The Cape Verde Islands have suffered periodic drought since their occupation in the 15th century. On Santiago, the largest agricultural island, farmers have developed two alternative adaptive strategies to survive in a stressful environment. One such strategy involves the employment of modern technology, primarily in the form of irrigation. This response to drought leads to commercial farms responsive to market and price signals. The second strategy is a subsistence rainfed farm system that relies heavily on the "sharing of scarcity." Social institutions assure that the maximum number of farmers have access to both land and labor, the critical (and scarce) resources in agriculture. Also, agricultural output from the rainfed farm is shared among households in the community. In contrast to the more modern irrigated farm, the subsistence system has little need for purchased inputs, and little output enters the market. This paper relates these distinct strategies to Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSRE) in two ways. First, these farm systems represent different recommendation domains in that the irrigated farm is oriented toward individual entrepreneurship, while the rainfed farm is closely integrated into a community structure and has access to community resources. Second, the paper asks if these differences in adaptive response to arid environment constitute generalized categories that apply to most farm systems in arid regions.

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