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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan
Richard Lalou
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
et al.


Benjamin Sultan, Richard Lalou, Amadou Oumarou, Mouftaou Amadou Sanni et Mame Arame Soumaré

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A close link between climate and agricultural production

The population of the Sahel is mainly rural and particularly concerned by climate variability as this affects food, water and financial resources and has a direct impact on public health. The economy and food security are closely dependent on rainfed farming—used on 93% of the cultivated land. The African farming sector employs 70% of total labour (FAO 2003), generates 15 to 20% of the GDP and produces 80% of the cereals consumed in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to this dependence, rapid population growth and limited access to technological adaptations (mechanisation, fertilizers, irrigation) are factors that aggravate the socioeconomic effect of the climate (UNDP, 2004). This vulnerability to climate increased at the end of the 20th century as a result of a nearly 30% decrease in precipitation in the Sahel over a period of 40 years (Brown and Crawford, 2008) while the population doubled. The more marked famines since the 197...


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