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Location, vocation, and price shocks: cotton, rice, and sorghum-millet farmers in Mali

This article contrasts the impacts of the global food-price crisis in 2007–08 on three types of farmer in Mali. In the Niger delta, where the government undertook an ‘emergency’ initiative, farmers organised to market their rice collectively, gaining a stronger position vis-à-vis merchants and the state. Vertically integrated into an export value chain, cotton farmers have suffered from stagnating yields, slow organisational reform, and rising input-to-output ratios over the past decade. Consuming little rice, growing local landraces with few inputs, and insulated from the world market by their isolation, sorghum-millet farmers in the drylands were affected by poor rainfall.

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