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A woman filtering salt water from the Soungrougrou estuary through salt-rich crusts of dirt scrapped from defunct rice fields that have been sterilized by increasing salt levels in the soil and ground water. Rice cultivation is an ancient practice in Casamance and an integral part of the local culture and economy. In recent years climate change induced drought and rising sea levels have caused the saline content of soil to become too concentrated for agricultural purposes. Faced with the loss of their rice fields, women collect the salt rich top soil from their abandoned rice patties and filter salt water through the crusts to make a salt rich brine. The brine is transformed into solar salt through the process of evaporation. The commercialization of the solar salt generates revenue for the community and helps compensate families for the loss of their rice yields. The solar method of salt production is also sustainable as it reduces women's work load and protects local forests compared to traditional wood burning salt production. Diafar Douma, Casamance, Senegal. 20/04/2016.
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Photo © J.B. Russell/Panos
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Climate Change in West Africa
A woman filtering salt water from the Soungrougrou estuary through salt-rich crusts of dirt scrapped from defunct rice fields that have been sterilized by increasing salt levels in the soil and ground water. Rice cultivation is an ancient practice in Casamance and an integral part of the local culture and economy. In recent years climate change induced drought and rising sea levels have caused the saline content of soil to become too concentrated for agricultural purposes. Faced with the loss of their rice fields, women collect the salt rich top soil from their abandoned rice patties and filter salt water through the crusts to make a salt rich brine. The brine is transformed into solar salt through the process of evaporation. The commercialization of the solar salt generates revenue for the community and helps compensate families for the loss of their rice yields. The solar method of salt production is also sustainable as it reduces women's work load and protects local forests compared to traditional wood burning salt production. Diafar Douma, Casamance, Senegal. 20/04/2016.