Nations reports global warming is reducing rainfall and increasing temperatures
in most and the world's deserts. A 2006
report suggests the changes are hurting many who farm on desert fringes.
Africa, the effects are acute and making food scarce. Those living in farming regions along the Sahel desert have found
their arable land shrinking as desert sands encroach. Kari Barber has this report from the Senegal-Mauritania border
town of Podor about what desertification means to food production.
Senegal and Mauritania meet has long been a place where grains grew and cattle
grazed. But now, the people who live
here say food is becoming harder and harder to come by. The reason is the advancing desert.
Kane is one of the leaders of his village.
He delivers a bag of grains from a neighboring village to add to his
village's nearly empty pantry.
years in the past, we had enough food in here to last a year and the surplus we
would sell to make money,” Kane said. “Now we do not even have enough for
used for fishing and watering cattle are drying up. Patches of green land are few and far between.
Cows are a
staple food in the area, but now herders must drive their cattle for days to
find land they can graze. Crops have also suffered.
And for the
most part it is only older farmers, like Moussa Aliou Sow, who stay behind to
try to till this soil. "I am 67 years old,” Sow said. “All I know is
agriculture, there is nothing else I can do."
He says his
hands are tired of working land, which is producing less and less. There used
to be rice in these fields just a few years ago.
blame not only global warming, but also farming practices such as clearing
trees, over planting crops and diverting of waterways for irrigation for the desert's
residents say with a food crisis in the region, halting farming is not an