The river Senegal forms the boundary between Mauritania and Senegal, which are west African countries bordering the Atlantic coast. In this area, annual rainfall is about 400 mm or less. However, most of the northern areas are in a desert. Therefore, because of the river, there was a need to establish irrigation schemes to increase food production. The major schemes are the Richard toll scheme and the delta scheme. The major crops grown are maize, tomatoes, sorghum, sweet potatoes, sugar canes, millet, rice, cucumbers, and beans.
The following are conditions favouring irrigation farming in Senegal:
- The area is semi-arid and it receives low and unreliable rainfall necessitating irrigation farming
- supportive government policy towards irrigation farming by giving tax reductions and encouraging farm research.
- Presence of modern transport network by railway, road, air, for easy marketing and distribution of crops to market centres.
- Large sums of capital to invest in irrigation farming such as purchasing farm machinery, chemicals and fertilizers
- The presence of a large market for farm produce within the urban centers of Senegal and other countries like the Gambia, Mauritania among others
- Modern technology employed on farms such as the use of tractors for farming and construction of canals
- a large supply of skilled labour to work on the irrigation farms such as drivers, harvesters, and managers
- Availability of large sums of capital provided by the government to construct canals, pumping stations, and crop farms.
- The presence of fertile alluvial and silt soils deposited in the area due to annual flooding to support the growth of crops.
- The constant supply of water for irrigation from river Senegal and its tributaries like doue and taoue
- Low incidence of pests and diseases due to hot temperatures which supports the growth of crops.