Kofyar Cash-Cropping: Choice and Change in Indigenous Agricultural Development

  • Robert McC. Netting
  • M. Priscilla Stone
  • Glenn Davis Stone


Amidst failures in planned development by government and international agencies, Netting, Stone, and Stone examine what appears to be a highly successful process of “spontaneous” economic development in Nigeria over a period of thirty years. The Kofyar of Plateau State have been gradually migrating from their homeland in the Jos Plateau to take up cash cropping. They have been obliged to change the social organization of labor as they have changed from shifting to intensive agriculture, and have become increasingly dependent upon market interactions to satisfy what have become basic needs. Among their accommodations to the requirements of the new system of production include cooperative and exchange labor groups, though labor is mostly organized on a household basis, as households have grown larger and more complex. Kofyar colonization of the fertile valley region for the purpose of cash cropping resulted from the individual decisions of thousands of farmers that independent subsistence agriculture was less attractive than the benefits of having a cash income, and all that cash could buy, even at the cost of harder work and dependence upon others. They made the transition on their own, first using indigenous tools and techniques, then learning new practices through their own experience of what worked and what did not. The authors attribute the success of this colonization in large part to the absence of government interference.


Wage Labor Benue Trough Seed Dressing Capitalist World System Polygynous Family 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert McC. Netting
    • 1
  • M. Priscilla Stone
    • 2
  • Glenn Davis Stone
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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