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About the Niakhar area

History

The Niakhar study area, situated in the heart of the Old Groundnut Basin of the Fatick region in Senegal, is covered by the Health & Population Surveillance System of Niakhar, with over 30 years of demographic and environmental surveys. From the 1960s this agro-silvo-pastoral Sereer system was impacted by changes in the climate, population growth, public policy, etc., this emphasised tensions around biomass management (crop residues, manure) and led to transformations in fallow land, parklands and soil fertility.

The Health & Population Surveillance System follows and routinely records vital events such as migrations, marital changes, pregnancies, and immunisations in 30 villages. The database also includes epidemiological, economic and environmental information coming from specific surveys. Household characteristics (living conditions, domestic equipment, etc.) were collected in 1998 and 2003, and community equipment (schools, boreholes, etc.) in 2003. Economic data were updated in 2013. Different agricultural projects have also taken place in this area since 2013, with the typology of farming systems and evaluation of production and development strategies.

About the area

This region has a warm semi-arid climate. The soils are sandy and extremely poor in organic matter and nutrients. Livestock and manure management largely contribute to creating strong gradients of decreasing soil fertility with increasing distance from the village homesteads. The main crops are millet, groundnut, and cowpea. Acacia parklands and crop-livestock integration are key components of soil fertility management and animal feeding.

Annual rainfall: 500 mm/year

Population density: 100 people/km²

Main ethnic groups: Sérère, then Toucouleurs, Wollof

Study site approximate area: 230 km2

Agricultural land: 77%

Livestock density: 41 TLU/km²

Experiment

  • Faidherbia albida parklands and crop livestock integration are key components of soil fertility management and animal feeding