Conference PaperPDF Available

Development of horticultural production in the Niayes area, Senegal: A System dynamics analysis of the agriculture-water-labor nexus

Authors:
1
Development of horticultural production in the Niayes area, Senegal: A System dynamics
analysis of the agriculture-water-labor nexus
Sandra Volken, University of Bern
Patrick Bottazzi, University of Bern
Extended Abstract
Senegal is experiencing a difficult situation of relative food insecurity and high rural poverty, partly due to
low productivity of the agricultural sector (Diop, 2016; FAO, 2019). Since a few decades, horticultural
production has become an important pillar of Senegal’s agricultural and rural economic development
strategy (Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Equipement Rural, 2014). This is particularly true in the critical
Niayes area, northern Dakar, producing about 60-80 % of the national supply of fruits and vegetables and
being an important employer in the counter-season (Fare et al., 2017). However, many smallholder family
farms, which account for the majority of production types in the north of the region, experience
increasing labor burden and difficulties to meet their income threshold (Fare et al., 2017). This builds
the reference mode for our system dynamic analysis. Degradation of natural resources, particularly
groundwater for irrigation, plays a central role for farmer’s struggles (Ndao, 2012). Water accessibility has
become more difficult since drought periods in the 1970s-1980s. Since then, precipitation, which is the only
considerable mechanism of groundwater recharge, is decreasing while water withdrawal increases (Faye &
Msangi, 2018), due to urban sprawl as well as recently settled agribusinesses (Van den Broeck, Van
Hoyweghen, & Maertens, 2018). In recent years, the Senegalese government, civil society and international
organizations have initiated several (somewhat contradictive) policy strategies to support the horticultural
sector. These included projects to improve water access, subsidization of chemical inputs, and transition
initiatives to agroecology. Agroecology has the potential to improve water efficiency as well as degraded
soils and production without high costs (Wezel et al., 2014). However, these benefits rather occur in the
long-term compared to short-term productivity gains of chemical inputs. In addition, agroecological
practices are labor-demanding and might thus further increase farmers labor burden and costs (Dahlin &
Rusinamhodzi, 2019). Access to more efficient irrigation technology reduces this burden, but involve high
investment and fuel costs and bear the risk of long-term water overuse (Faye & Msangi, 2018). Thus, each
of these policy options have distinct influences on sustainable farm incomes and labor conditions as well
as horticultural production.
Our dynamic hypothesis is that decreasing production and income levels despite growing demand for
horticultural production is partly explained by high labor demand for manual irrigation and fuel
costs for irrigation with pumps (Figure 1). Reducing water levels increase labor demand for manual
irrigation and fuel costs for irrigation using motorized pumps. Higher fuel costs reduce farmers’ available
income and in turn their access to workforce and more efficient irrigation technology. High labor demand
and limited workforce reduce the area cultivated, production, and in turn available incomes to spend.
To explore this hypothesis, we design a system dynamics model that simulates incomes of horticultural
smallholders in the Niayes area. This model is explanatory as it helps us understand the complex feedback
structure underlying our reference mode. The model will help us also to design effective agroecological and
water management policies adapted to local circumstances to support sustainable farm incomes. We will
2
further use the model to explore short- and long-term trade-offs and synergistic effects between farmers
incomes and labor burden on the one hand, and water use and horticultural production on the other hand.
Thus, our study complements work on climate change impacts on irrigated agriculture and farmers
adaptation strategies (Faye & Msangi, 2018) and extensive research on the future of horticultural sector in
the Niayes (Camara, Bourgeois, & Jahel, 2019; Fare, 2018).
Figure 1: Main feedback-loops of the preliminary dynamic hypothesis
Policies we consider to test together with different scenarios of climate change are: (1) Proceeding
with subsidies of chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides); (2) Promotion of agroecological practices,
such as cover crops improving fertility and water storage capability; (3) Subvention of irrigation
technologies, with and without water management policies (e.g. costs). We will also investigate the
combination of policies.
This model is built on the basis of extensive fieldwork by the research team, available scientific and grey
literature on the area, and official national (e.g. ASDN) and international (World bank, FAOSTAT)
statistics. In order to validate our dynamic hypothesis with regard to the reference mode and the potential
policy impacts, additional fieldwork and stakeholder discussions will be conducted by the main author
(presumably in Spring 2021). Subsequently, we aim to build a quantitative model and simulate different
development scenarios for farmers incomes, labor conditions, production and water resources. At the
conference, I will present an updated and refined CLD including policy variables.
3
References
Camara, C., Bourgeois, R., & Jahel, C. (2019). Anticiper l’avenir des territoires agricoles en Afrique de
l’Ouest : le cas des Niayes au Sénégal. Cahiers Agricultures, 28. doi:10.1051/cagri/2019012
Dahlin, A. S., & Rusinamhodzi, L. (2019). Yield and labor relations of sustainable intensification options
for smallholder farmers in sub‐Saharan Africa. A meta‐analysis. Agronomy for Sustainable
Development, 39(3). doi:10.1007/s13593-019-0575-1
Fare, Y. (2018). Origine et transformation d'un système agraire au Sénégal - La zone des Niayes -.
(Docteur). l’Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l’environnement (AgroParisTech),
Faye, A., & Msangi, S. (2018). Rainfall variability and groundwater availability for irrigation in Sub-
Saharan Africa: evidence from the Niayes region of Senegal (92388). Retrieved from
Ndao, M. (2012). Dynamics and environmental management of Senegal wedlands from 1970 to 2010 :
land cover remote sensing analysis of Niayes Djiddah Thiaroye Kao (Dakar), Mboro (Thiès et
Saint-Louis). Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, Retrieved from https://tel.archives-
ouvertes.fr/tel-00718050 (2012TOU20018)
Van den Broeck, G., Van Hoyweghen, K., & Maertens, M. (2018). Horticultural exports and food security
in Senegal. Global Food Security, 17, 162-171. doi:10.1016/j.gfs.2017.12.002
Wezel, A., Casagrande, M., Celette, F., Vian, J. F., Ferrer, A., & Peigne, J. (2014). Agroecological practices
for sustainable agriculture. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 34(1), 1-20.
doi:10.1007/s13593-013-0180-7
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
En Afrique de l’Ouest, dans le contexte général de changement climatique et de mondialisation, la croissance démographique exerce une pression accrue sur les ressources naturelles par les changements d’affectation des sols qu’elle engendre. L’avenir des territoires agricoles, en particulier en périphérie des grandes villes, est alors questionné face à l’urbanisation croissante, la dégradation des ressources naturelles et les mutations socio-économiques. Afin d’anticiper les changements que pourraient connaître les territoires ruraux, une démarche de prospective territoriale a été réalisée sur la zone sud des Niayes, au Sénégal. Elle a permis aux experts locaux mobilisés à cet effet d’identifier les facteurs de changement et de co-élaborer des scénarios d’évolutions plausibles du territoire. Les réglementations, la gouvernance et la démographie sont les trois facteurs majeurs pouvant infléchir de l’affectation des sols dans le temps. Ces facteurs déterminent le type de partage de l’espace et d’utilisation des ressources naturelles, pouvant être harmonieux ou conflictuel. Une gouvernance inclusive, une société civile fortement structurée et la préservation des ressources naturelles sont apparues comme essentielles à l’atteinte de futurs harmonieux.
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable intensification of agricultural production is needed to ensure increased productivity relative to inputs. Short-term yield returns and labor input are major determinants of the fate of sustainable intensification options on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa because labor shortage is often acute, and most farmers lack access to labor-saving technologies. We assessed the relationship between maize grain yield change and labor input from a total of 28 published papers (631 data pairs) including subsets of data pairs within specific sustainable intensification practices. Among the reviewed technologies, manually dug planting basins showed ratios between the change in yield and change in labor inputs (ΔY/ΔL) below 1, suggesting that labor demand increased more than yield. In contrast, ridging showed average ΔY/ΔL values ≥ 2. No-till showed high ΔY/ΔL (average ≥ 1.7) when combined with herbicides but average ΔY/ΔL ≤ 1 (total labor) when manually weeded. Manually weeded rotations showed average ΔY/ΔL ≥ 1 and manually weeded intercropping systems average ΔY/ΔL around 1. The relations revealed four scenarios: high yield returns but low labor demand, high yield returns and labor demand, low yield returns and labor demand, and low yield returns but high labor demand. High yield with high labor demand requires mostly investments in machinery and/or herbicides to reduce labor input. Low yield with low labor demand requires improved crop management, whereas low yield with high labor demand requires a combination of improved crop management and investments to reduce labor. This is the first comprehensive assessment showing that the sustainable intensification options being considered for smallholder farmers may increase crop yield but also labor demand. Options that include mechanization and herbicides at low cost are likely to be adopted due to their reduction effect on drudgery and total labor input.
Article
Full-text available
Horticultural exports from developing countries are expanding. While concerns are rising about the consequences of this growth for local food security, there is no empirical evidence that directly measures this impact. We provide such evidence for Senegal, one of the African countries with a sharp growth in horticultural exports. Using secondary data and panel survey data, we analyse the link between horticultural exports and the availability, access, utilization and stability components of food security. Results suggest that horticultural exports contribute to the capacity to import food, and do not jeopardize availability of food at the macro-economic level. At the micro-economic level, we find that female wage employment in the horticultural export sector reduces the probability of self-reported food insecurity, improves the quality of food consumption, and shortens the hunger season.
Article
Full-text available
The forecasted 9.1 billion population in 2050 will require an increase in food production for an additional two billion people. There is thus an active debate on new farming practices that could produce more food in a sustainable way. Here, we list agroecological cropping practices in temperate areas. We classify practices according to efficiency, substitution, and redesign. We analyse their advantages and drawbacks with emphasis on diversification. We evaluate the potential use of the practices for future agriculture. Our major findings are: (1) we distinguish 15 categories of agroecological practices (7 practices involve increasing efficiency or substitution, and 8 practices need a redesign often based on diversification). (2) The following agroecological practices are so far poorly integrated in actual agriculture: biofertilisers; natural pesticides; crop choice and rotations; intercropping and relay intercropping; agroforestry with timber, fruit, or nut trees; allelopathic plants; direct seeding into living cover crops or mulch; and integration of semi-natural landscape elements at field and farm or their management at landscape scale. These agroecological practices have only a moderate potential to be broadly implemented in the next decade. (3) By contrast, the following practices are already well integrated: organic fertilisation, split fertilisation, reduced tillage, drip irrigation, biological pest control, and cultivar choice.
Origine et transformation d'un système agraire au Sénégal -La zone des Niayes -. (Docteur). l'Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l'environnement
  • Y Fare
Fare, Y. (2018). Origine et transformation d'un système agraire au Sénégal -La zone des Niayes -. (Docteur). l'Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l'environnement (AgroParisTech),
Dynamics and environmental management of Senegal wedlands from 1970 to 2010 : land cover remote sensing analysis of Niayes Djiddah Thiaroye Kao (Dakar)
  • A Faye
  • S Msangi
Faye, A., & Msangi, S. (2018). Rainfall variability and groundwater availability for irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from the Niayes region of Senegal (92388). Retrieved from Ndao, M. (2012). Dynamics and environmental management of Senegal wedlands from 1970 to 2010 : land cover remote sensing analysis of Niayes Djiddah Thiaroye Kao (Dakar), Mboro (Thiès et Saint-Louis). Université Toulouse le Mirail -Toulouse II, Retrieved from https://tel.archivesouvertes.fr/tel-00718050 (2012TOU20018)