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Senegal Agriculture and Fishing Overview
More than two-thirds of Senegal's population feed on agriculture and fishing. Agriculture is mainly conducted on a small scale with simple methods. Most grow for both self-catering and sales. Peanuts dominate as commercial crop, but fish is now Senegal's most important export commodity.
Many small farmers often switch crops as needed and weather conditions. Peanuts take up almost half of the cultivated area and account for a large part of employment. Senegal is one of the world's leading peanut growers. The size of the harvesters varies greatly depending on how much it rains and at what price the peanuts depend. Most of the nuts are purchased by a company that produces peanut oil and was state-owned until 2005. The government is trying to reduce its dependence on peanuts through investments in other export crops, such as cotton, rice, fruit and vegetables. Experiments are also underway with castor plants, sunflowers and purger bushes to produce biofuels.
The most important food crops are millet, sorghum, corn and rice. Even those harvests alternate with the uneven rainfall, and sometimes grasshopper attacks pose major problems. Investments have been made on increased irrigation and use of pesticides, but it has not yet had a major impact. Instead, one problem is the gradual widespread desertification in large areas. The basic food must largely be imported. The lack of water is the main obstacle to the country becoming self-sufficient in food.
Large-scale cultivations, mainly sugar cane and rice, are found on the Senegal River in the north. Large vegetable crops have become increasingly common, mainly around Dakar and north. There are also some mid-sized peanut producers.
Livestock has traditionally played an important role and livestock farming largely covers domestic demand for meat.
Fish is now the most important export commodity. The extremely fishy waters off the coast are estimated to employ over half a million people, including the processing industry. Fishing from larger boats provides most of the export revenue, mainly through the sale of fish preserves to the EU. However, traditional fishing from canoe-like boats, pierogues, accounts for a larger part of the catch and provides the domestic market and neighboring countries with dried and smoked fish.
Sales of fishing licenses to EU countries provide important income, but Senegal has problems with other countries' fishing fleets attracting too much fish. Pure poaching is common and the waters are threatened by fishing. Investments are made on fish farming to compensate for the loss.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
16.6 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
46.1 percent (2016)
Israel stops support for Senegal
Senegal's support for a UN resolution demanding that Israel immediately cease building settlements on occupied land will have immediate consequences as Israel calls its Senegal ambassador and stops all aid projects in the country. Senegal is one of the ten non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017. (25/12)
The President's brother leaves the post of corruption charge
Aliou Sall, President Macky Sall's younger brother, is retiring in the middle of the month as chief executive of the oil company Timis following allegations of corruption. The opposition questions the appropriateness of having a member of the president's family sit on the leadership of a company co-owned with the state. Aliou Sall says that the only reason he is leaving is that he wants to make things easier for the president. Together with the oil company, he sues former prime minister Abdoul Mbaye and several reporters for slander. A few days later, opposition supporters, who demand greater transparency in how the government manages the country's natural resources, meet with police in Dakar. (14/10)
Habré is ordered to pay damages
The African Union's special court in Dakar judges Hissène Habré to pay damages of up to almost SEK 300,000 to anyone who was subjected to rape, arbitrary arrest or imprisonment under his regime. The total sum may amount to hundreds of millions of kronor. He has previously been sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity (see May 2016).
Ex-president's son released
Karim Wade, who in 2015 was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption (see August 2015), is pardoned by President Sall. (24/6)
Habré appeals against the judgment
Habré appeals against the judgment (see May 2016). But a new trial is expected only in 2017. The process is expected to take seven months, but first new judges will be appointed. Before that, the Senegalese court will decide on the compensation to be paid to the victims of the Habré regime's violence. (11/5)
Life imprisonment for Habré
The trial of Chad's former dictator Hissène Habré ends and Habré is sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Habré is found guilty of the death of 40,000 people during his reign from 1982 to 1990. The Senegal Court acts on behalf of the African Union. This is the first time an African leader has been brought to justice in such a process. Habré has 15 days to appeal the verdict. (30/5)
Border block is lifted.
The border crossings between Senegal and Gambia are reopened after a three-month blockade. The stalemate is lifted after negotiations between the two countries' governments. New talks on the border conflict are scheduled for July. (25/5)
Defense agreement with the United States
The agreement applies, among other things, to cooperation on terrorist threats or in the event of a natural disaster in West Africa. See also Foreign Policy and Defense). (2/5)
Yes to a short term for the President
In a referendum on March 20, 63 percent of voters said yes to shortening the president's term of office from seven years to five years, beginning with the 2019 election. 37 percent of voters rejected the proposal. Voter turnout is low, with only 40 percent of voters taking part in the referendum, which is seen by many Senegalese as a measure of the Sall government's popularity. (23/3)
The Constitutional Court says no
The country's highest court rejects President Sall's plans to cut his own term of office by two years if his draft constitutional amendments are approved in the referendum scheduled for March 20. (17/2)
Truck blockage creates shortage of goods
The Gambia's decision to raise the fees for trucks that cross the Senegal border with 100 percent raises protests. Several truck drivers position their cars to block the border crossing, thus obstructing all commercial traffic. They also object to the border crossing being closed from seven in the evening to seven in the morning. Commodity shortages occur on both sides of the border. Similar blockades have occurred in the past. Plans have been in place for many years to build a bridge across the Gambia River to facilitate transport.
Hotels are urged to tighten security
Hotels are also requested to sharpen the security of their facilities.
Mass arrests in Dakar and Thiès
After terrorist attacks against hotels in Mali and Burkina Faso, the authorities seize and interrogate over 900 people on January 23-24. The arrests are said to be made for security reasons, but are not reported to be terror-related.