Knowledge and Adaptive Responses of Rice Farmers to Saline-water Intrusion on Swamp Rice-growing Fields in Lower River Region of the Gambia

M’koumfida Bagbohouna, Sidat Yaffa, Jean Miniakpo Sogbedji, Alagie Bah, Yawovi Sena Koglo



The authors address their profound gratitude to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) for providing the scholarship to the corresponding author (M.B) and their financial support in conducting this research.


Saline-water intrusion is a growing problem for sustaining agricultural productivity along River Gambia as results of sea-level rise. On this concern, the study attempts to examine farmers’ knowledge and adaptive responses to saline-water intrusion on the rice-growing areas of Lower River Region (LRR) of The Gambia. Five villages practicing swamp rice farming along River Gambia were randomly selected in each of four randomly selected districts across the Region. Data were collected via semi-structured interview questionnaire from 240 farmer household heads and through 20 focus group discussions. Descriptive statistics in SPSS Software Version 23 were, therefore, used to analyze the data obtained from the respondents. Results revealed that 96% of farmers are aware of saline-water intrusion in the region, while 77.5% believed that there is an increasing trend of salinity over the last five years, which impacts their yields. Most farmers (>85%) believed that saline-water intrusion reduced both their yields and incomes. In term of adaptive responses, the major on-farm strategies included changing the planting date (59.60%), increased use of fertilizers and seeds (56.30%), intensive manure application (55.20%), and use of early maturing varieties (35.50%). The major off-farm strategies employed included use of weather forecast (18.60%), change from crop production to animal rearing (7.70%) and to marketing of agricultural products (7.70%). Challenges faced by farmers in adapting to saline-water included among others poor access to adaptation information, low extension services and limited access to improved crop varieties. The study recommends to Government and stakeholders to establish mechanisms to strengthen and enhance the quality of saline-water intrusion adaptation and information dissemination in the study area using farmers’ preferred sources of information. Also, stakeholders and Government have to provide saline-tolerant rice cultivars to farmers and intensify the construction of soil and water conservation structures (anti-salt dikes and spillways) as well as training on livelihood diversification activities for farmers in the area.

Keywords: Adaptive Response, Climate change, Knowledge, River Gambia, Saline-water intrusion

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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