Does Diversification Lead to Livelihood Security in Fishing-Farming Communities? Insight from the Senegal River Delta

  • Aby L. Sène-HarperEmail author
  • Samba M. E. Camara
  • David Matarrita-Cascante


Livelihood diversification is often regarded as a mechanism to reduce poverty, making rural communities more resilient to resource fluctuations. However, despite engaging in diversification, many rural households continue to grapple with poverty and vulnerability. We explore the extent to which livelihood diversification reduces vulnerability of resource-dependent livelihoods and the factors shaping these outcomes. We specifically examine fishing households also engaged in farming as a supplementary income-generating activity in three communities in the Senegal River Delta. We apply a framework built on the concepts associated with livelihood security (i.e., income, asset, food, and nutritional security). We address the question of how and why engaging in farming as a livelihood diversification strategy enhances the livelihood security of some fishing households but not others. Overall, we found that commercial horticulture (irrigated) rather than rain-fed agriculture was more effective at reducing household seasonal vulnerability to food and income insecurity, in addition to improving nutritional security at the community level. Furthermore, households that collected high farm revenues were able to build their productive assets by purchasing fishing gears and livestock. Underlying factors shaping these outcomes included risk, crop diversity, household debt accrued, livestock holdings, and technical knowledge.


Fishing Farming Livelihood security Vulnerability Senegal River Delta 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aby L. Sène-Harper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samba M. E. Camara
    • 2
  • David Matarrita-Cascante
    • 3
  1. 1.Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, College of Behavioral, Social and Health ScienceClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Ministère de Environnement et du Développement DurableDakarSénégal
  3. 3.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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