The persistence of self-provisioning among smallholder farmers in northeast Madagascar

Rheyna Laney, B. L. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In the Andapa region of northeast Madagascar, smallholders cultivating swidden hill rice (tavy) for subsistence are pressing against neighboring nature reserves. A dominant policy approach to reducing this pressure requires that smallholders abandon tavy and purchase rice from proceeds obtained from their environmentally sustainable commercial crops, vanilla and coffee. Economic liberalization policies have succeeded in stimulating the expansion of these commercial crops, but have failed to reduce tavy production. We ask why this dual (subsistence and commercial) production system persists. We test two explanatory views: that either market imperfections deny farmers full entry into the market, or that internal production goals or socio-cultural norms create barriers to full market participation. Results support the latter view, although not for reasons that have been associated with this view in past studies. We propose a new factor that may serve as a barrier to full-market immersion among Andapa tavy farmers, the social relations of property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-826
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015


  • Africa
  • Agricultural change
  • Commercialization
  • Dual production systems
  • Food security
  • Induced intensification
  • Madagascar
  • Self-provisioning
  • Subsistence
  • Swidden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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