Les moissons amères de l'Afrique

Souley Madi, 40 ans, est l'un des producteurs de coton parmi les plus actifs du Cameroun, dans une zone où la forêt luxuriante d'Afrique centrale cède la place à une zone semi-aride, le Sahel. Grâce à la combinaison d'une température très élevée et de pluies sahéliennes périodiques, il produit un coton très propre et d'excellente qualité sur les pentes douces qui entourent sa ferme protégée d'une enceinte.

Mais alors qu'approche la saison de croissance, Madi est confronté à une décision difficile : combien de coton doit-il cultiver cette année ? Le prix du coton était tellement bas l'année dernière, qu'il a dû réduire sa surface cultivable. D'une année à l'autre, il voit ses revenus s'effondrer. "Je suis en colère, mais que puis-je faire", demande-t-il. Cette année, Madi va peut-être devoir réduire encore sa surface cultivable, alors que le coton est la principale source de revenu pour lui, ses deux femmes et ses cinq enfants. Il doit maintenant cultiver du maïs et des cacahuètes à la place du coton sur une partie de son champ.

Mais c'est potentiellement le coton qui est le plus d'avantageux. Il se monnaye sur le marché international et il peut être stocké pendant de longues périodes. Comme des millions d'autres paysans africains qui vivent du coton, Madi est en bonne position par rapport à ses concurrents des autres concurrents. Ses frais sont moindres, de même que le coût de la main d'œuvre, puisque ce sont sa famille et ses amis qui l'aident à désherber et à faire la récolte.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in

  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.