Senegal's remote cannabis growers evade crackdown

Cannabis grows easily in Senegal's tropical climate, which makes it a tempting crop for impoverished farmers
AFP (France)
Friday, January 10, 2020

senegal cannabisMost Senegalese farmers sell peanuts and vegetables, but in one hamlet lost in a mangrove swamp in the country's south, only one crop is commercially viable -- cannabis. Kouba, a village deep in the mangroves of Casmance and inaccessible by road, teems with caiman crocodiles and rare birds. Locals say no police officer has set foot there since the 1980s, and a recent crackdown on cannabis cultivation has passed them by. "Ever since I was born, people have been cultivating cannabis," says Philippe Diaba. "If you don't grow cannabis here, you can't get by." Kouba villagers say the drug fetches between 15,000 and 30,000 CFA francs ($25-$50, 23-45 euros) a kilo -- compared with just 500 CFA francs for a kilo of onions. (West Africa needs to look at partially decriminalising drugs, says thinktank)