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Global Ideas

Saving the soil in Senegal's peanut basin

Senegal's soil is paying the price for years of peanut monoculture. Unsustainable farming practices have left large tracts of land barren. But some organizations are trying to turn the tide.

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Since French colonialists introduced huge peanut plantations to Senegal in the 19th century, the West African country has become one of the world's largest producers of the legume. Around half of Senegal's cultivated land is dedicated to the peanut. But over 100 years of monoculture has wreaked havoc on the soil, leading to erosion and a lack of vital nutrients. Many large tracts of arable land are now barren. A number of farming organizations are working to improve the soil for peanut cultivation, as well as for other crops, and to help small farmers secure their livelihoods.

A film by Mabel Gundlach

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