'The Tides Rhyme with the Moon': The Impacts of Knowledge Transmission and Strong Spring Tides on Rice Farming in Guinea-Bissau

Joana Sousa, Ana Luisa Luz

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Mangrove rice farmers in Guinea-Bissau are facing climatic changes (i.e., seawater flooding and decreasing rainfall) that threaten their livelihood. In addition, cultural transformations (e.g., abandonment of bush initiations) have affected inter-generational knowledge exchange and elders’ control over youth. Our ethnographic research documents the construction of a dam in a village in southern Guinea-Bissau to protect rice farms from seawater flooding. In a struggle for increased access to land, the youth of the village formed an association to ensure the availability of labor and promote knowledge exchange. Inter-village expert knowledge of mangrove rice farming is disseminated through networks of reciprocity that exist alongside village, household, and age-based knowledge transmission. Farmers’ capacity to experiment with technological solutions and expand the connections in regional knowledge networks is crucial to ongoing adaptation. Multidimensional rural development strategies are of importance to respond to changing climatic and socio-cultural conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Knowledge
  • Technology
  • Climate change
  • Spring tides
  • Mangrove rice
  • Guinea-Bissau

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