Reviews

This study casts light on the advances made since the early 1990s in the restructuring of agriculture in the Tajikistani Autonomous Region of Higher Badakhshan.  A paragraph on the region’s geographical isolation is followed by historical developments on agriculture in the Pamir during the Soviet period, and on famine as a result of independence and the civil war of 1992-97.  The author then analyses the restructuring and privatisation of agriculture since 1992:  H. Herbers deals in particular with the ‘Land Code’ of 1995 (adopted with reluctance, under pressure of international donors, it ensures that land remain the property of the state, but that inheritable lease on land can be granted to private farmers), and with the latter’s impact on the recent evolution of the ‘combined mountain agriculture’ (a type of farming characterised by a tightly interlocked combination of crop cultivation and stock-rearing, as well as by the seasonal exploitation of resources at different altitudes).  The author underlines the very sensitive local disparities:  In spite of the considerable increase of production during the past decade, that permits the region to satisfy 70 per cent of its grain requirements through local production, villages situated a long way from still very rare markets continue to be dependent on food aid.  Among the protagonists of the transformation of the Pamirs, the author stresses the role played by the Mountain Society Development Programme launched by the Agha Khan Foundation in 1992 in the increasing acceptation of costly reform and change by the local populations, whose standard of living has declined markedly since the end of the Soviet period:  The small size of these populations has been an advantage for the implementation of agricultural reform, and their high educational level (as well as seventy years of experience of having their activities dictated ‘from above’) have facilitated the transformation process.  However, crucial problems remain, as long as the current political and economic conditions remain too.  The paper is followed by relatively numerous references, including a number of works in German language—a rare and welcome illustration of the quality of German research and involvement in development studies on Tajikistani Badakhshan (see also in supra 740 my review of the book by Frank Bliss).

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-8.4.E-741