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Some problems of economic geography in Northern tripolitania: a study of agriculture and irrigation on the Jefara plain

Hill, R. W. (1960) Some problems of economic geography in Northern tripolitania: a study of agriculture and irrigation on the Jefara plain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Libye has few resources and poverty is rife along its million inhabitants. It is not surprising thorefore that it has a permenant adverse trade balance and budget deficit, both being covered by foreign aid. Arieulture seems to offer the only prospect of overooming these financial difficulties and at the same time raising the living standards of population. The sandy plain round Tripoli is the most important agricultural area and here the conditions are most favourable for an extension of agriculture. The plain known by the Libyons as the Jefara, is composed mainly of unconsolidated deposits of Tertiery, Pleistocene and recent ages these all dip gently northwards and sometimes contain reserves of underground water. They afford very sandy soils which are deficient in organis material. clay and plant nutrients. The climate is a very dry Mediterranean type and Saheran influences result in high temperature and unreliable rainfall. Prior to the 1939/45 war, there were two basic types of agricultures Arab and Italian. Arab subsistence agriculture was either was either irrigated cultivation in small coastal cases or shifting cultivation of barley further inland. Italian agriculture was largely concentrated on the growing of dryland tree crops, such as clives, vines and almonds, and usually associated with winter cereals. There has been radical change in the aricultural pattern in recent years. This has been due largely to the increased importance of irrigation which is dependant on underground water. Groundouts, tobacco, cereals and potatoes, olive and citrus tree, are all irrigated. The numbers of dryland tree crops, particularly almonds and vines, are declining. The expansion of irrigation has increased the productivity of the plain and irrigation now forms an integral part of Jeferan agriculture. Future development should be a combination of dry and irrigated farming with both field and tree crops.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1960
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 16:00

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