| ||Every year, tens of thousands of acres in the Niger’s Inner Delta are flooded during the wet season. As the water level shifts, a succession of cattle breeders, fishermen, and farmers respectively travel over the same land by foot, pirogue, and cart. The area is used to grow red rice, a traditional form of floating rice native to this part of Mali, but also millet, sorghum, and corn. One million people live in the delta, which in this Sahelian region struck by frequent droughts, seems a land of plenty. But in a country struggling for alimentary self-sufficiency, and in which 80 percent of the population subsists on farming, the temptation is strong to develop the delta as an area of intensive cultivation of rice and export crops to the detriment of other food production and natural environments.
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