, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 39-45

The subsistence crisis and migration in the Sahelian Zone of the Sudan —

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Abstract

Burush is a small village in the N Sahelian Zone of the Sudan, whose population are basically sedentary agriculturists. The recurring drought conditions of the last two decades have significantly influenced the local resource base, so that the subsistence of the majority of the households was highly challenged. Nevertheless, the people are still surviving and resisting. The explanation of this resistence can be sought in the endogenous coping mechanisms adopted by the people. One of these mechanisms is migration, especially the seasonal labour migration of the heads and grown-up members of households, which used, even in good years, to be highly integrated in the strategies of survival of the majority of households. However under the recurring crop failures and the growing competition in the seasonal labour opportunities, this seasonal migration is changing gradually into stays of longer duration in the traditional destinations of seasonal labour. On the other hand, the male members of households are actively involved in migration of long duration, especially into the urban centres. Yet, the constributions of these migrant members to the subsistence of their households are limited, because of the rising costs of living in uurban centres as compared with the incomes. The rehabilitation of Burush lies obviously in the development of long-term strategies which aim at strengthening the endogenous resilience mechanisms.