Agriculture practices and Environmental impacts: lessons from surveys and public health preservation in Senegal

by Mountaga Dia, Senegal, ELP 2014
Written on July 22, 2014.

Among major public health challenges, facing environmental issues will be a serious concern in Senegal. Late perception of risks due to weak partnership between health practitioners and environmental sector stakeholders has led to the absence of primary conversations. Findings of a multiregional survey focused on the use of pesticides in agriculture in six West African countries confirmed the necessity of preventive interventions.

Farmers and occasional agriculture practitioners have very low understanding or misunderstanding of the use of pesticides; this generates dangerous practices in terms of respect of delay between last application and harvest and spread of pesticides in water sources and environment.

The high burden of potential generated disease has become a big concern in terms of public health, with a lack of follow up of final destination of potential environmental contaminants.

Improving the common public and authorities’ perception of the dangers and necessity of prevention interventions are ways of urgent and efficient response.

Skilled counselors are also useful for accompanying farmers to resort to pesticides less. Public societies in charge of farmer supervision are waiting to develop a holistic approach of prevention instead of looking for solutions after damages.

Prospective vision and better learning and use of previous experiences would allow more efficient programs of prevention of dangerous practices exposing farmers and their families to long-term poisoning.

Training political leaders and decision makers should help for implementation of collaborative process to tackle dispersal of complementary actors. In fact several institutions dealing with environmental issues would make a difference when they work closely and share knowledge.

Lessons from results of investigation on quality of international waters (Senegal and Niger Rivers) should be the beginning of cooperation at the regional level.

Involvement of communities in the process of data collection and analysis helped for better sharing of results. These communities are waiting for preventive programs for reduction of water born diseases and pollution.

Environmental education is a way to improve citizen commitment for environment preservation. People in scholar settings (primary schools teachers and pupils) and other community components. i.e. women and farmers’ associations, seem to be first level partners and so an approach to reach them needs to be developed.

University of Bambey, through the department of Sustainable Development should indicate a way of collaboration to authorities, several other stakeholders i.e. CSE, ISRA of Bambey, ISFAR, University of Saint Louis and SAED.

Kind of College of Natural Resources appears as pertinent response to that challenge and would combine the advantages of a better use of low financial resource availability.