La amarga cosecha de África

Souley Madi es uno de los más productivos cultivadores de algodón en Badjengo Camerún, una zona en la que los exuberantes bosques del África central dan paso al semiárido Sahel. Gracias a una combinación de calor intenso y lluvias sahelianas periódicas, Madi produce siempre un algodón limpio y de primera calidad en las suaves colinas que rodean su complejo agrícola cercado.

Pero, cuando se acerca la próxima estación de cultivo, Madi, que cuenta 40 años de edad, afronta una decisión difícil: ¿cuánto algodón debe cultivar este año? Los precios del algodón fueron tan bajos el año pasado, que Madi redujo su superficie cultivada. El año pasado ganó menos con el algodón que el año anterior y mucho menos que hace cinco años. "Estoy furioso, pero, ¿qué puedo hacer?", pregunta.

Este año, puede que Madi cultive menos algodón, pese a que ese cultivo es la principal fuente de ingresos para él, sus dos esposas y sus cinco hijos. En una parte de su tierra, ahora cultiva maíz y cacahuetes, en lugar de algodón.

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