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Agricultural Strategy Development in West Africa: The False Promise of Participation?

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Participatory approaches are an increasingly prominent technique for designing agricultural strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. However, they are frequently criticised for either not involving enough stakeholders or limiting the scope of their participation. This article concludes from a study of the situation in West Africa that a lack of broad-based participation in these strategies is not a major problem; rather, the real challenge lies in transforming the outcomes of participatory processes into policies that can be feasibly implemented. It highlights why an emphasis on participation can sometimes result in disappointment amongst stakeholders and discusses a range of measures to help overcome this dilemma.
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Keywords: Agricultural and rural development strategies; West Africa; participation; policy processes; representative democracy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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