Article from ROAPE Volume 4 Number 10
Senegal River Valley: What Kind of Change
SAED (Societe d'Amenagement et d'Exploitation des Terres du Delta du Fleuve Senegal), Senegal, Arab, Koran, Dakar, MAS (Mission d'Amenagement du Delta du Fleuve Senegal), OAD (Organisation Autonome du Delta), OMVS (Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Senegal), OERS (Organisation des Etats Riverains du Senegal), SAED massively financed by USAID ‘Developpement de fonetionnaires’ or ‘developpement paysan’ . At the meeting with which the paper opens, peasants and SAED officials were unable to come to terms, because each group held different and incompatible views about what constituted ‘development’ . For the SAED delegation, there was only one kind of development, defined in terms of technological innovation. Modernization therefore imposed its own objective constraints; once the peasants had chosen progress, there could be no sound reason for them to reject the production techniques and styles of organisation which progress required. For the leaders of the peasant association, on the other hand, there were two kinds of development, two ways of bringing agricultural change to the area; the choice was not between innovation and stagnation, but between change evolved from within, and change imposed from without. They had organised on their own, and had shown themselves capable of adapting to new crops and new techniques: that was ‘developpment paysan’ . The SAED takeover, they felt, could not be justified in objective terms; its purpose was to deprive them of the freedom to control their own productive activity and its fruits, and make them work for outside interests rather than for the good of their own community. That was ‘developpment de fonetionnaires’ . The SAED officials often spoke in terms of nationalist interest, one and undivided; but the peasants saw no necessary fit between their interests and those of officialdom. The evidence available suggests that the peasants' view of the situation is nearer the truth.