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By Pierre Bourdieu

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Extra info for Algeria 1960: The disenchantment of the world, The sense of honour, The Kabyle house or the world reversed (Studies in Modern Capitalism)

Example text

But perhaps climatic deficiencies posed the central problem to the farming community. A very wet year in which crops suffered badly from disease might be followed by a dry year in which the annual plants never came to fruition. The temperature in April/May was often forced up to the 30°C. mark by the sirocco. Without the security of an additional supply of irrigation water in a dry year, farming here was difficult. Around 1871, when the French and Italian farmers were beginning to take an interest in buying land in Tunisia, the standard of farming practiced was extremely poor.

Because the French Colonists in the Lower Medjerda Valley had primarily to cope with dry-farming, their early experience with irrigation was very limited. Under these conditions they turned to cereal farming for several good reasons. Cereals are annual crops which offer the considerable advantage of almost immediate returns and they give acceptable results in favorable years with a fairly summary preparation of the soil. Cereal cultivation was mechanically easy and, because of specialization, the capital per hectare invested in mechanical equipment was relatively low.

It was only because the export market for F/A closed in the postwar years that research on new soft wheat varieties was intensified. And only when Guelma and Etoile de Choisy were added to the list of soft wheats in the 1950s (Dutton) did the total range of soft-wheat characteristics make them more adaptable to the full range of soils and climate. The new varieties actually replaced F/A, exposing the fact that the latter had been bred for export and not cultivated with Tunisian market, soil, and climatic requirements as a first priority.

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