Thursday, August 23, 2012

Agriculture in Senegal

Most of Senegal lies within the drought-prone Sahel region, with irregular rainfall and generally poor soils. With only about 5 percent of the land irrigated, Senegal continues to rely on rain-fed agriculture, which occupies about 75 percent of the workforce. Despite a relatively wide variety of agricultural production, the majority of farmers produce for subsistence needs. Production is subject to drought and threats of pests such as locusts, birds, fruit flies, and white flies. Millet, rice, corn, and sorghum are the primary food crops grown in Senegal. Senegal is a net food importer, particularly for rice, which represents almost 75 percent of cereal imports. Peanuts, sugarcane, and cotton are important cash crops, and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are grown for local and export markets. In 2006 gum arabic exports soared to $280 million, making it by far the leading agricultural export. Green beans, industrial tomato, cherry tomato, melon, and mango are Senegal's main vegetable cash crops. The Casamance region, isolated from the rest of Senegal by Gambia, is an important agriculture producing area, but without the infrastructure or transportation links to improve its capacity.
Despite the lack of modernization of artisanal fishing, the fishing sector remains Senegal's main economic resource and major foreign exchange earner. The livestock and poultry sectors are relatively underdeveloped and have potential for modernization, development and growth. Senegal imports most of its milk and dairy products. The sector is inhibited due to low output and limited investments. The potential production of fauna and forest products is high and diversified and could, if well organized, benefit poor farmers in rural areas. Although the agricultural sector was impacted by a locust invasion in 2004, it has recovered and gross agricultural production is expected to increase by 6 percent in 2006 and 5 percent in 2007.