From Complementarity to Conflict: A Historical Analysis of Farmer-Fulbe Relations in West Africa

  • M Davidheiser
  • AM Luna


This paper provides a socio-historical analysis of conflict between Fulbe pastoralists and farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The discussion examines various structural factors that have fostered conditions conducive to conflict generation and intensification, including international development projects, demographic changes, and environmental degradation. Our analysis highlights changes in production systems and land tenure regimes as central to the aggravation of farmer-herder goal incompatibility and intercommunal strife. Many of these changes are the deliberate results of interventions and legislation that were based on Western models and intended to increase production outputs and market integration. Effective conflict mitigation will require the abandonment of top-down, directive policymaking in favour of a more supportive engagement that strives to draw on and build up local resources and capacities.

African Journal on Conflict Resolution Vol. 8 (1) 2008: pp. 77-104

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eISSN: 1562-6997