African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6858

Full Length Research Paper

Farm diversity and crop growing practices in semi-arid regions: A case study of the Setif high plains in Algeria

Ramdane BENNIOU1* AND Christine AUBRY2
1Department of Agronomy, Mohamed Boudiaf University of M’Sila- Algeria BP, 664 Sétif 19000 Algeria. 2INRA UMR SADAPT, 16 Claude Bernard 75231 Paris cedex 05.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 02 November 2012
  •  Published: 20 December 2012


An analysis of farm diversity in semi-arid regions of Algeria shows the importance of differences in structure (size, crops and equipment), environment (climate zone) and organization (crop-livestock ratio) in understanding the strategic characteristics of local farms. Their economic orientation explains the use of resources and irrigation in particular. A crop management itinerary typology is proposed to categorize the different types of farms. The typology was developed step by step by combining the various cultural practices (time-frame, methods). The inputs use is diverse in the farms, some without inputs depending largely on the agro-ecological conditions to obtain a production. Supplemental irrigation, to ensure rather to increase the production, mainly concerns feed grain grown in the lower semi-arid zone, demonstrating the importance of local livestock rearing. Similarly, the highly variable grain yield relies more on annual rainfall and management methods than on the use of inputs. However, in areas with good rainfall where a good harvest is generally obtained, the economic profit varies between farms, without being directly related to farm management strategies used. In such unpredictable environmental conditions, the survival of these farms depends on the farmers’ capacity to develop a diversified production system (livestock rearing, diversification of crops, feed grain, etc.) and adapt their farming methods to climatic variations. This present study opens up new areas of research, particularly by emphasizing the importance of “on-farm research” in agricultural research in Algeria.


Key words: Farms, on-farm practices, typology, grain crops, semi-arid, farm management.