To produce salt, women in Lower Casamance (southern Senegal) traditionally practice artisanal fire salt-farming (AFS) by heating a brine with a biofuel (mangrove wood). The thermal energy produced favors the evaporation of water, the saline concentration and the precipitation of crystallized salts. In recent years, artisanal solar salt-farming (ASS) has been introduced in the region using the thermal energy provided by the sun. The purpose of this paper is (i) to compare the two salt-farming techniques; (ii) to present the advantages and disadvantages of ASS in terms of impacts on the environment and the socio-economic activity of local populations. Six AFS villages (Marakissa, Diafar Duma, Diaghour, Souda, Boucotte and Cabrousse) were selected and female salt-farmers were trained at the ASS in Guinea-Bissau. In 2015 and 2016, salt production by ASS was sufficiently abundant for domestic needs to be met and salt excess trade to be possible in the local market. In conclusion, the ASS can advantageously replace the AFS for domestic use. The sale of solar salt locally or even regionally remains to be proven. A critical analysis of the ASS in terms of sustainability and a serious market study of the "salt" sector will be necessary to consider such a perspective.
Key words: Solar salt-farming, benefits, disadvantages, Lower Casamance, Senegal.
AFS, Artisanal fire salt-farming; ASS, artisanal solar salt-farming; Grdr, Migration-Citizenship-Development (Research and Realization Group for Rural Development in the Third World); RFRD, Regional Framework for Rural Dialogue (Conseil National de Concertation des Ruraux, CRCR, in French); CO2, Carbon dioxide; USI, Universal Salt Iodization; ID, iodine deficiency; IDD, Iodine deficiency disorders.
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