Abstract for: Horticultural production in the Niayes area, Senegal: A System dynamics analysis of the agriculture-water-labor nexus

Horticultural production in the Niayes area in Senegal has become an important pillar of the country’s agricultural and rural development strategy. However, many smallholders experience increasingly precarious working and living conditions. Our dynamic hypothesis is that farmers’ persisting low income and decreasing production is partly explainable by inefficient irrigation modes and high labor demand for manual irrigation under decreasing availability of water resources. 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. The long-term effectivity of these policies to improve farmers’ income and potential feedbacks on water resources and horticultural production have not been systematically analyzed so far. I will present a CLD explaining the persisting low income of horticultural farmers in the Niayes area in Senegal. In a later stage, this model will be used to design effective agroecological and water management policies and 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.