DAKAR — Despite being a relatively stable and democratic country, Senegal remains as one of the world’s least developed nations. Although it has one of the most stable economies in West Africa, it also has some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates. The nation struggles with a multitude of health and nutritional issues, with hunger in Senegal being a prominent one especially in the summer months when crops are scarce.
In order to understand how to help Senegal’s situation, it is necessary to understand the facts. Here are five facts about Hunger in Senegal:
- Following the devastating droughts in the 1980s, along with the expansion of Dakar leading to the expropriation of much farmland, Senegal’s agricultural sector was in crisis. Many farmers made the switch to the fishing sector. This, coupled with the signing of the fisheries agreements with the European Union, has put major stress on domestic markets.
- In West Africa alone, more than three million people depend on the fisheries sector. This includes 600,000 people in Senegal, more than 20 percent of the total population. As a result of the agreements with the European Union, along with European boats fishing in Senegalese waters, 60 percent of all the fish caught along the Senegalese coast is destined for Europe. This has caused an influx of overfishing in this region and has caused a scarcity of available food for Senegalese people.
- Low crop yields in 2011 led to a malnutrition emergency in 2012. Action Against Hunger responded with programmes treating 85,000 malnourished people in Senegal during this crisis. Since then, the hunger crisis has become less critical but it still needs attention.
- Hapsatou Kah, a Senegalese woman, is one of 400 participants in a U.S. government-backed project to support health and nutrition education programmes, as well as nutrition-focused agricultural technique training programmes. Providing proper nutrition for livestock and encouraging farmers to grow crops such as vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes.
- Senegal faces persistently high poverty rates of 46.7 percent and food insecurity affects more than 50 percent of people across the country.
The effort to reduce the amount of hunger in Senegal depends not only on material aid in forms of food or money, but also in practice and strategy. In order to help Senegal feed its people and maintain a stable economy, it is important to provide training and strategies to help the struggling sectors of their society, such as agriculture and fisheries.
– Tucker Hallowell