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Communication incl. Poster: BibTeX citation key:  Kouakou
Kouakou, M., Mahamoudou, I., Mahamodou, B., Bonkoungou, A., Severe, F., Cissé, S., Amaga, K. & Barbier, B. 2009. The impact of the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s on farmers’ livelihood in the Inner Delta of Niger, in Mali. Work presented at Third International AMMA Conference, July 20—24, at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Added by: roussot 2009-11-05 10:24:55
Categories: Society-Environment-Climate interactions
Keywords: Agriculture, Water - Energy - Resources
Creators: Amaga, Barbier, Bonkoungou, Cissé, Kouakou, Mahamodou, Mahamoudou, Severe
Publisher: African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
Collection: Third International AMMA Conference

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The inner delta of the Niger river in Mali is a vast wetland covering potentially 40 000 km² but its size has been reduced significantly by the droughts of the 1970s and the 1980s. This has caused considerable damage to local activities such as fisheries, animal and crop production. Also the environment has been dramatically heart. Though rainfall and streamflows have improved in the last two decades, the prospect for the wetland is bleak. The coming construction of new reservoirs and new irrigation schemes upstream of the delta will further reduce the flooded area. The consequences for the one million farmers, herders and fishers who live in the delta are unknown.
To estimate the impact of the diminishing stream flows on the delta’s population, we conducted a survey among 300 heads of households in 15 communities randomly selected. Also 60 women were interviewed. Questions were related to farmers’ perception of the hydrology of the delta and the climate, to their past and future adaptation strategies and to their opinion about external interventions. The answers were analyzed using a cluster analysis.
The results of this analysis show that farmers have clear perceptions of what has been going on and about what could be done to mitigate the impact of the predicted future water uptake upstream from the delta. The population has had serious difficulties to adapt to the past droughts as most rich pastures have been converted into rainfed cropland and pastures or irrigated riceland. Where farmers, fishermen and herders were using the resources in a relative harmony, violent conflicts have erupted. Lawmakers have tried to take into account the traditional legal system but the population tends to lose faith in the judicial system. Also the traditional system has been weakened by the various demographic changes and by the increasing use of cash in the traditional transactions. The cluster analysis shows how the interviewed farmers are diversifying their activities, less to take advantages of new markets than to reduce the impact of external shocks.
Added by: roussot