West Africa Farming Systems and its Natural Resources Utilization.3 min read


West Africa which lies closely to the Atlantic has unique raining seasons which split the ecological bands of the region into the Sahel which borders the deserts, savanna grasslands and the rain forest which gives rise to the mangrove swamps within the coastal region.
As we move from the north to south of West Africa there is an abrupt decline in the amount of annual rainfall. Grains like guinea corn and millet are planted and harvested much easier in the north as they need just a little amount of rainfall to grow and ripe. Staple crop like rice which needs much water to thrive is favored to grow in the southern regions which are characterized by heavy down pour year round. Other cash crops like yam, cassava and maize also thrives in the eastern region which experience a double peak rainfall period. Typically, farmers in most of the West African countries have been able to inventively manage the complex ecological terrain by employing the inter-cropping farming system to obtain significant consistent yields in view of the uncertain climatic conditions and little or no availability of the required labor.

Farming activities widely varies from the mainly male farming regions of Niger where most of the exhaustive labor is done by men to the primarily female farming regions of Cameroon where the women are responsible for the intermittent labour that follows. However, majority of these regions lies basically between these two extremes.  The coastal lines of most West African countries are beehives of fishing activities because of the vast surrounding water bodies. The major source of livelihood for most people residing within this region is fishing while the sea food generates the much needed income for the families up keeps. Some of the largest sea ports found in West Africa include Apapa port in Lagos Nigeria, Abijan port in Ivory Coast, Takoradi port in Ghana, Dakar port in Senegal, Lome port in Togo and Cotonou port in Benin.
Farmers in West Africa (Tribute: The Herald Nigeria)
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West Africa is also home to hundreds of natural resources. Some of these natural resources include ivory, timber, crude oil and rubber. Ivory, timber and rubber are major natural export that brings huge revenue to countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana while crude oil is a major foreign exchange earner for country like Nigeria.  Cash crops like groundnuts, palm oil and Cocoa are also top source of revenue for most West African countries.

Pastoral farming and raring of livestock for commercial purpose is predominantly practiced in the north. Countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Gambia, and Nigeria have played a crucial role in livestock production. Livestock products like meat, leather and skin are among some of the top foreign exchange commodities.

Do you know? That shifting cultivation was used as the first farming system to replace early gathering and hunting by the people of West Africa? Today, the farming system in West Africa varies and has no generalized classification accepted by the region? However, for simplicity sake the farming system in this region are classified into the traditional and the modern farming systems. The pastoral farming and nomadic herding are examples of farming systems that falls under the traditional type while terrace and intensive farming system are examples of modern type. 


  1. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys travelling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Ethiopia? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Ethiopia in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog http://www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. Dear Emilio,
    Thank You for visiting my blog. On your request. I really dont think i can do that at this moment as i have huge projects to implement at the moment in Ethiopia. I will however be much freer by October. I am pretty sure by then i will have the time to send you a mail with the Ethiopian Stamp.
    Cheers and Keep in touch!

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