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A woman carrying salt-rich crusts of dirt scrapped from the surface of defunct rice fields that have been sterilized by increasing salt levels in the soil and ground water to the edge of the Soungrougrou River. 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 in many places to become too concentrated for agricultural purposes. Faced with the loss of their rice fields, women collect the salt rich top soil of their former rice patties and filter salt water from the river through the crusts to make a salt rich brine which 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 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 carrying salt-rich crusts of dirt scrapped from the surface of defunct rice fields that have been sterilized by increasing salt levels in the soil and ground water to the edge of the Soungrougrou River. 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 in many places to become too concentrated for agricultural purposes. Faced with the loss of their rice fields, women collect the salt rich top soil of their former rice patties and filter salt water from the river through the crusts to make a salt rich brine which 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 protects local forests compared to traditional wood burning salt production. Diafar Douma, Casamance, Senegal. 20/04/2016.