Dynamics of agricultural land and the risk to food insecurity in the Niayes region of Diamniadio, West Senegal
Sane, Mamadou B.
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Food security is a serious challenge facing West African countries because most croplands are being degraded. Consequently, agricultural production is being exceeded by rapid population growth. This study relates the dynamics of agricultural lands to the level of capacity building for resilience in response to low productivity and hence to food insecurity in the Niayes region, Senegal, where lands are presumably suitable for crop production. Factors influencing changes in surface areas, soil quality and level of resilience were examined using quantitative and qualitative research methods. Findings showed strong relationships between a significant decrease (65.25% – 35.54%) in productive agricultural lands with a range of soil physical and chemical properties (clay to loamy soil texture; soil pH: 7.0–8.0; soil organic carbon [SOC]: 5.0 g kg-1 – 25.0 g kg-1; effective cations exchangeable capacity [ECEC]: 4.5 Cmol kg-1 – 39.0 Cmol kg-1; cation exchange capacity [CEC]: 8.0 Cmol kg-1 – 34.0 Cmol kg-1) and food insecurity levels. In the last 5 years, urbanisation and industrialisation processes have reduced the farmlands by about 26.51% through uncontrolled construction of buildings and companies, leading to a disappearance of lands. Such dynamics raises the issue of a risk to food security in a region that usually provides more than 70% of fruits and vegetables demand for consumption. These results underline a need for a greater understanding of resilience for a better management design with a risk prevention plan to ensure food security.