Monday, November 9, 2009

Free fall-but where to?

"The production of groundnuts, Senegal's third-largest export product after fishing and phosphates, is in freefall. The 2008 harvest fell by over 47 percent, according to the most recent report of the groundnut producers' association, the Cadre de concertation des producteurs des arachides.

According to the report, groundnut prices are increasingly tight in Europe, its main market. Drought and soil degradation – too severe to be corrected by applying fertiliser - are the root causes of Senegal's agricultural difficulties.

Samba Ka, regional head of the National Council for Dialogue and Cooperation of Rural People, says if the countryside is plagued by problems, the fault lies with farmers who expect government assistance for everything. "

"Farmers in Senegal have failed to instill a love of the land and an appreciation of livestock in their children. The earth is not tilled, it is scratched at. Livestock is no longer looked after, it is merely used," he explains to IPS

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