Toulmin, Camilla. Cattle, women, and wells: managing household survival in the Sahel

Table of Contents

Publication Information

1 Introduction

The Production System Of Kala


The Long Time-frame


Background To The Study And Collection Of Data

Choice Of Research Site

Data Collection And Methods

Types Of Data Collected

Other Research In Kala

Part I The Village Setting

2 Background To The Village Of Kala

Patterns Of Settlement

Other Ethnic Groups—fulani And Maure

Village History

The Colonial Impact

Political And Administrative Structure Of Mali




Village And Lineage

The Bambara Household

Caste Groups—nobles, Slaves, And Blacksmiths

Age-groups And The Village Ton

Recent Political And Econmic Developments In Mali

3 Climate, Cultivation, And Household Income

The Physical Setting


Soils And Vegetation




The Economy Of Village And Household

Land Use

Livestock Ownership

Ownership Of Other Assets

Grain Production And Use

Dry-season Activities

Household Income And Expenditure

Part Ii Farm Production

4 The Farming System

Factors Of Production




The Bush Field

Area Cultivated

Age-profile Of The Bush Field

Labour Input Into The Bush Field

Accounting For Variation In Labour Input Per Hectare

Plough-team Inputs Into Bush-field Millet

Bush-field Millet Yields

The Village Field

Area Cultivated

Manure Availability

Labour Input Into Village Fields

Plough-team Inputs Into Village-field Millet

Village-field Millet Yields

Production Of The Two Millet Varieties

5 Millet-production Analysis

Expectations, Crop Output, And Investment

A Comparison Of Marginal Returns

Problems With Production Function Analysis

Problems With Data

Choice Of Variables For The Analysis Of Millet Production

Village-field Millet

Form Of The Village-field Millet Regression Equation

Bush-field Millet

Form Of The Bush-field Regression Equation

Results Of The Regression Analysis

The Partial Correlation Matrix

The Regression Coefficients

Overall Significance Of The Results

Problems With The Labour Variable

The Residual Error Term

6 Returns To Farming

Problems Associated With The Marginal Returns Analysis

Comparing The Marginal Returns To Factors Between Crops

Accounting For Differences In Marginal Factor Returns

Comparing Marginal Factor Returns In 1980 And 1981

Comparing The Marginal Returns To Factors With Their Prices

Accounting For The Divergence Between Marginal Value Products And Prices

Comparing The Returns To Different Farmers Of Oxen Plough Teams And Dung

Village-field Millet

Bush-field Millet


Part Iii Farm Investment

7 Introduction

Investment Models

Variability In Returns To Investors

Household Types

8 Well-digging

Distribution Of Wells

The Profitability Of Well-digging

Costs Of Well-digging

Uses And Value Of Well Water

Assessing Returns To Well-digging

Net Returns From Well-investment

Additional Sources Of Variability In Returns

Risk To The Well's Capital Value

Control Or Reduction Of Risk

Flexibility Of Well Investment

Consequences Of Not Owning A Well

9 Oxen Plough Teams

Distribution Of Oxen Plough Teams

Alternatives To Purchase Of A Plough Team

Consequences Of Not Investing In An Oxen Plough Team

Costs Of Acquiring And Maintaining A Plough Team

Returns To Oxen Plough-team Investment

Net Returns From Plough-team Investment

Joint Investment In A Well And Oxen Plough Team

Risk To Capital Values

Flexibility Of Oxen Plough-team Investment

10 Investment In Cattle-breeding Stock

Distribution Of Cattle Holdings

Profitability Of Breeding-cattle Investment

Returns To Cattle Investment

Calf Production And Herd Offtake

Value Of Returns From Calf Production And Herd Offtake

Milk Production

Calculating The Value Of Milk Received


Variability In Yields From Breeding Stock

Variability In Returns From Breeding Stock From One Farmer To Another

Investment By Households

Risk To Capital Values

Reducing The Risk To Capital And To Income Flows

Flexibility Of Investment In Cattle

11 Farm-investment Strategies

The Pattern Of Asset-holding And Investment By Households

Changes In Asset Ownership Over Time

Returns To Investment In The Longer Term


Land Availability

Control Over Land And Water

Part Iv Managing The Family

12 Fertility And Child-rearing


Economic Determinants Of Human Fertility

The Demographic Transition

Studies Of Child Productivity

The Economics Of Human Fertility In Kala



Risks To Child-rearing

Child Survival And Economic Class

Child-failure Rates

Child-failure: Incidence By Household

The Overall Distribution Of Risk Among Households

Modifying The Economic Argument For High Fertility

13 Marriage

The Institution Of Bambara Marriage

Costs Of Marriage

Total Costs Of Marriage

Changing Costs And Patterns Of Marriage

Returns From Marriage

Female Labour

Sexual Favours

Acquisition Of Descendants

Women's Wealth

Sources Of Risk To Marriage

Controlling Risks To Marriage

Consequences Of Unsuccessful Marriage Investment

14 Bambara Household Organization

The Significance Of Household Size And Structure

Modelling Relations Within The Household

Advantages Of Large Household Size: Co-operation

Problems Of Increasing Household Size: Conflict

Game-theory And Household Organization

Household Division

Reasons For Household Division

Part V Conclusions

15 Conclusions

Data Collection And Analysis

Differentiation Between Households In Kala

Factors Increasing Differentiation Between Households

Factors Reducing Differentiation Between Households

Environmental Degradation In The Sahel: Lessons From Kala

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Cattle, women, and wells: managing household survival in the Sahel

Published By: Original publisher Oxford [England] ; New York: Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press. 1992. xiii, 295 p. ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Camilla Toulmin

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2000. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Bambara (FA08)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Morbidity (164); Domesticated animals (231); Pastoral activities (233); Tillage (241); Agricultural science (242); Cereal agriculture (243); Land use (311); Real property (423); Borrowing and lending (426); Retail marketing (443); Saving and investment (454); Occupational specialization (463); Labor supply and employment (464); Labor relations (466); Ownership and control of capital (471); Ethnosociology (829);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This book discusses the economic and social life of Bambara farmers in a Sahelian village called Kala, in central Mali. The focus is on the effect of differential management practices relating to millet farming, animal husbandry and ownership of water wells on household economic status. The book provides detailed economic analysis of these linkages using qualitative and quantitative data on long-term benefits households obtain from investment of surplus in different farm assets including well-digging, capital (ploughs, oxen and breeding cattle) and labor (in the form of acquiring women, who would both work and reproduce households, through marriage).

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 10

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fa08-010

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. [284]-288) and index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1980-1982, 1988

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Teferi Abate Adem ; 2006

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1670-1988

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Mali

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Bambara (African people)


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