Senegal has significant land resources suitable for agriculture. Although it contributes only 16.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP), agriculture remains the main source of income for the majority of Senegalese. The agricultural sector employs three quarters of the workforce, and family farms represent 95% of agricultural activity. The main crops cultivated are groundnuts and cereals (peanuts, millet, sorghum, rice, cotton sugar cane, cassava, and niebe). Although small-scale agriculture is the dominant livelihood activity of most Senegalese, the country’s production falls far short of demand. Erratic rainfall, plant diseases, pest attacks, degradation of natural resources due to overexploitation of land, lack of infrastructure, lack of extension services available to farmers, as well as their weak asset base all constrain agricultural supply. In particular, desert locust infestations are a recurrent threat to Senegal and other parts of West Africa. Future climate change might increase the frequency of such infestations. Senegalese soils have been cultivated for decades using inappropriate mineral and organic fertilizers. As a consequence, fertility has worsened over time, soil mineralization is commonplace, and in many regions of the country, soils have lost valuable organic matter. If current warming trends continue, the performance of agriculture in Senegal will be further eroded as higher temperatures (combined with the expected decrease in rainfall) will aggravate the country’s water deficit. This will adversely affect both cultivated and natural vegetation growth and biomass production, which will lead to greater vulnerability and degradation. Coupled with the fact that local production cannot compete with regional and international markets, these considerations explain why Senegal imports approximately 60% of its national cereal requirements, delaying progress towards a market-oriented, diversified, and competitive agricultural sector. Furthermore, complex relations between central and traditional local authorities make access to land difficult and ultimately impede competitiveness. Climate change will also affect potential crop productivity due to the changing patterns of rainfall and temperature.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.