Improved water harvesting and soil erosion control using the remarkably simple practice of contour stone bunding is shown to increase grain yields by 41% in low rainfall regions of Burkina Faso. Empirical results show that yield increases in food crops help foodbuying farm households import substitute in food consumption, reduce livestock production, and increase seasonal migration which is more compatible with seasonal agriculture than with the yearlong livestock activity. Self-sufficient households, by contrast, can take advantage of higher yields to free resources from food production and allocate these to expand their livestock economy, thus benefiting more from the region's comparative advantage. We also show that greater effectiveness in cooperation in the management of common property resources helps increase income derived from livestock for all categories of households. However, not all forms of cooperation are effective. When cooperation is only formal, individual activities such as crops, non-agricultural employment, and seasonal migration are pursued as opposed to livestock activities that rely on effective community management of common property resources.


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