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Rural resilience and the role of social capital among farmers in Kirundo province, Northern Burundi
Published September 30, 2013

In Burundi, more than 90% of the active population is engaged in family agriculture, which plays a vital role in food production and constitutes more than 50% of the GDP. Before the civil war of 1993, Kirundo was deemed the “breadbasket of the country”, as the region fed many parts of Burundi through growing particular foods such as legumes... and cereals. Family farming was market-oriented. Kirundo alone includes 8 lakes which offer opportunities for field irrigation. Today, this region is the first province in Burundi which shows a high rate of malnutrition, as poverty has increased and a sharp 53.9 % decline in agricultural production has been witnessed between 1996 and 2009. The aim of this article is to analyse the role of social capital through the local association network in improving family agriculture and the resilience to climate change and conflict crisis. In this study, 73 farmers were surveyed in Kirundo province through means of a questionnaire, and the study was completed by collecting secondary data. Analysis of the data reveals that, despite recurrent droughts in that region which caused deaths due to famines and displacement of people to neighbouring countries such as Rwanda and Tanzania, 44% of the farmers who were surveyed were shown to have resilience to climate change. The analysis of data shows that these farmers were members of well organised local associations, and had learned about specific topics such as financial management, processing and storage of agricultural products and livestock. The social capital network positively influences their income and their resilience to climate change and conflict crisis.

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Trajectories of agricultural modernization and rural resilience: some first insights derived from case studies in 14 countries
Published March 31, 2016

In this paper, alternative trajectories of agricultural modernization and rural resilience are explored based on case studies in 14 countries. The analysis is to support discussions about the further development of agriculture at a time when the agricultural sector must respond to an increasing scarcity of natural resources, challenges like cli...mate change, urbanization, demographic change, food security, consumer demands, distributional issues in food value chains and changing urban-rural relations. The discussion relates different trajectories of agricultural modernization to the multiple mechanisms underlying rural prosperity and resilience. The mainstream capital-intensive and technology-driven model of agricultural modernization is contrasted with more incremental, socially embedded and localised forms of development. Potential synergies between different modes of farm ‘modernization’, resilience and sustainable rural development are highlighted and a different future-oriented understanding of the term ‘modernization’ explored. The basis for the analysis are case studies in 14 countries (including Turkey and Israel). The key question asked is how actors are connecting economic, social and natural systems in the different cases and how the connections made (or not) point to different ideas about modernization. The conclusions focus on some current information needs of policy-makers: the links between different forms of farm modernization, rural development and resilience, and the implications for agricultural knowledge systems and the new European Innovation Partnerships. It is emphasized that local capacities for transdisciplinary research need to be strengthened and that more attention should be paid to addressing modernization potentials that are less mainstream. The paper seeks to foster discussions that help overcome simplistic viewpoints of what ‘modernization’ entails. It is based on an earlier review paper by Knickel, Zemeckis and Tisenkopfs (2014).

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