John Libbey Eurotext

Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse


Diversity of agricultural farming units in an Algerian semiarid region Volume 17, issue 3, Juillet-Août-Septembre 2006


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Département d’agronomie, Université Mohamed Boudiaf M’Sila, BP 166, Ichebilia 28000 M’Sila Algérie, Département des sciences de la nature, Université d’Annaba, BP n o 12, Annaba 28000 Algérie
  • Key words: semiarid zone, agriculture, water resources, farming unit, typology, Algeria
  • DOI : 10.1684/sec.2006.0050
  • Page(s) : 399-406
  • Published in: 2006

Understanding the structure of production units, the forms of organizations, and production strategies is a prerequisite for developing a sound agricultural development strategy. The aim of the present survey was to identify the various types of farming units and characterize their organization in the semiarid milieu of the region of Sétif, in northeastern Algeria. To that end, we resorted to the direct interview technique on a sample of 120 production units in 21 cereal-growing communes with a view to analyse the diversity of the production systems. That diversity is a function, on the one hand, of agroecological characteristics – mainly the climatic level and the availability of water resources for irrigation – and, on the other hand, of criteria relative to the structure of the production units (cultivated surfaces, land tenure system, farm equipment) and to the speculations chosen. Thus, the aim of the small farming units in the lower and central semiarid areas in terms of organization strategies is to diversify speculations in order to ensure the survival of the unit, while in the superior semiarid areas it is to simplify the production system using the laboured fallow-cereal crop rotation setup as a basis. Irrigation as a diversification and intensification factor can have a positive effect on the security of the production system through its impact on the rotation of the crops. The maintenance and development of the farming units in these environmental conditions depend on the capacity of the farmers to develop production systems adapted to such environmental factors, depending on the structuration level and economic conditions of the production unit.