the failure of state-directed programs, the societal factor could no

longer be ignored. The complexity of societal groups was seen to complement or even

bypass state rule. The state was no longer believed to be a unifying and centralized

institution, but rather a porous political system comprised of individuals and specific

groups vying for power and authorized control within and outside of the official

political arena (Migdal 1987).

The failure of the state in Africa has been analyzed recently by scholars such

as Hyden and Bratton (1992), Rothchild and Chazan (1988), and Wunsch and Olowu

(1990). They conclude that the strong centralized African state paradigm is ineffective

and in crisis. Personal and group interests, plus the marketability of state decisions

(Cohen 1988) combined with diminishing available resources, have led political actors

to deceit and corruption. Economic crises have led in turn to a crisis of legitimation,

a fundamental questioning of the effectiveness, acceptability, and moral rectitude of

the African state.

In parallel, increasing international interdependency among nations (including

developing nations) has encouraged an opening up of political systems and a turn to

more dialogue between nations. Centralized regimes obstruct the participation, free

movement of goods and people, and creativity by members of society which are

theorized to be necessary for growth and development. Certainly, at a gross or macro-

level this is an emerging assumption of the 1990s (as witnessed in the "opening" of

centralized nations, notably Russia or South Africa).

due to farmers' continued employment of an exit option where a "dual or parallel economy" expanded
beyond the reach of the central state.


Western liberalism. A fundamental contrast between conceptions of the liberal

and the Marxist-Leninist centralized state lies in the varying degree of control and

planned state intervention which occurs in each. Liberal state leaders do not assume

that progress demands control and synoptic knowledge over society. Marxian-oriented

leaders, in contrast, believe in a common Weltanschauung, the possibility of absolute

penetration of ideology and regulation to form a one-party, unified state (Lindblom

1977). According to liberals, society is not a homogeneous unit, but a conglomerate

of differentiated, autonomous units which lie in, outside, and cut across the formal

divisions between state and society (Almond 1960).

The internal interacting elements of society consistently undermine efforts at

state control because they are both enduring and spontaneous formations based on

traditional relationships, contemporary groupings, self-initiative, and mutual

adjustment among individuals and groups whose multitudes of interactions are so

numerous and so complex as to defy anything like complete control (Hayek 1960). In

effect, the state cannot ever fully regulate many of the traditional and intermittent

structures of society (such as kinship, religion, trades networks, and so on). Nor can

they ever be totally assimilated into the state.

Liberals argue that people and interest groups act based on their own volition.

Individuals in the liberal state are free and unpredictable (Beetham 1994). Individuals

actively search for their own particular solutions to immediate and long-term

constraints through self-initiative, and creativity and processing of information

required (Hyden's uncapturedd peasant"). They are not merely passive, monistic, or

easily regulated, as demonstrated by settlers in both sites. On the other hand, like

molecules in a crystal formation, they (individuals) do maintain limited and adapting

patterns of action from the past and from aggregating agreements on rules of order

(Hayek 1960).

Because the liberal democratic state assumes incomplete knowledge and

uncertainty over society (Lindblom 1977), it is not rigid and fixed, stifling spontaneity

and initiative. Liberalism allows for openness, flexibility, pluralism, and diversity. It

maintains open pathways of communication linking the interpenetrating and

multidimensional strata and sectors of society, both vertically and horizontally. Thus

information is not truncated, but widely spread and shared among individuals in the

liberal state. According to Beetham (1994) liberal democracy is always an unfinished


Fluid communication channels in society offer individuals and groups

opportunities to collect and absorb information appropriate and essential to their

specific needs. Increased information channels allow for greater amounts of

knowledge to be shared among both the polity and society and lead to more effective

and accountable policy in decision-making (Inkeles and Smith 1974). Greater ease and

use of communication among groups determines a more efficient, effective society,

economy, and state. This is the key ingredient, according to Almond (1960), to

effective state-society boundary maintenance and/or "relations" in more contemporary



Problem-solving allows for conflict, disagreement, and criticism. Opposition of

all kinds, especially legitimate political parties, is fundamental to liberal democratic

states. For Hayek (1944), individuals' interests, freedom, values, and needs should

guide state action. Diversity, increased participation, shared resources, and power

characterize the democratic liberal state. "To turn the whole of society into a single

organization built and directed according to a single plan would be to extinguish the

very forces that shaped the individual human minds that planned it" (Hayek 1960:37).

The liberal paradigm, in contrast to the Marxist-socialist orientation, calls for

greater degrees of freedom in society and in the economy by a reduction of the state

through the divesture of parastatals, plus increased local participation and democratic

political practices. Increased freedoms allow for free association and greater

participation without fear. The presence of more national equity, justice, and political

accountability is fostered through liberalization, the competitive opening up of

political and economic activity (Kennedy 1994).

In a liberal capitalist system, guidelines drawn by state authorities are used to

regulate or assist, but not control economic (market forces), political, and

sociocultural activities. Strategies of liberal states are based on incremental feedback

operations which generate decentralization of control, fragmentation of responsibility,

decisions, and influences. As Aron (1967) argues, planned and spontaneous forces

should dictate the liberal democratic social agenda and its ordered existence.

Economic development should enable and protect real freedoms to emerge in a liberal

democracy. A dialectic between democracy and authority creates a tension where

minimum rules and dependency coincidentally exist with pluralism and initiative

(Kennedy 1994).16

According to capitalist liberals, maximum rationalization is achieved through a

competitive, capitalist market economy." Penetration of Western capitalism is meant

to foster and facilitate greater indigenous economic activity already existing in the

informal, parallel economy (Almond 1960; Callaghy 1988; Dei 1993; Essombe-Edimo

1993; Hyden 1980; MacGaffey 1988). In place of the strong state dogma, a more

democratic and eclectic approach to economic growth is now the focus of many

African states. As the formal market expands into less formal, parallel economies, a

more diverse array of actors will participate in, and have greater access to formal

market opportunities and goods (Bernal 1994). A number of scholars agree that

participation and democracy are inseparable (Beetham 1994; Pateman 1970), so as

economic liberalism expands, so in turn will democratic practices. I agree with

Warren (1980), capitalism correlates with democracy and some operative balance

between both state regulation and societal dynamism is essential to a liberal political


Residual theory. In sum, the state-centric (Marxist) paradigm remains limited

in theory and practice. The state alone cannot provide society with basic needs and

services. Its own financial constraints and its inability to identify real needs in

6 It is often overlooked that Marx also recognized the necessity for this as an avenue for establishing
a socialist state with a respect for democracy and a developed economy (Warren 1980).

7 Because the state cannot create the nation's wealth, privatization, competition, and foreign investment
are encouraged to stimulate the much-needed growth.


complex, plural societies from its birds' eye vantage point limits its capacity to realize

its declared objectives for effective government. By inducing development through

imposed, top-down programs, the state prevents the expansion of local capacities.

Comparatively rigid, centrally controlled state regimes undermine their own legitimate

power by denying external participation. Rather than obstructing local initiatives, the

state should encourage and buttress indigenous organization, aiding growth and

therefore, ultimately, differentiation.

Today, the term "strong states" implies a capability for confronting diversity

(within and beyond national borders) without threat or loss of independence. State

effectiveness means eclecticism, accommodation, and appropriateness (through

learning) of government activities and interactions. Liberalization demonstrates state

strength, power, and desire for growth and development.

As Migdal (1987) and others have said, the state has now been removed from

its lofty position where it was separate from societal activities, and becomes one actor

among others vying for power, control, and benefits. The state and society nexus is

now more visible and fluid. If, in fact, the state aims to guarantee individuals human

rights and justice, opportunities, and optimal freedom within a normative order, and if

the state aims to assist in improving the welfare and lifestyles of the population, then

greater power and autonomy must be shared between the state and the society it


S1 Questions concerning the state-society balance continue to resonate and challenge political figures
today. In Florida, for example, an editorial included the following: "Chiles spoke of the need to change
the very nature of state government- from an entity that initiates programs and issues, new laws, rules and
regulations, to an agent that acts as a catalyst to bring together people, local governments, not-for-profit

Some degree of order is necessary to maintaining a stable state. In a liberal

capitalist system, restraint over state power and control is effected by ordering

mechanisms in society itself. Through representation and local advocacy, people's

participation in social, political, economic and environmental policy-making harnesses

state authority and power. Conflict and opposition are pillars of the liberal state. Open

communication and access to information and education are necessary prerequisites to

a effective participation.

As governments become more responsive to people's demands and

decentralization, local governments increase in power, and state control from the

center decreases. Honest government, legitimacy, is assured by people's genuine

interest, concern, and participation with local, regional, and national governmental

activities (Hyden and Bratton 1992). As people acquire more control over their own

lives, national growth and development progresses as a function of their capacity to

increase rational choices while government helps through experimenting with

regulation and interventions that enhance local initiatives and incentives. Groups,

associations, and local institutions based on traditional social networks and relations

are strong and important sources for social, political, and economic well-being

(Burgess 1994; Mann et al. 1989).19 State leaders need to build upon these traditional

[groups], and others to try to solve problems we have. 'Our problem is that we tend to expect government
to solve our problems,' Chiles observed. 'It can't. But our unique and wonderful constitution gives us the
opportunity to design a framework whereby people can participate to solve problems'" (Editorial,
Gainesville Sun, January 4, 1994:10A).

19 Numerous Togolese government leaders confirmed that stability in the economy and in national
politics relied on ancient structures of traditional leadership (including village and canton chiefs).


organizations to stimulate growth and development. Rather than impose newly created

groups or "classes" on local populations, the state should make use of existing

organizations (Burgess 1994; Dei 1993; Massaro 1994).

Likewise, development can foster conservation of the environment (Ingram

1994; World Bank 1989). Indigenous knowledge systems incorporated with Western

scientific systems for agriculture and natural resource management can provide

creative and long-term benefits and sustainability (Biggs 1980; Ingram 1994; DeWalt

1994; Richards 1985; Thurston 1992). Sustainability and social development are

interdependent, the erosion of one leads to erosion of the other. For example,

encroachment of marginal lands and mining of the natural resource base are due to

population pressure and increased poverty. Similarly, accelerating deforestation is

caused by increased wood extraction to meet rising urban demands. These damaging

environmental effects are due to the natural increase in population and development

initiatives which are myopic in lack of planning for long-term sustainability (Altieri et

al. 1983; Hunter and Ntiri 1978; Ingram 1994; Little et al. 1987).

To institutionalize democratic principles and practices in an African state

political system, to "make government work for the people," focus should begin with

grassroots participation in local activities. According to some scholars, a bottom-up,

rather than top-down approach is essential to designing effective strategies and

principles for economic and political growth (Burgess 1994; Moris 1981).

Participation includes self-initiated, local-level activities with responsive state

intervention. Concomitantly, participation requires people's access to information and

their capacity to express opinions and viewpoints without threat. Liberal notions of

development, such as "optimal ignorance" (Uphoff 1986), "hiding hand" (Hirschman

1967), "incremental changes and development" (Lindblom 1959), and other concepts

of small-scale, learning processes (Korten 1980), are the predictable foundations of a

newly emergent liberal capitalist states.

To conclude, for scholars purporting a liberalist approach, local participation

is not an alternative to state control, but a vital component determining the degree and

kind of state assistance required for changes brought on by development. They claim

that participatory, local-level self-development assisted by liberal-oriented state

support may be the most effective approach to development and growth of Third

World nations (Hirschman 1984). Liberalism and participation through compromise

and adjustment between state and society may be the next step toward reaching the

precarious balance in Africa today. Theories have helped and hindered. They always

will. Somehow we must search for ideas, concepts, and relations that take out of the

enormous confusion of development sufficient insight to push the process forward.

State and its relation to society must now be studied in a more fine-grained manner.

Macro theories will result. But micro-macro knowledge of real world conditions is the

necessary next step.

Directions for Research

The buffer zone between the polity and people can be analyzed and

"measured" according to its functional performance (Almond 1960). Through


empirical analysis, the interstices between the two must be clarified. From analysis of

these intersections (supported by quantitative and qualitative data), scholars can begin

to assess the most appropriate role for the state as provider of regulation and welfare

by identifying the costs and benefits over time of state engagement and disengagement

with society and economy. As Chazan (1988) remarks, individuals and groups

vacillate in their encounters with the state according to their interests. For them, the

state is both oppressor and ally. As recognition of the failure of the African state

increases (Wunsch and Olowu 1990), research will focus more on the real and

changing nature of state-society relations. Research must focus on both the effects of

state intervention on rural and urban populations, and, in turn, the options and

outcomes resulting from people either incorporating or disengaging from state


Greater understanding and insight into state-society relations can be attained

through context-driven, inductive research of local state-society interactions (Burgess

1994; Dei 1993). According to Chazan (personal communication, 1990), the value of

local-level research "lies in precisely the possibility of disaggregating what the state

means at the local level, how it operates, who its emissaries are, how they are

perceived, and with what results." With greater understanding of state action on the

local level, state initiatives to promote development on the local level will become

more effective.

Research of state-society relations entails unpacking the state-society model to

analyze each of their functions, motivations, allies, perceptions, behavior under

changing conditions, internal struggles, and so on. Use of open-ended, flexible

inquiry rooted in eclectic, multi-modal research produces an understanding of the

matrix of conditions which affect state-society relations in Africa (Cohen 1988). Local

level, empirical research requires in-depth case study analysis. Understanding where

and how people organize themselves and work toward self-development is key to

creating more effective state-society relations.

My own research design is an example of the kind of research needed if we

wish to further this intellectual thrust in understanding state-society relations. Through

in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis comparing two settlement areas under

varying state control, I aim to isolate specific similarities and differences in terms of

the effects of more state initiated versus more autonomous settlement. To begin, I

introduce background to the study of settlements by presenting their main elements,

and issues which challenge their long-term success and sustainability.

Key Issues in Studies of Settlement


Relocation of rural peasants, through spontaneous migration, planned

settlement, and forced involuntary removal are not new to Africa (Cernea 1988;

Cernea and Guggenheim 1993; Christodoulou et al. 1967; Hansen and Oliver-Smith

1982; Harrell-Bond 1986; Lewis 1954; Netting 1968, 1989; Zachariah and Cond6

1979). Settlement schemes for development goals (often succeeding forced settlement)

currently play an important role in development and growth in Africa. They are

increasing in number and magnitude and gaining greater financial and human

resources from the developing world (Goering 1978; Scudder 1985a). They are not a

thing of the past (Lowman 1993). Goering (1978) reports that recent estimates

indicate a global rate of settlement of four to five million hectares annually, about

one-quarter of which is planned, or government assisted. Below, I examine key

elements garnered from literature of development-oriented settlement schemes.

Settlement Costs

Government-directed resettlement, as in the case of FED, is more expensive

than assisted or spontaneous settlement, as in the case of Mo. Large-scale financing is

often preferred by donor agencies in order to economize on administrative and

planning costs (Hulme 1987:426). Despite evidence showing that low-cost projects are

often more effective and ultimately more beneficial to rural populations than larger

programs which foster dependency, donors have favored large-investment programs to

profit from economies of scale (McMillan 1995). 20

The record of high-investment settlement schemes have been discouraging and

criticized by agriculturalists, economists, and sociologists for inefficiency and cost

ineffectiveness. Returns on investments in settlement schemes have been disappointing

while costs per family increase (Chambers 1969; Scudder 1984). Cost reduction has

0 Examples abound of high-investment settlements such as the World Bank's Bura Irrigation Scheme
in Kenya ($40,000 per settler family) or the rainfed Cape Rodney Scheme in Papua, New Guinea ($20,000
per family).

been a concern for such donor agencies as the World Bank, USAID, EEC, and

others. Consequently, more equitable distribution of financing over longer time

periods, as well as less ambitious approaches to settlement have been conceived,

notably, the concept of "assisted" rather than controlled settlement (McMillan et al.

1990a:31; Scudder 1984).

Cost recovery, requiring farmers to reimburse a portion of invested public

funds, is a requirement found in many settlement schemes. Funds from repayment

may be channeled into many different operations, including credit collection from

agricultural equipment, marketing boards, or regularly scheduled deposits on loans.

Cost recovery has been a problem for many settlement schemes for a variety of

reasons, both voluntary and involuntary. Insufficient settler incomes, insecurity of

continued reliable infrastructural maintenance during and after the funding period, and

settler evasion, for example, have been noteworthy obstacles to cost recovery (World

Bank 1985:50).

Donor control. African host countries rely heavily on outside assistance to

implement large-scale settlement programs (McMillan et al. 1990b).21 This generally

implies significant donor power and control over settlement planning and

maintenance. In some cases, for example, the Gezira scheme in the Sudan, donors

undermine host country government control and maintain full authority over

settlement programs (Gaitskell 1959). In other cases, such as the AVV in Burkina

21 Donor agency authority and everyday power and control over settlement goals, design, and
implementation is common to many schemes (the World Bank in the Onchocerciasis Program; USAID in
the Mahaweli schemes; FED in Togo; the British government and private manufacturers in Gezira; and
a number of other examples described in Chambers 1969).

Faso (McMillan 1983), donors and host governments collaborate in planning and

administering the program by either sharing responsibilities or delegating specific

tasks to each player involved. Sometimes, as in the FED project (Painter 1990) a

number of outside donors and agencies (bilateral, multilateral, and PVOs) are

involved simultaneously with the settlement program and negotiate and juggle control

and authority over responsibilities.22

To the extent that Third World host countries rely on donor assistance for

capital, technology, management, and other inputs, they are also accountable and

responsive to the perspectives, guidelines, and goals determined by the donor. In

consequence, donor involvement in settlements often creates a higher efficiency and

effective management system than in projects lacking required accountability.2

Although this scenario appears top-heavy and imposing, and can pose dependency

problems in developing countries, theoretically, in the short run it can also provide

incentive for settlement management to increase efficiency (Koenig 1988b; Painter


2 For example, in the FED scheme, FED provides financial support and general assistance, USAID
and the Peace Corps provide training and equipment for animal traction, Aide et Action (a French NGO)
and other international volunteer services (German and Japanese) provide other, more specific, services
such as schools, health facilities, and so on. (Painter 1990 and personal observation).

23 Scrutiny by outside observers compels scheme administrators to conduct periodic evaluations and to
utilize standard measures and indicators of growth and progress such as GNP, income distribution, health
indicators, and others (Chambers and Moris 1973; Koenig 1988b).

I Administration on these projects is commonly done by semi-autonomous or totally independent
agencies working within, yet separate from, one of the national ministries (Chambers and Moris, 1973;
Koenig 1988a,b; McMillan 1983). As semi-independent parastatals, settlement agencies are known to be
cost effective relative to the mainstream ministerial and sectoral administrations because of the settlement
agencies' high degree of autonomy, in particular, escaping the ubiquitous bureaucratic red-tape typical of
African administrations.

In contrast, one problematic outcome of donor influence on settlement

programs is that of inappropriate settlement design. Donor priorities and interests

(such as profit) often differ from host-country national or local interests and concerns

(welfare).25 Where donor interests do not coincide with local needs, the program may

not "fit" with local needs, resulting in less than optimal results, even scheme failure.

Inappropriate settlement programs are also generated by unintentional factors.

Despite genuine efforts, donor agencies are often incapable of adequately

understanding the complexities of the local context. Donor agencies are seated in

highly developed countries far removed from the physical conditions and cultures

effected by settlement. In spite of good intentions, donor agencies may not be well-

positioned or staffed to take the lead role in scheme programming. Distance obscures

awareness of local conditions. To summarize, regardless of donor capacity and

willingness to develop appropriately designed settlements, outside actors can

dangerously misdirect the goals and management of the schemes (de Wet 1994;

Scudder 1985a).

Donor management style. Donor-host country relations commonly favor a

top-down, authoritarian, blueprint style of management on settlement schemes. To be

cost effective, efficient, and responsive to the international community, scheme

managements most often acquire an imposing, inflexible, disciplinarian control over

the settlement (Chambers and Moris 1973; Roider 1973). In some cases, senior

For example, the World Bank, first and foremost a bank, relies on secure and profitable loans and
investments for its own survival. High-level production leading to profits are of critical concern to the
bank, whereas host country and/or local concerns may center on improving socioeconomic conditions and
welfare for local populations as was the case in Gezira (Gaitskell 1959).

administrators assert that this dogmatic, militaristic approach and attitude to

management is necessary given the nature of settlement production.26 Because of an

essential strict hierarchy of control or because of personality features, management

style in settlements often attracts and fosters authoritarianism (Chambers and Moris

1973; Gaitskell 1959).

Top-down management style in settlement schemes inhibits management's

ability to respond to deviances or "ruptures" in the system and creates a loss of

information and understanding of bottom-level, local-settler conditions. A centralized

management authority, such as in the Mwea settlement, lacks contact and

communication between top managers and settlers, and even to some degree with

lower-level staff, because management believe they have synoptic, comprehensive

knowledge of the project.2

Training of lower staff particularly has low priority on most settlement scheme

planning agenda and is either quite minimal or inappropriate to the settlement

context.28 Staff often dislike the remoteness in which settlements are located, and

comparing their own jobs to those of their friends conclude that settlement work is a

26 In irrigation systems, for example, managers claim that centralized, disciplinarian regimes are
necessary to coordinate and perform technical complex tasks (Chambers and Moris 1973; Scudder 1985a).

2 Without leadership, monitoring, and encouragement from senior staff, junior staff become less
motivated and turn easily to ritualized work performance. Lack of dedication from above and poor
accountability allow junior staff to "go through the motions."

28 Scudder (1985a) reports that extension services on World Bank-funded resettlement projects were
rated "poor" for 41 percent of the projects, "only fair" for 14 percent of the projects, and none was rated
as "very good to excellent." Lack of time and financial resources are mentioned by Gaitskell (1959) in
Gezira and Roider (1973) in Ilora as major constraints to adequate staff training.


punishment station! Rapport between staff and senior management may be tense, and

their relations with settlers are usually neutral or even hostile.29 Staff are widely

viewed with suspicion because, no matter what their rank, they represent the potential

for settler eviction (see Koenig 1988a for an excellent discussion of this point).

Settlement staff are often neglected and underestimated as key actors insuring the

regularity in settlement activities and overall success.

Although many settlement efforts appear comprehensive, well-defined, and

neatly packaged, uncertain conditions, errors, changes, and fluctuations inevitably

occur (Hirschman 1967; Hulme 1987; Lindblom 1959; Scudder 1985a). Settler

innovation and adaptation to new surroundings can easily pass unnoticed by over-

centralized management. Management then loses the capacity to build on settler

initiative and problem-solving. Cutting off such information creates long-term rigidity,

short-term frustrations for those at the bottom, and managers drift further from

understanding the real-world conditions of the settlers.3 Worse, the scheme as a

whole becomes less responsive to its own implementation issues, problems, and

possible solutions. The top-down, rigid, and hierarchically based administrative

structure and management style, common to most settlement schemes in Africa, limits

settler initiative and the utilization of their adaptive capacities based on greater

29 For example, in Manantali, Koenig (1988a) observed tensions and overtly hostile behavior between
settlers and staff, often manifested indirectly in forms such as settler housing adjustments or "private"
settler meetings. In 1990 in Togo's FED settlement, I observed staff behavior and attitude toward settlers
to be arrogant, condescending, and sometimes disdainful.

3 On many settlements, senior staff are expatriates and prefer to live with their families in capital cities
or, failing that, separate from the settlement scheme. Should a senior manager live on site, he is often
isolated from the settlement, living removed in far more comfortable and Western-style surroundings.


information from the ground level operations. Likewise, it fosters settler dependency

on scheme authority.

Agricultural package design. Increasing agricultural production through

intensified and modernized systems are common goals of settlement schemes

(Chambers and Moris 1973; Gaitskell 1959; Koenig 1988a; Roider 1973; Scudder

1985a). This has required the introduction of a "total system" of packages within, and

organization of marketing outside of the settlement. Settlements have been introducing

improved cropping patterns (such as interplanting, rotation agriculture, cropping

systems) in order to reach maximal production levels. The introduction of advanced

technology, including mechanization, irrigation, and animal traction, is an integral

part of this design (Chambers and Moris 1973; Gaitskell 1959; McMillan 1983,

1986b; McMillan et al. 1990a; Painter 1990; Roider 1973). Monocultural cropping

systems have overridden traditional and ecologically sound multi-cropping systems

(Palmer 1974; Scudder 1985a).31 In combination with technology and mechanization,

increased agricultural inputs (fertilizer, insecticides, and pesticides) have been

introduced in settlement schemes through preprogrammed packages. The end result is

an increased extraction of capital and human resources from government and outside

donors (Goering 1978; Scudder 1985a).

In most cases, settlers are obliged to adopt and rigidly follow the package as a

condition for membership on the scheme. The package is almost always compulsory

3 Agricultural packages are designed most often by Western-based, technically oriented agricultural
scientists. Settlement staff are socialized by the development industry to believe that these techniques and
practices are superior to indigenous ones.

(Roider 1973; Painter 1990). Should the settler deviate from the package, eviction is

possible. If settlers should change guidelines to improve production by adapting

packages to their own personal farming and environmental conditions, project

management may be unforgiving. In effect "packages" create the possibility of

significantly increased production, and provide the material basis for authoritarian

management and organization.

It is important to recognize that there are both costs and benefits to people and

the environment when implementing agricultural packagaes in settlement schemes. In

many cases, intensified scheme-based agricultural production technology produces

economic benefits and improves rural lifestyles of settler families (Chambers and

Moris, 1973; Goering 1978; Hulme 1987; Painter 1990; Scudder and Colson 1982).

Benefits from settlement programs are well documented (Goering 1978; Koenig 1988;

McMillan et al. 1990a,b; Scudder 1985a).32

Despite these advantages, settlers do not necessarily keep their part of the

bargain made with the administration (Scudder 1985a). Studies show that rather than

following the package and scheme regulations, settlers tend to "rationalize" the

centralized production system for their personal needs. Settlers vacillate in their use

and adherence to the official guidelines and structures on the scheme and conform

when necessary or when they see benefits.33 Settlers prefer to diversify rather than

2 These include increased settler production levels, increased use of tested agricultural inputs, animal
traction, and mechanization, better access to credit, timely input delivery, organized cash crop purchases,
and guaranteed stable prices ensured by marketing and transport systems within the settlement. There are
more in terms of infrastructure, schools, water quality, and the like.

3 For example, settlers "extensify" rather than intensify their fields (McMillan 1986b; Painter 1990);
they do not implement or incorporate the strict agricultural guidelines demanded by settlement staff and

cultivate a single cash crop (Scudder 1985a). The planned agricultural package

therefore is not strictly adhered to and, correlatively, projected production levels may

not reach expected rates. More importantly, lack of compliance and lack of

consistency with the package, along with demographic pressures from increased

settler population, create land-use and environmental problems produced by settlement

schemes' enhanced capacities for exploitation (McMillan et al. 1990b; Painter 1990;

Scudder 1985a).34

Environmental conditions of settlement sites and their surroundings have been

reported by scholars as worsening due to both intentional and unintentional causes. A

number of "project killers," such as decline in soil fertility, loss of ecological

resilience, decline in species diversification, wastefulness of resource allocations, and

destruction of natural resources, commonly pervade settlement schemes and destroy

the delicate balance in formerly less exploited ecosystems (Hanson and Dickenson

1987; see also the excellent environmental overview of settlements in Latin America

by Nelson 1973). In describing settlement schemes of the Shimba Hills in Kenya and

in Niger, Palmer (1974) writes that monocultural production, emphasizing only one or

very few crops, changes ecosystem stability and shocks the environment through

exploitation and over-extraction of particular resources. He argues that settlement is a

extension agents, such as crop rotations (Painter 1990); they do not always apply the inputs as required,
but prefer to save and economize on fertilizer (Gaitskell 1959); and they do not plant designated crops and
trees as required by scheme management (McMillan 1986b; Painter 1990) and may even save seed for
resale or for food (Cohen, personal communication, 1994).

3 For example, Painter (1990) reports that many settlers in the FED settlement remarked that land
"fatigue" was rapidly increasing, forcing them to enlarge farm size to maintain adequate levels of
production. The use of animal traction and fertilizer presented a dangerous risk of rapid overuse of land
resources leading to long-term infertility, degradation, and erosion.

form of "ecological imperialism" which destroys indigenous ecological systems (see

also Hyden 1988).

Similarly, Messerschmidt (1987) opposes the commonly used "interventionist"

approach to settlement production systems and considers it destructive and inappro-

priate to local conditions. In contrast, an "innovationist" approach, he argues, ensures

environmental sustainability and development by being people-centered, while

incorporating indigenous ethnoecology models using and adding ethnoecology and

scientific technology. Combining traditional and advanced technologies in land-use

management are slowly being accepted as essential to settlement scheme sustainability

and development. The high costs in terms of environmental degradation, loss of

indigenous technology systems, agricultural diversity, and off-farm economic enter-

prises, and even settler health are often quite severe and, in some cases, irreparable.

Recently, settlement planners are designing schemes with increasing interest

toward insuring land protection (and a more rational use of land). Today it is widely

accepted that agricultural growth and development must coincide with environmental

sustainability (Brokensha and Castro 1984).3 Scudder suggests that "devoluting"

decision making power to settlers as much as possible by requiring a handing over of

responsibility to local organizations on the settlement would ensure sustainability.

Because management has assumed most of the responsibility and control over land use

in settlements, however, settlers see it as irrelevant and have little interest or concern

in environmental preservation (Roider 1973; Kibreab, personal communication, 1991).

35 Current agricultural development programs now require environmental impact statements and plans
for program monitoring.


Land tenure. If settlers do not view themselves as "owners" of the settlement,

they will have little personal investment or concern with natural resource conservation

or even in project survival, and adopt little responsibility for the settlement and its

success. For many settlers, the scheme is a temporary opportunity to learn, practice,

and profit from modern production techniques. Land tenure on settlements is

characterized typically by a total lack of security of settler land ownership. Land

acquisition on settlement schemes generally have been without any form of

agreement, consent, or compensation to settlers or local inhabitants of the area by

settlement authorities or national governments (Koenig 1988; McMillan et al. 1990b;

Painter 1990; Scudder 1984, 1985a). The schemes are viewed as government

programs, controlled by and primarily benefiting government interests (not dissimilar

to colonial plantation schemes).

Without a stake in land, settlers feel impermanent and are less motivated to

invest in land conservation practices, such as tree planting and crop rotations (Goering

1978; Scudder 1984; Van Raay and Hilhorst 1981). Without permanent ownership

over land, settlers have limited interest in implementing sustainable land-use practices

(Painter 1990).

Lands may be sparsely settled, or appear neglected, but they are seldom

unclaimed by local farmers. In declaring project land as government property, some

authorities demand local inhabitants to either join the schemes or relocate. In some

cases, such as the Manantali scheme (Koenig 1988a), authorities resort to forced

relocation of local inhabitants and offer little if no compensation for relocation. Many

schemes prohibit off-scheme farmers from using scheme services, often resulting in

settler-autocthone disputes and conflict. (Morsink 1966; Scudder 1985a; Van Raay

and Hilhorst 1981). In other, less negative cases (FED project), local farmers

surrounding the scheme are allowed and even encouraged to participate and make use

of scheme benefits. In this case, the spread of technology and improved lifestyle

conditions into the surrounding area provides for a more open, less isolated

environment, which, according to many scholars (Kiekens 1988; McMillan et al.

1990b; Painter 1990), accelerates scheme success and overall regional development.

Income diversification. Another often neglected element generating settlement

success and regional development is the creation of opportunities for income

diversification. Few possibilities for employment or income generating opportunities

are incorporated into settlement planning. For example, on the Nigerian Ilora farm

settlements, planners did not include the important role of Yoruba women as

entrepreneurs and independent wage earners in the household (Spiro 1985).

Nevertheless, women hired themselves out as wage labor, established petty trade

networks, produced and sold beer, and were able to sell what little production they

harvested themselves to maintain for their personal incomes. Grimm (1988) reports

that in Manatali, temporary work made available to settlers caused an increase in

local incomes, but they were impermanent. When the contract was completed, most

jobs left little behind in terms of off-farm opportunities and diversified self-

development employment options for local populations. Despite planners' lack of

attention to off-farm activities, many settlers use traditional approaches and diversify

household incomes by a combination of wage labor and small-scale activities, such as

local handicrafts and a wide range of trading activities, such as livestock (McMillan

1995; Scudder 1985a, 1985b.

It is myopic to imagine that participation in the scheme would somehow lead

to the wholesale abandonment of customary income generating activity. Lack of

opportunity and potential for deeply ingrained and customary income generation can

ultimately lead to severe discontent and settler desertion (McMillan 1986b; Roider

1973; Spiro 1985). Settlements which discourage or overtly prevent settlers from

applying their ingenuity and initiative to diversify income strategies (through

marketing, wage labor or other income-generating activities) break up and frustrate

normal economic life.

Regional integration. Contrasts in amenities between settlements and the

surrounding region are often dramatic. The settlement clearly represents a distinct

zone of improved living conditions and regional development created by project

investment and its maintenance. Created as isolated enclaves, self-sufficient and

separate from regional institutions and activities, most settlements have not

successfully integrated into their surroundings (Kiekens 1988; McMillan 1995;

Scudder 1985a; Van Raay and Hilhorst 1981). Lack of scheme planning for

collaboration and coordination with regional institutions and agencies has resulted in

extremely high settlement costs in terms of time, resources, and management.

Government services on settlements overlap rather than complement regional services,

and commonly create settler-host population segregation and animosity.

Rather than linking existing local and regional market systems to settlement,

planners too often create markets for projects and discourage the participation of

outsiders (Kiekens 1988).36 Settlement management of market systems either

discourages settlers from selling outside, or demands a share of the crop to pay for

inputs. In many cases, prices are kept artificially low so that selling surreptitiously is

profitable. In most settlements, harvests are either monitored or cashiered (up to 50

percent) by management to achieve a minimum level of sales aimed for national

export (McMillan 1986b for an example of off-settlement sales). Local markets are

created by planners and staff with little input from settlers. When schemes are less

responsive and effective in providing for settler needs (subsistence crops and certain

commodities), settlers nonetheless, have initiated their own networks and systems of

exchange and bartering outside of scheme authority. In some cases, this has been the

only form of settler survival during low-harvest seasons.

Isolation of settlement schemes results in limited growth and development for

the scheme and region (Kiekens 1988; McMillan et al. 1990b; Morsink 1966; Scudder

1985a; Van Raay and Hilhorst 1981). These authors suggest that projects lacking

incorporation into their region will be difficult to sustain. Furthermore, dependency

on settlement authorities, combined with little encouragement from settlement staff for

settler organization and initiative, results in fragile social and economic systems

hardly sustainable.

Settler integration. According to Scudder and Colson's (1982) classic four-

stage settler development framework, settlers initially tend to be risk-averse,

36 Research shows that marketing is tied to roads, available trucks and drivers, and petrol (Kiekens
1988; McMillan et al 1990b; Painter 1990: McMillan 1986a). Often, roads and bridges reflect needs of
management but not those of settlers (FED, Painter 1990, and personal observation; Cohen, personal
communication, 1994).

responsive, and vulnerable in their new environments (Chambers and Moris 1973;

Scudder and Colson 1982).37 Settlers commonly take little initiative during the early

stages of adjustment to settlement, and concentrate on conforming to project

requirements and providing for their families (Scudder 1985b). Integration into local

communities and networks of trade, politics, or culture is either secondary or, more

often, non-existent.

Relocation is a transitional process that normally generates stress which abates

over time. As a simple example, settlers undergo stress in adapting to new neighbors

on the scheme, even to autocthones in the surrounding area with whom they may have

minimal contact. Some settlements try to cope by relocating settlers with their own

kin or at least ethnic groups (Grimm 1988; Koenig 1988b; McMillan et al. 1990b;

Scudder 1984). More often than not, however, settlers are relocated indiscriminately

increasing their stress. In effect, loss of cultural environment is associated with

increased stress.

A predictable decline in health conditions also has been reported under some

settlement situations, particularly among elderly people (with a higher vulnerability to

stress) (Chaiken 1983; Garfield et al. 1989; Prothero 1965). The meeting of two

previously separated populations creates increased vulnerability to eruptions of

epidemic diseases. This is especially true for migrants compared to autocthones

3 Scudder and Colson (1982) suggest that there are four general stages through which settlers can
evolve to reach self-control and responsibility over their own lives in settlements. These are recruitment,
transition, potential development, and handing over/incorporation. Should the scheme not get beyond
recruitment, settlers remain less than independent with continued reliance on scheme management to
provide the basis for a successful livelihood. Settlers unable to advance toward open-ended, risk-taking
initiatives and activities lack or have decreased success, and are vulnerable to low morale and aberrant
physical and psychological conditions.

(Linda Jackson, personal communication, 1991). Increases in disease can occur also

when there is a simplification of otherwise diverse and complex ecosystems.

Simplified ecosystems can facilitate the process of disease transmission through

parasitic and infectious vectors such as schistosomiasis, malaria, or worms (Feierman

1985). As noted above, settlers are more susceptible. The social cost of production on

settlement schemes, according to Feierman (1985), is therefore shifted from

management to settlers (particularly the poorest and weakest) and not sufficiently

checked by government services (also suggested by Palmer 1974).

Over time, settlers will either retain risk-averse, conservative attitudes or gain

a sense of empowerment and control in their new environment. Predictably, most

settlers search for opportunities to improve their economic and sociocultural

conditions.38 In some instances, observers have noted a powerful, open-ended, pro-

active attitude once settlers overcome the initial problems (Hansen, personal

communication, 1992). A key determinant to settler integration and satisfaction is

acceptance and integration with local autocthone populations.

Settler-autocthone relations. Autocthone populations can be either hostile or

benign. Planning and implementation are decisive factors in determining the direction

of settler-autocthone relations. Thus lack of integration of the settlement to the local

area increase the gap already existing between settlers and autocthones. Planners who

exclude autocthones regarding land use and ownership, agricultural production

practices, and natural resources essentially override local land rights and tenure

3 Despite the difficulties posed by relocation, successful adaptation means learning to constantly ask
questions (Brokensha and Castro 1984; Colson, personal communication, 1991).


practices (McMillan et al. 1990b; Painter 1990; Scudder 1984, 1985a). Undefined or

unclear land tenure and land-use rights commonly result in disputes and hostilities

between settler and autocthones.39

Conversely, when autocthones-settler relations are benign, settlers and

autocthones view each other as allies rather than enemies. Compatibility thus

facilitates settler adjustment. The settlement is less isolated from its region in this

situation, and autocthones can benefit from the services and infrastructural support

provided by the scheme. In this case, the region at large benefits from the settlement,

and increased growth and development for a wide range of populations is possible

(Scudder 1985a).

Evaluation and Monitoring

Settlement success clearly depends on iterative incorporation of outcomes, but

what variables and measures indicate success remains unresolved. There is, as yet, no

definitive answer to the question, "What makes for settlement success." Prior to

1980, there were very few longitudinal studies focusing on people and cultures

undergoing settlement (Colson 1971 is an exception), but the perspective is

changing.4 Now, the longitudinal vantage point is recognized as needed to understand

3 For example, sorcery attacks have been noted between settlers and autocthones in FED in disputes
over uncertain land use and land rights (Painter 1990).

40 Most evaluations are "one shot," short-term visits, rapidly conducted to collectdata to either support
or expose shortcomings of the goals and objectives of the scheme (Scudder 1985a).

the processes and development of settlements and in gaining thereby a more

comprehensive knowledge of the ingredients of success. According to one of the

foremost scholars of settlement, the most important criterion for improving settlement

schemes is a longitudinal vantage point (Scudder, personal communication, 1991).

Without this, he believes planners cannot understand the transitions and processes

experienced over time by settlers, nor begin to determine what makes for "success" in

government policies.41

Most settlement evaluations concentrate on agricultural (export) and

infrastructural progress, under-emphasizing careful examination of the "social costs"

of human and social adjustment (examples of social cost studies include: Feierman

1985 on health; Conti 1979 on women; Palmer 1974 on environment; Moris 1981;

Scudder, personal communication, 1991). Instead of measures with a "human face,"

miles of roads laid, houses and buildings constructed, and tons of crops sold almost

completely dominate settlement evaluation reports (Goering 1978). The human factor

has typically not been considered key to settlement progress and success, and only

recently has become a focus and concern in the development community (McMillan et

al. 1990b; Scudder 1985a).

Meanwhile, settlement studies are still deficient in quantitative data, including

demographic statistics (including migrations), land use information, population census,

environmental conditions and changes (including tree loss and wood use), statistics on

numbers and effects of pastoralists and cattle grazing, water use, and so on. There are

41 Longitudinal settlement studies such as McMillan's work on AVV (1983 to present) or Colson's on
the Gwemba Tonga (1971 to present) are excellent examples.

few known current rates of settler entries and desertions on many schemes. These

data are vital for determining land-use capacity and thus for recommendations

concerning land-use practices and regulations (Painter 1990; Scudder 1985a,b).

If success is uniquely indicated by GNP rates and financial growth, and there

is no evaluation of changing environmental conditions, degradation of natural

resources is a promissory note that will come in time (Brokensha and Castro 1984;

Hanson and Dickenson, 1987; Painter 1990; Scudder 1985a; Spears 1980). Similarly,

if reasons for settler satisfaction and permanence versus defection are not carefully

discerned and analyzed, evaluations of settlement will be hollow in terms of defining

what makes success and sustainability of settlements.

Participatory Approach

Planning and evaluation of settlements requires a local-level, people-centered

longitudinal approach that incorporates the settler as a vital and active participant in

the decision making process. Without settler participation, the settlement will remain

a top-down, donor-operated program, continuing dependency and limiting settler

independence and self-development.

Local groups and associations (or those initiated by settlement management)

must become active participants in the working and running of the settlement (Painter

1990; Scudder 1985a). Ultimately, as Scudder and Colson (1982) advise, settlements

should be handed over to local settler communities and former associations for

management and control of the scheme operations. There is a need for emphasis on

local settler leadership and settler responsibility in the planning and implementation

stages of settlement from the start. Settlements will retain high costs in terms of

environmental and social variables, and will remain dependent-oriented, short-lived

programs catering Third World populations if a priority is not placed on local


Settlement in Togo

What degree of directed or spontaneous settlement best ensures sustainable

community development combined with stewardship and responsibility toward the

natural resource base? This is a fundamental question that settlement scholars only

recently are beginning to broach and to which this study will profoundly contribute.

The nature and impact of Kabye migrations into planned and spontaneous settlements

of southern Togo has been examined closely by scholars (notably Gu-Konu 1983,

Lucien-Brun 1987, and Pillet-Schwartz 1987). However, little of this material explains

or analyzes in specific what hinders or helps settlement sustainability and

development. It fails to ask directly: what is the appropriate role of the state? With

this in mind, I now turn to review historical and current reasons for the Kabye

migration from the Kara Region in northern Togo and introduce the Mo plain and

FED project (sites of spontaneous and planned settlements, respectively and the two

foci of this research). Throughout the following chapters, the reader should refer to

Figure 1-1 to identify locations of the FED project (A), the Mo plain (B), and the

mountain region location of Kabye home villages (Kara).


--" Limit of initial OCP area
****** Limit of OCP southern
extension area
-*--Regional boundary
A FED-Agbassa project
B Mo Plain

0 100km

Adapted from Hunting
Technical Services 1988:F347

Figure 1-1. Settlement sites in Togo. (Source: Painter (1990) Land Settlement
Review: Country Case Study Togo.)


The integration of localized, empirical research with theoretical
generalized studies demands that researchers begin to accord some
importance, not only to country-specific research, but also to research
studies that explore grassroots-level understanding and perceptions of
human problems and local strategies to problem-solving. Research
should explore the impact of national policy changes on rural
communities and, particularly, on various constituencies, such as
women, age groups, and specific socioeconomic groups. While
community or locality studies by themselves are insufficient to offer a
comprehensive understanding of society, they nevertheless provide
relevant data needed to ground our theoretical discussions of the
everyday lived experiences of people. Such studies provide
opportunities for willing researchers to hear what people at the
grassroots level have to say and how they make meaning of their social
world" (George J. Sefa Dei, "The Women of a Ghanaian Village: A
Study of Social Change," 1994:141; emphasis mine).

This chapter provides background information integral and vital to

understanding the following chapters on research findings and conclusion of this

research. It is comprised of three sections: Part One consists of the geographic,

historical, and demographic conditions of the Kabye ethnic group, the central actors

of this study. I also review Kabye subsistence and sociopolitical systems practiced in

their homeland. Background of indigenous Kabye lifestyle prior to resettlement

provides a framework in which to compare each settlement to indigenous lifestyle,

and to one another. Also, in this section, I examine factors which have led to mass

relocations of Kabye to southern Togo.

This discussion leads to a specific focus on Kabye spontaneous migrations to

the Mo plain (the spontaneous settlement site and first of two foci of research) in Part

Two. In this part, I introduce the Mo area by examining its geography and ethno-

history, features particularly relevant to this study. In Part Three, I describe the FED

project, the planned settlement scheme and second foci of research. First, I examine

the project philosophy and intentions underlying the planning and implementation of

the scheme. I briefly review project objectives, specifically regarding agricultural and

sociopolitical development, and review the basic components of the settlement

environment (including design, layout, and operations).

The Kabye

In this section, I describe Kabye biophysical and demographic conditions,

features underlying Kabye migrations to southern Togo. Given these conditions, I then

describe indigenous Kabye farming systems, specifically highlighting agricultural

techniques enabling sustained productivity under challenging conditions. Inclusive in

the discussion is a review of the history of Kabye migrations south and their

sociopolitical outcomes. The vibrant continuation of migration, illustrated by the case

of the Mo plain, is the focus of the section which follows.

Geographic Determinants of Kabye Existence

Topographical features. Spanning nearly the full length of northern Togo are

the Atakorien mountains. They are punctuated by two major ranges of significant

altitude and spread, the more northern range of Lama, with Mount Kalakpa looming

at 779 m, and the southern range of Lama-Dissi, with Mount Assire at 679 m. The

Kabye reside in the sudano-savanna region of Kara, of pronounced mountain elevation

between 9.30 and 10oN (refer to Figure 1-1). The Atakorien series presents highly

variable soil structures and qualities, from ferruginous to vertisol types. In the Kabye

region, water retention is high, and the rain-flood runoffs from the mother rock which

occur during the tropical storms of the rainy season, provide a sandy-clay, red-brown

soil, rich in chemical nutrients. This soil is arable and has good retention of top-soil.

In areas surrounding the peaks, on the plains, the soil is less arable and aerated, more

susceptible to packing and hardening. On the plains, soils are often gravelly, or in

some areas, sandy, shallow, nutrient-poor and generally of less quality. The degree of

variability of soils is caused by the variable decomposition of rock materials largely

dependent on and continuously effected by rainfall. The rich, clay soil types most

preferred by local Kabye farmers are found in the mountains, generally in depression

or fault areas (GOT/MPI 1987; Lucien-Brun 1987; Sauvaget 1981).

Soils. The contrast between mountainous soils and those of the plain can be

seen in the variability of the natural vegetation. Despite the vast removal of primary

forests, evidence leads historians and geographers to believe that the mountains were

once occupied by dense forest, typical of sudano climate (Sauvaget 1981).

Standing secondary forests, legends and oral histories of "profondes forets,"

and accounts of the Lama ("people of the forest"), the alleged ancestors of the Kabye

forest, suggest the importance of former tree cover spreading across the northern

mountain range and its environs. Loss of this dense vegetation and forest cover is

most likely due to degradation over time caused by climatic and human conditions,

including bush fire and the use of intensive agricultural practices (Lucien-Brun 1987;

Sauvaget 1981). In the Kabye area, Gu-Konu (1983) has remarked that a clear

correlation exists between tree growth and population density. Today, the increased

population in the region has largely stripped it of its arboreal life. This in turn limits

the diversity of tree and plant species.'

Rain. Rainfall measures in the Kabye mountain region average 1400 mm,

higher than surrounding areas, in part due to the mountain chain that effects cloud

movement and precipitation levels. The region has one rainy season annually,

beginning around April lasting until November, and peaking around July. Fifty-three

percent of rainfall occurs between July-August (Gu-Konu 1983). Annual temperature

ranges range from 20 to 32oC.

Kabye Farming Systems

Farming practices. The geographic and climatic conditions of the Kabye

region have largely determined their farming systems practices. Mountainous terrain

Common species currently found in the region are mostly located near the major rivers,
particularly the Kara, and on the plains and, less so, in the mountains. These species include the nere,
(Parkia biglobosa) baobab (Adansonia digitata), ronier (Borassus flabellifer), and the oil palm (Elaeis

and dense population limit preferred arable land available for cultivation. Only 11.6

percent of the total area of the region farmed by Kabye is considered apt for

cultivation, of which 80 percent is entirely cultivated (population density is estimated

at a minimum of 100 p/km2 (GOT/MPI 1987:81). Data collected in 1971 by Sauvaget

(1981) in the area of Boua shows the average total farm exploitation measured at 3.3

ha, and total land farmed by an average household at any one time, 2 ha. In separate

and later studies, data from the Ministry of Rural Development (MDR/Nouvelle

Strategic 1985) reports the average total exploitation surface area in the Kara

prefecture at 1.40 ha per household, and from the Ministry of Plan (GOT/MPI 1987),

in the Koza Prefecture at 0.71 ha per household. Studies by Akibode (1987, 1989)

echo this smaller statistic (under 1 ha). Despite limited surface area available for

cultivation, the Kabye are renowned throughout Africa for having developed

sophisticated, labor-intensive, "rational" methods of soil conservation, including anti-

erosion measures, soil regeneration, and soil improvement, which are also high-


Production potential. For decades, overall potential for agricultural production

in the Kabye region has been reputably poor and unfavorable. Primary constraints to

increased production are purportedly due to poor soil texture, rocky and hard-packed

soil surfaces, nutrient-deficient soils, and steep terrain. High population density

exacerbates the nutrient deficiency and soil degradation. Nonetheless, specific areas

do hold high agricultural potential; adequate environmental conditions combined with

the extremely productive farming systems practices and management strategies applied


by Kabye farmers allows for sufficient, and even surplus, production of food crops to

feed the population.

Despite its poor agricultural reputation, Gu-Konu (1983:892) believes that this

region may be the most carefully cultivated and exploited land in the entire sudano

zone. Appropriate farming techniques allow for its unusually high density settlement

patterns among farmers (Enjalbert 1956). The claim that poor physical environmental

features necessitate the removal and resettlement of Kabye farmers does not seem

scientifically justified, Gu-Konu (1983) asserts, and may reflect, political or personal

objectives, rather than actual local agricultural production.

A number of impressive land management techniques are employed by the

Kabye to produce crops and maintain soil fertility. The Kabye possess a great capacity

for agricultural adaptiveness and know-how. As described by Froelich (1949) in Gu-

Konu (1983), Kabye mastered impressive soil and water management systems under

difficult environmental conditions. For example, to prevent water and soil runoff on

steep slopes (up to nearly 40 percent grade), rocks are removed and carefully placed

to the side, either haphazardly or as channels to direct torrential water flow. Contour

terracing of rock walls of up to 10 meters wide have been constructed for erosion

control (Sauvaget 1981). Carefully designed micro-catchment systems comprised of

rock placements at small intervals are built to retain water and topsoil (personal

observation, 1992). In the most extreme cases, seeds are dropped between carefully

placed rocks to ensure individual plant growth on steep slopes. In many cases, rain

torrents are channeled around planted fields by small soil-built edifices, reinforced

with vegetation, trees, rocks, and other natural products.

Given the limited availability of land, soil fertility improvement is of critical

concern for Kabye farmers. Multiple methods of soil fertilization are practiced by the

Kabye, including application of manure, cinders, stubble, vegetable debris (compost),

and the practice of fallow. Other examples of soil management include: spreading

manure from animal husbandry over fields in proximity to the household (women are

known to carry manure also long distances of over 2 km from the household);

burning dry weeds, stalks (those not used for household fuel), and vegetation in the

fields and with the cinders incorporating them into the soil by the hoe; leaving green

manure (such as groundnut leaves and other stems) on the soil surface to rot then

burying them as organic fertilizer; designating particular fields of cereal

monocropping for nutritive-rich human excrement (albeit considered impure); building

compost pits with rock bottoms near the house where organic waste and animal

manure are collected throughout the year then annually spread over particular parcels

at the start of the rainy season. In general, there are few chemical inputs, such as

fertilizer or insecticide, used in the traditional Kabye farming system (Akibode 1989;

Sauvaget 1981).

Kabye continuously fine-tune their agricultural production systems to gain

greatest production levels, maximum food security through diversity, and minimum

soil depletion and degradation. They carefully plan and observe crop rotations and

fallow periods are integral components of the farming system. Alternations of fallow-

cultivation are practiced, particularly on the most distant fields, known as tare, to

allow for soil rejuvenation. Rotations generally start with yams, followed by sorghum

associated with other cereals such as groundnuts or manioc, then groundnut again,

and fallow until yam production reoccurs.

Selection of field placements depends on multiple factors, including the

variation of soils, abundance of rocks, slope, and distance from the household

(Akibode 1987). The traditional Kabye field layout for crop production is organized

by a tri-partite system. First, land cultivated close to the house, called desida, are

fields continuously under cultivation, usually seeded first in the season, and planted

most often with sorghum, maize, and millet. Rare fallow practiced on these fields is

compensated by the application of ample organic matter. Second, the fields furthest

from the house, the tare, are usually planted with yams, followed by sorghum and

groundnut. This area undergoes ample fallow, more than other fields, and is the least

meticulously managed. These fields are most often lent out to other farmers. Third,

and perhaps most important to household survival, is the densely planted household

kitchen garden. This garden area, tended predominantly by women, is planted with

nutritive crops such as calabashes, condiments, and fruits and vegetables (tomatoes,

green leafy vegetables, taro, sorghum, maize, and tobacco) and is located closest to

the household for easy access for women (Akibode 1987). The other two fields are

managed and cultivated primarily by men, although seeding, weeding, thinning, and

harvesting are the responsibilities of women.

Labor patterns. Despite efforts to minimize labor demands, Kabye farmers

exert enormous energy and time in preparing and maintaining fields for cultivation.

Slash and burn clearing for planting is performed by all household members. Women

and girls are responsible for burning trees and clearing vegetative debris. This is

followed by the preparation of yam mounds, uniquely men's work because of its

outstanding labor intensity. Field preparation is mostly performed by men while

planting seeds of cereals is performed by women and children. Traditional field

preparation consists of breaking the yam mounds and, either with or without forming

lines, placing seeds in pockets, then covering them. Women will weed the fields once

or twice during the growing season, for weed removal and soil aeration. If a

following season is planted, for example of cereals in association with groundnuts or

rice, lines may be drawn by women for planting of the seeds. As in many cropping

systems of Third World conditions, many crop management practices are performed

intermittently throughout the growing season. These include soil aeration, soil

elevation around the foot of cereal plants, placement of stakes for the yam plants,

weeding, thinning, and insect and wild animal and bird deterrence. These labor-

intensive and highly time-consuming tasks are performed predominantly by women

and children.

To release the pressure of peak labor bottleneck periods, Kabye farmers form

work associations for mutual assistance. There are two primary types of groups. One

work group, the hada, is a rotating work group most often formed among members of

the same family, nearby households, or other social ties. Hada may be requested for


specific work in the fields (such as clearing or planting), construction (such as storage

granaries or a house), or any other specific task needing a large effort of many

helping hands. Men and women participate in hada, depending on the work

accomplished. A prestation in the form of gift or offering of gratitude for the day's

work is usually presented in local beer and a modest offering of food (Mauss 1967).

Hada is an indigenous social security plan allowing farmers the opportunity to request

assistance from other community members without any specific reciprocal obligation

other than the day's nourishment. The hada system not only solves constraints of

labor scarcity, but also encourages solidarity in the community by ensuring a type of

welfare for its members.

The second work association, egbare, is a system of inter-aid among a smaller

and defined group of farmers, usually around six persons, who rotate to each other's

fields during high labor periods to accomplish needed tasks. Generally, men and

women have separate egbare groups. During times of heavy work loads where time is

limited, women (having extreme time constraints due to multiple tasks in the

household) and, less frequently, men will send a representative household member

(usually a young woman) to fulfill the egbare obligation. The concept of egbare is

thus a household, rather than individual, investment, where all members participate.

During the low- or off-season months, "saison morte," between November and

April, deferred tasks are accomplished, such as tool making, household construction

and refurbishment. Ceremonial rites are conducted and large numbers of young


farmers, nearly all men, immigrate south or to neighboring countries to work (usually

for cash) as temporary laborers on plantations of coffee, cocoa, and cotton.

Production. Principal subsistence crops in the Kabye farming system are yam

and sorghum; secondary crops include groundnut, maize, bean, the local bean,

"vondzou," and millet, among others. Sauvaget (1981) found in his study of the

Kabye village Boua, that outside of the 40 percent of the total family fields in fallow,

the remaining total surface was planted: 42 percent in cereals; 31 percent in yams; 25

percent in cereals with groundnut; and 2 percent in groundnut and other secondary

crops. Except for sorghum (and, in lesser quantity, rice and some groundnut),

monocropping is less practiced (about 25 percent total surface area planted) than

associations, of which bean is the most versatile crop in association, followed by

groundnut (Sauvaget 1981). There is a large diversity of associations practiced by the

Kabye; most common are sorghum and groundnut or bean, and yam, sorghum,

maize, and bean intercropping. Yams and cereals are often intercropped to maximize

the surface cover, timing, and varying depths of soil penetrated by plant roots. Kabye

are well aware of the advantages of intercropping to best utilize soil horizons,

improve soil quality, and, most important, to produce a diversity of crops for

subsistence security and nutritional value. Intercropping and field rotations are

scrupulously practiced by the Kabye for maximum nutrient and soil surface benefits,

as well as conservation and refertilization of the soil.

Crop yields in the traditional Kabye household farming system have been

measured as early as 1947 by Froelich. According to national statistics (GOT/MPI

1987:92), in 1983, average maize production yield was reported to be 500 k/ha,

sorghum-millet is reported at approximately 1 ton per hectare (t/ha), yam at 9 t/ha,

manioc at 10 t/ha, beans at 10 t/h, groundnuts at 1 t/ha, rice at 500 k/ha, and

vondzou at 700 k/ha. Kpowbie's study (1982) of traditional mountain Kabye

household production levels are much lower estimates than the Kara regional levels of

production. According to his findings, in 1980, of an average Kabye household

landholding (at less than 1 ha per family), annual average farm production levels of

primary crops include: yams-340 kg, millet-247kg, sorghum-225kg, cassava-225kg,

groundnuts-90kg, and maize-84kg. These results seem much more accurate than

government estimates, which report production ranges over an entire decade, present

monocrop rather than traditional associated-crop systems, and fail to explain data

collection methods.

Traditionally, storage of harvests is minimized by keeping some of the crop in

the fields, either retained in the soil (such as yams) or harvested and protected on the

farm by a straw enclosure until required. Nonetheless, the largest quantity of the

harvest is carried by women to the household, dried by the sun, and placed in

protective storage (granaries) at the household. Studies (GOT/MPI 1987; Sauvaget

1981) report that all crops are primarily produced for subsistence, while some of

these, specifically the groundnut and, to a lesser extent, yam, are also sold in the

market. Ninety-seven percent of crops produced are for subsistence, primarily cereals

(79 percent) and tubercles (18 percent). The second most common use of the harvest

production after household consumption is not for sale, however, but rather for gifts,

(particularly sorghum, yam, groundnut, and beans) most often offered during work

groups of hara or egbare. The only crop considered a market or cash crop would be

groundnut, and to a lesser degree, cotton as well (Sauvaget 1981).

The importance of Kabye subsistence agriculture can be traced back to origins

of early settlement patterns and historical influences, subjects to which I now turn.

History of Kabve Land Scarcity

In addition to bio-physical topographical influences, historical events also

explain the "reduit Kabye," which according to the French historian Froelich (1949)

created extremely dense population patterns in the Kabye mountains and surrounding

villages. High population density, not a recent phenomenon in the Kabye area, dates

back to seventeenth-century combat over claims for territory and control. The Lama

(believed to have originated in the sky in God's creation) are regarded as the

paleonigritique ancestors of the Kabye. Invasions of Lama were launched by

Voltaique populations from the north, including Mossi, Gourma, Bi Tyambi,

Dagomba, Bariba, and others. Joined by the Logba, a Benin group fleeing the Bariba,

the Lama sought refuge in the protected heights of the Binah mountains and remained

protected, hovering above other groups fighting and vying for territorial control below

(Lucien-Brun 1987). This retreat led to dense settlement, but in patterns of dispersed

and interdependent homesteads, what Piot (1992) refers to as a "fragile whole"

(Lucien-Brun 1987).

Lower plains of the region, settled both by Kabye and other related groups,

most importantly, the Lamba (originating from northern mountain areas) and the

Voltaique Naoudeba are less populated (Lucien-Brun 1987; Piot 1992; Sauvaget

1981)." The Naoudeba, related to the Losso group, occupy the prefecture of

Doufelgou, including the early settlement town and burgeoning market center of

Niamtougou. Less rich in nutrients and of lower quality texture than the mountain

soils, the ferruginous tropical soil of Niamtougou is nonetheless of good quality for

production (given there is adequate fallow and organic, or chemical, fertilization).

This area is identifiable by its cover of oil palm trees. The Lamba group, in contrast,

have spread west and northeast, occupying the plain bordering the Kara river (site of

the FED project), and more northern mountainous zones of the Defale area.3

Ethnicity. Historical alliances and current similarities between the Kabye,

Lamba, and Losso have led scholars to study these groups, particularly concerning

migration, as a single population (Akibode 1987; Cornevin 1969; Lucien-Brun 1987;

Pauvert 1956; Pillet-Schwartz 1980, 1986a, 1986b, 1987).4 Relatively similar and

comparable in demographic patterns (notably land scarcity), agricultural systems,

historical origins (which Pillet-Schwartz [1986:320] identifies as "1'etiquette de

paleonigritiques"), and current migration practices, the Kabye-Losso distinction is not

2 Pillet-Schwartz (1980:2) writes that the Losso, originally Voltaique, have assimilated to
paleonigritique due to their habitation amidst Kabye and Lamba.

3 Soil variability exists among quite arable alluvial and hydromorphic soils along the river beds and
less preferred, low cultivatable, nutrient-deficient soils of sometimes hardpan, granulated quality.

4According to Lucien-Brun's (1987) historical research, largely based on work by Froelich et al.
(1963) and Froelich (1968), Kabye encompasses Losso ethnicity.


always clear (Pillet-Schwartz 1980, 1986b). Losso origins are believed to encompass

the Naoudum, Lama, and Lamba groups, who share very common traits (including

language and origin) with the Kabye. For purposes of this research study, I intend to

adopt the conventional approach to Togolese migrations used by scholars. I shall

therefore refer to the Kabye-Losso groups as a single ethnic unit. Therefore, from

hereon, I use Kabye to denote the Kabye-Losso-Lamba populations, except where

further specificity is required.

Traditional Kabye Land Tenure System. Land tenure among the Kabye

reflects their belief in possessing inalienable rights to the land on which they live and

farm (Lucien-Brun 1987). They cannot "sell" their land in secular terms, they believe,

because it belongs to their ancestors who are its eternal protectors. Ceremonies over

land are to reinforce and imprint upon society, particularly the young, the importance

and respect for ancestral homage. Land tenure is consequently based on a system of

rights of usufruct. Accordingly, "faire valoir" ("to give value to") earns a Kabye a

right to land. These practices are common throughout rural regions of Africa.

Rights of land-use among Kabye follow patrilineal lines in a virilocal residence

system (Piot 1991). The teto, a given land area (including fields and households), is

thus claimed by a large clan group descending from the same ancestor (but still is

considered a use right rather than ownership). The "keeper" of the family teto is

generally the authority-holding elder or "p6re de famille" whose responsibility it is to

allocate and administer the teto among family members. Kabye tradition ascribes the

youngest male in the family to remain on the teto to assume lineal responsibility

(other sons and daughters are permitted to leave). Lending and borrowing of land is

commonly practiced among Kabye and, less frequently, with farmers of other ethnic

groups. Farmers will use (and in turn lend) fields of others' teto for a variety of

reasons, such as illnesses, particular soil qualities, distance, and location of fields.

The types of agreements between farmers can vary (payments, durations, and specific

rules regarding such things as trees and harvests) and are negotiated (Akibode 1987).

In 1974, a change in the traditional Kabye tenure system occurred due to the

national agro-tenure reform, ordinance no.12. This ordonnance stipulated that unless

land is actually farmed, that is, in use (and not in fallow or reserve), the land will not

be "of" the acclaimed "owner." This meant that Togolese farmers were forced to

actually cultivate all land they believed was theirs, and that if the land was not used

within the allotted time period, they risked losing their land to the government. This

ordinance redefined the meaning of ownership for Togolese farmers nationwide. It

overrode and undermined particular, indigenous systems and practices of land tenure

by establishing one official, over-arching, national law.

This law allowed the government to legally assume control over land allocated

for numerous government schemes such as the FED settlement. Many Togolese have

opposed the law, accusing the government of using it to gain access, often unjustly, to

more and preferred land throughout the country for political and personal ends. As we

shall see below, national legal control does not trump or resolve local land disputes.

Indeed, rather than clarify these issues, it has exacerbated them. One primary reason

causing the land ordinance legislation was government's increasing insecurity over

land access brought on by population growth.


Typical of developing nations, Togo is undergoing a high population growth

rate, estimated at 3.4 percent annually in 1989 (compared to 2.9 percent in 1981, 2.6

percent in 1970, and 2.1 percent in 1960) (INRS 1991).5 Population growth is not

equally distributed nationally however. Large inter- and intra-regional discrepancies in

population increase and density exist among the five regions in Togo, in particular

between the Central and Kara regions, and within the region of Kara (see Table 2-1).

Where no less than 95 percent of the Kabye population are farmers (compared to the

national average of 80 percent) these statistics of high density raise serious concern

regarding sufficient land availability for Kabye farmers in their homeland (GOT/MPI

1987). One result of the severity of land scarcity in the agricultural zones of the

region is emigration.

Emigration. Analysis of national and regional demographic statistics give

evidence to high emigration in the Kara region (tables 2-1 and 2-2). Typical of Third

World nations, the Togolese population is young. However, composition of age by

sex in the Kara region compared to the national figures illustrates the importance of

emigration of young male Kabye farmers. National demographic structure by age and

sex reports that 50 percent of the population is under 15 years of age, and 43 percent

5 Total population of Togo in 1990 is estimated at 3,500,000 (INRS 1991).

Table 2-1. Population increase and density.

1960-1970 1970-1980 1970-1980 1981 1990 est.
growth growth rate of change density density
rate (%) rate (%) in increase (%) (p/km2) (p/km2)

Central Region -- 5.6z 57.0 21.0 25.0
Sotouboua prefecture -- 7.4 -- 18.0 22.0
Fazao canton -- 10.3 -- 3.0
Mo plain -- 13.2 -- 10.7y

Kara Region 2.2 1.4 17.8 37.0x 45.0w
Binah prefecture 1.5 1.0 -- 108.0 127.0
Kozah prefecture 0.9 1.9v -- 72.0 139.0
Doufelgou prefecture 1.8 1.0 -- 53.0 57.0
Keran prefecture 2.7 0.5 -- 41.0 33.0

national 2.3 2.8 39.4 48.0 62.0

Sources: Barbier, 1984; GOT/MPI, 1986; GOT/MPI, 1987; INRS, 1991.
' Rural region only
Y Estimated (normally Mo is less than Fazao)
SEstimated at 400 p/km2 in specific villages by Sauvaget (1981)
" Estimated at 60 p/km2 by Gu-Konu (1983)
SIncrease due to rapid urbanization of the town of Lama Kara (12% growth)

between 15 and 54 years (INRS 1991). The Kara region parallels the national age

composition structure: 44 percent of the regional population is less than 15 years of

age, and 42 percent between 15 and 54 years (Gu-Konu 1980; GOT/MPI 1987). In

1981, the national census (INRS 1991) reported on average 95 females for every 100

males. During the same period, in the Kara region, 92 males were counted for every

100 females, in contrast to, for example, the Central region, with 101 males to every

100 females, the Plateaux with 98 males, the Savanna with 97, and the Maritime with

Table 2-2. Migration patterns.

1959-1960 1970 1981

Total percent of population
emigrating from Kara region 48 58 66.0

Total percent of Kara
emigrants immigrating to
Central region 9 13 40.0

Percent immigrants of total
population in
Central region -- -- 53.5z

Percent immigrants of total
population in
Sotouboua prefecture 42.0Y

Percent immigrants of total
population in
Kara region -- 8.0

Sources: GOT/MPI (1986); GOT/MPI (1987); INRS (1991); Lucien-Brun (1987)
z Estimated at 60 p/klm2 in 1985
Y 17.3% estimated to be Kabve

92 males for every 100 females.6 In Kara, of the active economic population (between

ages 20 and 60), there are 5.5 percent fewer males than females. Yet in the cohort

age of school attenders (5-14 years), there are 2 percent more males than females. In

reverse, there is high male to female population rate reported in the Central region.

One obvious interpretation of the decline in the male population of economic

active persons in Kara occurring simultaneously with an increase in the male

6 The Kara and Maritime regions have the smallest male populations, in Kara due to emigration,
and the Maritime, likely due to the dominant role of women in market activity and commerce in Lome.


population of the Central region is migration. High emigration of young male Kabye

farmers during their active years of labor from their own land-scarce environment to

other more land-abundant regions is a survival strategy which many adopt (motivated

by diverse causes: Piot 1988).

Demographic importance of migrations. Data reveals that a loss of farmers

from the north due to emigration grew rapidly in the early decades after Togolese

Independence (Table 2-2). The first systematic census taken in 1960 reported that in

1959-60, 62.4 percent of all Togolese immigrants were from the Kara region. 67.6

percent of Kabye immigrants migrated to rural areas in Togo, of which 25 percent

were registered in the Central region alone, most importantly in the Sotouboua

circumscription (location of the Mo plain), while 12 percent (of the total) moved into

the "zone de glissment" or stepping stone to the south in and around Bassar (Lucien-

Brun 1987:32). The 1959-60 census also reports that 18 percent of the total Togolese

population were migrants into Ghana, which Gu-Konu writes continued to grow in the

following decades (Gu-Konu 1983).

Attention toward immigrating into the Central region occurred during the

1970s and 1980s, when the world market coffee and cocoa prices fell dramatically,

forcing a freeze on hired plantation labor in the Plateaux region. With much

unoccupied land, fertile soils, and extended social networks that enhanced prospects

for resettlement through chain migration, northern migrants transferred their focus

from the Plateaux to the Central region as a primary target for resettlement (see Table

2-2). Clearly, through time, a boom in population growth occurred in the Central

region, simultaneously with a steady population decline in rural areas of the Kara

region (Figure 2-1). In 1981, government reports estimate approximately 66 percent

of native Kara residents (about 350,000 persons, predominantly Kabye) were living

outside the region (GOT/MPI 1987:18, and as shown in Table 2-2).

Other regions of Togo also experienced significant drops in population,

notably in the Kara prefectures of Doufelgou (Losso) and Keran (Tchokossi) in 1981

(see Table 2-1). Population declines in these zones are caused by forced resettlements

of farmers due to the construction in Doufelgou of the national airport of Niamtougou

and to delimitations of the national park near Mango (in the Keran)(GOT/MPI

1987:43). Although some farmers independently emigrated to other parts of Togo

(including Mo), the majority of those evicted were resettled by the government (most

in the FED scheme). Forced resettlement is not a new concept in Togo, but rather an

integral feature of national development programs since colonization.

Forced Resettlement under Colonialism

During colonialism (from the 1880s until Independence in 1960), according to

modernizationist scholars, the engine of growth in Western industrial countries was

based on penetration and exploitation of African colonies to amass natural and human

resources, specifically land, labor, and minerals (see Black 1991 on these theories).

During German colonization of Togo, an extremely efficient and productive structure

of authority and administrative intervention was formed to build the infrastructural

support needed to create and control a productive and profitable colony.





1 I I




10-year-period growth rate

Figure 2-1. Comparison of population growth over time. (Sources: Barbier 1984, GOT/MPI 1987, INRS 1991,
Pozarny 1992.)




Kara -




Infrastructural development, including transportation, communication, and

urbanization were extensively developed during the German and subsequent French

periods of colonization.

During the German occupation in Togo (until 1914), German officials

promoted an organized "transplantation" of Kabye to southern and central regions in

order to assemble sufficient laborers for building public works, such as roads,

railways, communication lines, and urban centers, and to cultivate export cash crops

such as cotton and groundnut (Lucien-Brun 1987; Painter 1990; Pillet-Schwartz 1980,

1987).7 Kabye were the preferred choice of labor: first, it appeared they were more

"available" to relocate due to their high density population which constrained

agricultural development and, second, they carried a reputation of high propensity for

hard and dedicated work. Organized relocation and settlement for labor, "corv6e,"

was initiated during this period.

After colonial redistribution following World War I, France gained control

over Togo. Between 1924 and 1956, the French designed a "masterpiece program"

for the general development of Togo (Lucien-Brun 1987; Pillet-Schwartz 1986b).

Resettlement, or "mises en valeur," played a key role in this plan by attracting

northern populations to the Central and Plateaux regions to work and farm (Ahoomey-

Zunu 1971; Cornevin 1969). Kabye relocation under corv6e continued with even more

alacrity than before. The potential for development by relocation was predicted high

7 Common to most West African countries with sea coasts, coastal regions of Togo developed
much faster than inland zones.


and a sure success by the French administration of Governor Bonnecarrere in the mid-

1920s (they justified this by pointing out that some temporary voluntary migration

already occurred as Kabye migrated south as seasonal wage labor on plantations).

During this period, the French administration developed a total of seventy-one villages

with 6,000 relocated families (Lucien-Brun 1987; Pillet-Schwartz 1980).

Until 1920, the plains area of the Central and Plateaux regions of Togo were

sparsely inhabited (density estimated at fewer than 0.5 percent by Sauvaget 1981).

Vulnerability to attack from the strong states of the Kotokoli or Abomey ethnic

groups left the Central plains largely uninhabited, except for the elevated plateau

areas. Nascent development of these regions as settlements occurred under the French

for multiple reasons. First, settlements served as compensation to Kabye farmers

forced to relocate under "corv6e." Also, the French hoped to curb high levels of

Togolese emigration to neighboring colonies (namely Ghana) by offering highly

lucrative opportunities on cocoa and coffee plantation settlements. At the same time,

colonialists viewed settlements as a means to improving tax collection. These sites

were also developed for agricultural research.

The French favored planned resettlement over spontaneous, unorganized

migration. Controlled or forced settlement was an orderly means of population

management and control. For example, all settlers were medically examined by

French officials to prevent the spread of disease. Cornevin (1969) quotes a French

doctor-in-charge during Kabye examination circa 1937:

L'emigation spontan6e par centre ne comprend que les Kabr6 quittant
leurs pays d'origine sans aucune autorisation et malgr6 la volont6 de

leur chef. Elle est aussi la plus dangereuse au point de vue de la
dissemination de la maladie car elle est incontr6lable et nous ne
connaissons pas encore le moyen de l'empecher. [Later he writes,]
[Elle] s'expatrier enfin dans un sentiment de liberty individuelle qu'il
nous parait difficile de contrarier (M6decin commandant de Marqueissac
in Cornevin 1969:295).

In addition to health concerns, colonial authorities used controlled settlement to

monitor unlawful individuals. Pillet-Schwartz (1980:3) notes that three settlements

were created in the Central region as national penitentiaries for recalcitrants.

The French campaign to "mettre en valuer" southern regions of Togo was

implemented enthusiastically between 1930 and Independence. In 1956, the first

integrated development project, the Est-Mono, was created by the French FIDES. The

aims of this settlement were, first, to attain sustainable farm management, and,

second, to initiate intensified cotton production. In both cases (as well as others in the

Central region), efforts failed. Farmer resistance is the primary reason for


Ces examples peuvent donner A penser que toute operation conque par
I'administration et impose par elle A une population r6cemment
immigrant ne peut-6tre que vou6e A l'echec. Une operation de
colonisation de terres neuves devrait 8tre en some dynamis6e
uniquement de l'int6rieur (par les int6ress6s eux-memes) pour avoir une
chance de r6ussir (Pillet-Schwartz 1980:9).

Contrary to French expectation, most Kabye farmers were reticent and

unwilling to resettle in schemes. According to Lucien-Brun (1987), Kabye did not

want to live according to the restrictions imposed by the colonial administration, but

preferred the freedom of autonomous immigration, self-initiated from their own

interests and motives. Autonomous migration allowed farmers the flexibility to

experiment with fewer obstacles. Despite large movements south, detachment from

one's native land of ancestry was never an insignificant decision, and many Kabye

preferred to move cautiously by choice rather than force. Exaggerated stories of

hardship and mistreatment also increased reticence toward relocation imposed by the

colonial administration.

"Forced" methods of recruitment into colonial schemes were resented and

feared by local farmers (persisting as legacies in future organized settlement

schemes). Lucien-Brun (1987) poignantly depicts the apprehension they felt at the

prospect of being selected by canton chiefs, themselves under strict orders, forced to

supply a certain number of young men to the colonial administration for relocation.8

Attached to family and land, ignorant of their future destination, many selected

farmers did what they could to avoid "the draft" by either replacing themselves,

leaving their village for temporary labor elsewhere, or escaping to Ghana, further

undermining the settlement scheme. The brutality of the process is still remembered

by many as a dark period in the colonial occupation of Togo.

Au pays Cabrais-losso, la deportation et l'6migration force ont &t6
pratiqu6es depuis de nombreuses annees et cette m6thode tend
actuellement A nous ali6ner s6rieusement la sympathie de nos
populations et A nuire gravement A nos propres int6rets, car elle pousse
nos gens A hair I'Administration franchise et A s'6vader en Gold Coast.
Notre population est foncirement hostile A toute deportation et condamne
absolument la m6thode actuellement employee pour designer les partants
(Pr6fet Apostolique de Sokod6, 10 avril, 1944, in Lucien-Brun

8 The decisive role of canton chiefs in settler selection during colonial resettlement was assimilated
by FED. Surely, recalling years of the corvee legacy, Kabye were skeptical and fearful of this
recruitment style in FED.

The fetters of forced settlement gradually loosened and developed into more benign,

less forced, voluntary systems of relocation by the colonial administration. Relocation

strategies transformed into "facilitating" farmer transition and adjustment. Settlers

were offered advantages upon arrival, such as tools, seeds, and even money.

By 1950, more consent and even voluntary relocation was occurring. This

stimulated and increased ongoing autonomous resettlement. Early resettlements of the

"plus ou moins coercitive" period, although considered failures in their operational

agricultural goals, have succeeded in retaining settlers in the areas over time (Pillet-

Schwartz 1980:3). Projects have failed, but settler autonomy in deciding to stay has

been an outcome of early settlement, and an indication of settler independence.

Causes of Spontaneous Migration

As early as 1915, small spontaneous migrations of northern farmers to the

southern regions were occurring in Togo. The colonial administration did not in fact

create the roots nor routes of relocation, but rather "piggy-backed" spontaneous

migrations already in progress.9 Between 1950-60, spontaneous migration boomed and

continues to exist today writes one scholar (Fofana 1978). Spontaneous migration is

reported to have nearly doubled every decade between 1932 and 1960 (Lucien-Brun

1987). In 1932, spontaneous migration accounted for 12 percent of the total migrant

population from the north, in 1946, 21 percent, and in 1960, 50 percent of total

9 Cornevin (1969) reports that the first spontaneous settler was a liberated Losso prisoner, a man
of unusually strong character and leadership ability, who after his release in 1914 remained in the south
to establish the first spontaneous settlement.

immigrants from the north in the Central and Plateaux regions were spontaneous

settlers. By 1950, high rates of spontaneous migrations were occurring by self-led

voyages of individualism, writes Gu-Konu (1987). Spontaneous migrations waxed, as

forced settlement waned, and to this day, continues to penetrate "open" or free land in

the Central and Plateaux regions in large numbers.

What has triggered this vast "undirected" movement of populations? First,

many men descended south as temporary hired laborers, either to earn the cash

needed to pay the tax fees initiated by the French administration, to altogether evade

fees owed, or to escape overall colonial tutelage (Lucien-Brun 1987; Pillet-Schwartz


Cultural inducements. A number of cultural practices encouraged Kabye

spontaneous emigration as well (Piot 1988). Emigration served as an escape hatch for

young male farmers to avoid burdensome familial obligations and responsibilities

mandated by Kabye tradition (primarily labor or marital obligations).'0 Lack of a

formal, organized Kabye chiefdomship places significant leadership and control at the

household level. Sons are shackled under their fathers' authority for many years.

Their independence occurs only with the aging or even death of the "p6re de famille"

(Piot 1988). Fofana (1978:46) and Piot (1988) explain that escape from this family

control has induced emigration among young men. Kabye marriage rites and customs

tO The Kabye practice a strong, authoritative patriarchal lineal system where elders, or fathers of
the family unit, hold power and control by applying austere and harsh measures (Sauvaget 1981). For
example, during the period of slave trade, uncles often sold their nephews to other tribes for trade
goods. In fear of this possibility, youth would venture south leaving no word of their destination or
possible return. Eventually, the loss of men and their labor contribution served to soften this behavior
by male elders and loosened the hegemony of their rule.

also induce emigration. Traditionally after marriage, the wife does not live with the

husband until she becomes pregnant. To avoid this "waiting period," according to

Fofana (1978), many young couples will emigrate, forcing parents to allow the girl to

accompany her husband south, despite her childless condition. Steep payments of

bridewealth and services may have influenced young men to delay marriage by

emigrating as well. Other reasons cited for emigration include the onset of formal

schooling, transportation development (both of which deter youth from the traditional

lifestyle and encourage emigration (Fofana 1978), and onchocerciasis (river

blindness)," causing large land-tract evacuation and consequent emigration of local

farmers in search of other land (discussed below).

After many years of emigration, it is appropriate to identify emigration as an

established, accepted, normative custom among young Kabye males. Many Kabye

believe that travel is necessary before settling. Similar to a rite of passage, one hasn't

lived or experienced life unless he has seen other places and people, Kabye informed

me. It is indeed considered normal (and even encouraged among many) that young

men should travel to distant places for a period of their life to see other things. In

sum, among Kabye, emigration is an integral, commonly practiced venture resulting

from multiple interwoven motivations.

Land shortages. Contrary to the long-standing belief, deficiency in land and

food was not the single decisive factor motivating Kabye migration at its inception.

This is a filarial disease transmitted by the small black fly Similium damnosum. Through biting,
the fly can infect humans by depositing the microscopic filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus under the
skin, which in turn discharges embryonic microfilariae into the dermal tissue that later invade the eye,
resulting in blindness (WHO 1985:7).

Colonial reports (examined by Lucien-Brun in 1987 and also discussed by Gu-Konu in

1980 and 1983) show that, despite the impending limitation of virgin land in the

Kabye region, subsistence and ample surplus production were consistently attained.

Ample beer (demanding large quantities of sorghum) was produced, and the Kabye

were "bien nourri" (well fed) according to colonial reports written in the period

around 1930 (Lucien-Brun 1986).

Administrative reports indicate, however, that cultivable land did become

increasingly difficult to find. By the mid-1950s, all arable land was occupied or

claimed by family units, leaving only less-preferred land open for expansion.

Production dropped in several areas as soil conditions were worsened. Developments

of lateritic or "hardpan" soils, granulated-textured soil, humus deficiency, and soil

degradation appeared in greater quantities. Striga rowlandi, the widely spread

parasitic plant caused by deficient soils, often destroyed cereal crops, particularly

maize. As early as 1930, fallow periods were reported to be reduced to three to four

years (Lucien-Brun 1987). Self-sufficiency was becoming a problem for the Kabye. In

response, by the 1960s, streams of Kabye youth were flooding south to search for

new options.

Search for space. Lucien-Brun (1987) and Pillet-Schwartz (1986b) maintain

that Kabye migrated for more space. More specifically, they assert that space allowed

Kabye to conduct extensive agricultural practices, thus freeing-up more time for other

activities, "L'emigration est non seulement une conquete de l'espace, mais aussi et

surtout une conquete de temps (Pillet-Schwartz 1986b: 130). It is precisely this point,

they argue, that caused conflict between government and migrating farmers, and

precipitated the failure of the majority of intensification development schemes

(including FED).

Organized, structured rules of production are contrary to the goals of

migration; "Tout forme de d'encadrement n'est-elle pas par definition la negation de

cette dynamique purement paysanne? (Pillet-Schwartz 1986b: 119)." This polarization

of goals has not stemmed the flow of migration south, which is the aim of many

projects such as FED. Despite the multiplication of government-sponsored programs

and increased development in the north, Kabye emigration south continues in

significant numbers.

In sum, historians of Kabye migration agree that spontaneous relocation, "le

systeme migratoire auto-entretenu," is not a recent phenomenon, nor is it a colonial

invention. It is first and foremost a traditional, cultural, and economic strategy, and

only more recently a government-induced, development-oriented incentive for

improving farmer welfare. The conflict between government and farmer goals in

terms of migration and land use remains open: is development, implying intensified

agricultural practices, the antithesis of spontaneous resettlement, when migration and

extensification are the norms? Where the future of vacant lands is limited (as

suggested by Painter 1990), how the dynamic spirit of spontaneous migration can be

combined with intensified sustainable agricultural systems to promote development

remains in question and underlies this research.

Consequences of Kabye Emigration

What were the social and economic consequences stemming from Kabye

emigration? The large part of the emigrant population was young males between

fifteen and nineteen years, a productive cohort of society. Loss of labor hands was

perhaps the most critical and negative impact caused by emigration. "Le pays

d'origine, surtout le principal massif du Kabye, est malade de l'6migration," says

Lucien-Brun (as told by Pillet-Schwartz 1980:7). As increasing numbers of young

Kabye pioneered south to more promising prospects, at home, adjustments and

accommodations were required concerning land use and systems of inheritance,

engagements and arrangements of marriages, household responsibilities, and a host of

other necessary changes.

Migrants were not, however, independent pioneers forging ahead without

looking back. Most migrants remained attached to family and land, faithfully

contributing to the livelihood and improvement of their households in the north.

Although absent, migrants retained an economically active role in the household.

They remained "providers" by sending remittances of both foodstuffs and cash back to

the village. Their absence was not a loss, but ensured a supplementary income to the

household, oftentimes more substantial than local contributions, particularly in hard


A second important role early settlers played vis A vis home villages was

facilitator for new settlers. By sending for settler-aspiring "freres" back home to join

them in the south, they assisted others in settlement through a "chain migration." This

caretaking most often entailed food, lodging, and temporary allocation of field space

for the first season or two of cultivation. At the same time, they reaped benefits of

their guests' labor (Fofana 1978). An essential part of the assimilation process was

introductions of the new settler (by the first settler) to the village chief. This was an

official visit in request of land-use rights, but usually a pleasant and jovial affair,

filled with much drink and offerings. Chiefs and local populations were highly

receptive to new settlers. Existing extensive land was available and prestige gained

from growing populations offered increased political importance to the area.

Isolation or Integration?: Patterns of Spontaneous Settlement

A symbiotic relationship between autocthones and settlers flourished during the

decades of active migration, writes Lucien-Brun (1987). People co-existed under rules

of mutual aid and respect. Autocthones were happy to hire migrants as temporary or

permanent workers, and viewed the migrants as "associates" in clearing and managing

the land, and fending off wild animals and other hazards (Fofana 1978). A benign

environment offered security and comfort for newly arrived northerners and

encouraged settlers' smooth and rapid transition to self-sufficiency and autonomy. In

return, the settlers provided labor for land clearance and during bottleneck periods.

Land tenure and chieftainship were main ingredients determining sustainable

integration between settlers and autocthones (Lucien-Brun 1987). In the northern

Central region (from Sokod6 to southern Sotouboua), land rights based on usufruct

practice are loosely defined. The immigrants had a certain degree of power enabling

them to use and ultimately declare land rights over their own farms and fallow lands.

In contrast, in the southern Central region (from south of Blitta, Atakpam6, and

Badou), settlers were considered temporary, as users, inviteses" and not permanent

land holders. These settlers were not to plant trees (a clear indication of land

ownership and rights). Tenure over land was not an option for these settlers (nor did

many find fault with this agreement). They were present to farm and eat, not to settle.

In both northern and southern settlement areas, respect for autocthones was

considered essential for new-settler integration. This was commonly expressed

through symbolic gestures of prestation (such as a quantity of yams, cereals, beer, or

days of labor)." The absence of defined delineated rules of settlement did not abolish

the need for some agreed upon system of order and justice (an essential element of

social organization). Chieftainship was critical in preventing over-menacing conflicts

and hostility between ethnic groups. In most cases, the settler and autocthone

communities existed in harmonious separation. Settlers maintained their own chiefs

(or elders) who regulated courts or judgements uniquely within the settler community.

These customs and laws differed from those of the autocthones. Only in the case of a

settler-autocthone conflict would representatives from both factions merge. For

example, tax collection was initially conducted by autocthones and resented by

settlers. In time, this task was allocated to both autocthones and settlers (both to quiet

accusations of corruption and to reach maximum numbers of households).

12 In time, settlers resented these "offerings" of sometimes large proportions and Lucien-Brun
(1987) writes that by 1960 people refused to pay and began to claim permanency and autonomy for

Newly formed Kabye settlements in the central region generally remained

separated and isolated from host communities. Immigrants settled in a mosaic of

communities assembled in positions relative to their cantons of origin in the north. A

"brassage d'origines" was strictly respected, which can be detected easily in the

regional layout of settler communities in the Central region (Fofana 1978; Lucien-

Brun 1987). For example, settlers from those villages whose original canton is

Koumea are found in the proximate area to the immigrants from Koumea village


Most settler communities followed a semi-dispersed or scattered village pattern

where a given number of hamlets are within 50-meter proximity of one another and

loosely connected in a somewhat circular pattern.14 Scattered settlement patterns

reflect traditional Kabye settlement practices in the mountains of their home villages,

where vast, expansive territories were settled to give the appearance of large

populations and control over large land areas.15

Separation between autocthone and settler societies is apparent in settlers'

continuation of traditional religious customs. Marguerat (1986:107) writes that the

Kabye diaspora is a spatial but not social mutation wherein essential social structures

of the Kabye ethnic group remain unchanged. Kabye rely on former social and

13 Not surprisingly, Lucien-Bnm (1987) found that settler villages experiencing conflicts and
disputes reflected the continuation of conflicts originating in the north.

14 A second, less practiced, plan is a centralized, nuclear formation comprised of a small number
of families.

`5 Given the loosely knit political system and absence of centralized authority, the scattered pattern
of settlement appropriately correlates with the Kabye forms of governance (Lucien-Brun 1987).

cultural practices rather than assimilate to those found in the new environment.

Pauvert writes, the Kabye-Losso immigrants,

restent fiddles A de nombreux modules de leur organisation coutumiere,
et que tout en 6tablissement avec les autocthones ana et kpessi certain
modes de coexistence et m6me de symbiose, ils continent A &tre lies A
leur famille et A leur village, en particulier de fait de la persistence de
liens 6conomiques et religieux (Pauvert 1956:2).

A number of ceremonies were reenacted in the south simultaneously with those in the

north (notably the important age-set fights, called Evala). For many, spoken language

remained separate. Burials were oftentimes conducted in the south: "Rares sont les

vieux migrants qui retournent au pays; la plupart acceptent de veiller et de mourir 1A

bu ils sont fix6s (Margeurat 1986:99)." Settlers justified this otherwise sacrilegious

act by claiming that spirits travelled with them to settle in the south. Settlers also

carried with them (or recreated) from the north their own religious and ceremonial

icons and fetishes. Marriages rites were conducted in the south, but exclusively

among Kabye.16 Rather than integrate into their new world, many Kabye remained

resistant to change;

Mais ces paysans semblent disposes A 61argir le moins possible le mileu
quotidien de leur vie de relations, aussi 6troit ffit-il A l'origine, et cet
6tat d'esprit particulariste, pour se manifester dans le cadre d'isolats
restreints, n'en est pas moins syst6matique. Le Centre-Togo ne se
pr6sente nullement comme un "melting pot" (Lucien-Brun 1987:127).

Traditional practices are reinforced through intermittent visits to home villages.

Settlers return north, usually at intervals of one to four years, for a variety of

16 Although early settlers found the idea of mixed marriages a humorously unfathomable notion, in
time mixed marriages occurred (Lucien-Brun 1987).

reasons. In sixty-one cases, Lucien-Brun (1987) found thirty-two settlers returned to

their village "occasionally" (for funeral ceremonies, illness, simple visits, age-class

ceremonies, sacrifices, and other diverse reasons). These visits (usually spent during

the low-labor season of January-March for a period of weeks) reinforce spiritual,

economic, and social connections and attachments to one's kin. They demonstrate to

one's community that settlers continue to hold a place in the family circle. It is rare to

find settlers completely severed from their home village.

Strength of ethnicity and consequent distinction between groups fervently

continues and is apparent in regions of settlement today. Conflicts over land rights

and tenure have worsened during recent years in Togo (largely due to increased

economic stringency and land scarcity). During my field research (May 1992), a

hostile uprising over land rights between Kabye and Kotokoli groups occurred in the

Central region. Kabye felt threatened and fearful of Kotokoli, who they accused of

forcing them off what they consider now to be their own land. Kabye responded with

hostility, first damaging Kotokoli houses then shooting. This violent incident resulted

in several injuries and some deaths.

Similarly, in February 1994 a violent uprising leaving several injured and dead

occurred between the Konkomba and Namumba ethnic groups residing on the

Ghanaian side of the Mo plain (personal communication and the Gainesville Sun,

February 18, 1994). According to Akpata-Ohoe (1994) in Africa Events, the

Konkomba, settlers "who farm but don't own the land," have resisted Namumba

pressures to return to their own land in Togo. Urgency of peoples in search for land,

whether it be the Konkomba or the Kabye, is intensifying as conditions in Africa

deteriorate. Akpata-Ohoe remarks that, "Both sides blame the government for

ignoring and refusing earlier calls to tackle the root cause of the conflict [land

tenure]." These are the most violent in an lengthy series of hostile events that

underline the importance of ethnic identity and land holdings in settlement. Clearly,

historical events influence contemporary political conflicts which continue to afflict

Togo today.

The Sotouboua Prefet confirms that these events are indicative of

disagreements and confusion over land use and rights dating from the arrival of Kabye

settlers in the 1920s. He believes they have sharpened and grown in intensity through

time. Admittedly, an immediate need for resolution and clarification of land tenure is

essential to prevent further violence, he says, but it is a very delicate and complex

problem. Cornevin (1969) reports as early as 1926, that persons or groups defined

land use and rights according to their own position and activity: a first settler declared

that rights of first settler defined priority in land ownership, or hunters declared that

rights of hunters was priority, and so on.

While for decades, tension over land rights and settlement have prevailed,

leading to confusion and igniting episodes of conflict, in some cases these tensions

and conflicts have precipitated autonomous problem-solving. I now turn to Part Two

to analyze in-depth one of these cases, the spontaneous settlement of the Mo plain

located in the Central region of Togo.

The Mo Plain: The Spontaneous Settlement

Early Settlement in the Mo Plain

As early as the seventeenth century, the first inhabitants of the Mo plain, the

Kotokoli, are alleged to have travelled to the Mo plain initially for hunting, for trade,

and for protection against other warring factions by residing in the mountain cliffs.

Located on the Hausa caravan trade routes from the north, during the seventeenth and

eighteenth centuries the two ancient Kotokoli cheifdoms of Boulo and Djarapanga

thrived from commercial activity (Barbier 1984, 1986).

The first immigrant settlers entered the plain mostly to hunt, eventually to farm

(attracted to the area's land abundance and fertility), trade with autocthones, and also

to escape eviction from Ghana and elsewhere. In 1960, Barbier (1984:2) reports a

total population of only approximately 3,500 persons, with an annual population

growth of 2.8 percent. Despite the onset of rapid population growth of the Mo plain,

around 13 percent annually according to Barbier (1984), population density remains

the second lowest of any prefecture in Togo (estimated at only 22 p/km2 in 1990

compared to the national population density of 62 p/km2) (INRS 1991). What

precipitates low population in the Mo plain? Scarce settlement is caused by both

biophysical and political factors, which I review below.

Geographical features. The 1000 km2 region of the Mo plain lies within the

soudana-guinean zone of semi-tropical humidity at about 8.75 N, with an average

temperature of around 250C (GOT/MPI 1986). Regional enclavement best describes

the geography of the Mo plain (see Figure 2-2). It is notably severed from the rest of

06 Nouveaux centres de pup(nement identifiA

R#oeau routier
-e route a praticoa
Route a proticat
S Piste cyclobie
4,*4. Frontitre intel
,.-.. Limilt de regic
f Pore nltionol
Autlr CCOraCNerStiqucS
- Cours d'eau

SZone monlogn

T( Poste de douone

Figure 2-2. The spontaneous settlement site on the Mo Plain. (Source: Painter (1990)
Land Settlement Review: Country Case Study Togo.)

the Togo by geographical boundaries severely inhibiting movement into the area.

Despite its reputation of excellent fertile soils for cultivation, specifically of yams,

and an average rainfall of 1500 mm annually that occurs over a seven-month rainy

season, the plain is referred to as "1'6ndroit oubli6," the forgotten region, due to its

geographic and political isolation from other parts of the country." Until only the

mid-1980s, it has shown greater affinity with neighboring Ghana (to which it

previously belonged), both economically and socially, than with Togo.

Perhaps the greatest barrier deterring access to the Mo plain is the Fazao

mountain range, a continuation of the Atakorian massif, spanning nearly the full

length of the country. The Fazao cliffs (elevation of 400 m) are steep and jagged,

impassable by any type of vehicle, let alone bicycle (except carried). In the past, the

autocthone Kotokoli conducted all travel between the plain and the central canton

village of Fazao (about 15 km away), or the prefecturial center of Sotouboua (40 km

from Fazao) over the mountain. Emergencies, commerce and trade, administrative

responsibilities, and visiting of any type had to navigate this difficult passage.18

Today, less travel occurs on the beaten path due to the bridge constructed over

the Mo river (financed in 1983 by the Soci6t6 Togolaise du Coton: SOTOCO)

allowing a new, less arduous access means of travel.

"1 Soils in the plain mainly consist of tropical ferruginous and hydromorphic types of average to
high agricultural potential (Painter 1990).

18 Nonetheless, the cliffs are still ventured by many, including those unable to afford vehicular
transport or unwilling to wait for a bush taxi due to urgent business, those transporting illegal goods
(such as firearms from Ghana or hunting prizes), those preferring the traditional lifestyle, or, like
myself, those climbing for the sheer pleasure of it to see the glorious sight of the Mo plain from the
cliffs of Fazao.

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