Causes of Crop Failure and Famine in the Sahel Region
The Sahel region, a belt of semi-arid lands extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, is prone to frequent crop failure and famine due to a combination of factors. Poor and unpredictable rainfall is a major contributor to crop failure in the Sahel. According to the 2019 Sahel Outlook report by the Food and Agriculture Organization, “Rainfall in the Sahel has been unpredictable over the past several decades, with many years of drought alternating with years of flooding” (FAO, 2019, pg. 2). This irregularity in rainfall makes it difficult for farmers in the region to plan or prepare for their farming activities. A second factor contributing to crop failure and famine in the Sahel is soil degradation. The FAO report explains, “Soil degradation is a major concern in the Sahel. Poor soil management, overgrazing, and deforestation have contributed to the region’s soil degradation” (FAO, 2019, pg. 3). Soil degradation reduces the amount of productive land available for growing crops and also reduces the amount of moisture and nutrients available to the plants. Cont…
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