From symbiosis to polarization? : peasants and pastoralists in northern Benin
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The semi-arid zone in northern Benin (West Africa) is an area where rain-dependent farming and (nomadic) pastoralism meet. onder the influence of different external factors, the relat'ionship between pastoralists andpeasants has been changing in the past decades. Until recently, there was an Interactive exchange between these two groups, based on mutual dependence of their ways of life. This symbiosis provided extra security for both groups in the variable climate conditions. Technological developments as well as further market Integration of thepeasants have led to increased competition between the pastoralist and peasant' mode of existence. Moreover, pastoralism has been under great pressure due to a longperiod ofdryyears. As a result of these factors, the tension between the two groups starled to rise in the early eighties. Mutual dependence has been reduced and symbiosis has turned into polarization.