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Producers increase agricultural yields in southern Senegal thanks to the African Development Bank

In the Boukitingho Valley, in Lower Casamance in southern Senegal, Hilaire Tokyo Diatta recalls the bitter memory of the ever-increasing intrusion of salt onto the land. “Every year, households lost plots of land to the salt. Rice plots were particularly affected,” he says.

“Since we’ve had the benefit of the anti-salt dam, we have renewed our motivation to develop rice farming,” continued Hilaire. “Much of the land has been reclaimed and the Boukitingho Valley is completely protected from salt intrusion. The area under cultivation is increasing year on year, as are yields.”

This anti-salt intrusion dam was built with funds from the Programme to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in Rural Senegal (P2RS). Approved in 2015 by the Bank’s Directors, P2RS was provided with $34.13 million in funding by the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group.

“In 2020, the valley achieved record production of foodstuffs, which helped to strengthen the food security of those living in the region,” added Hilaire. “And with the dam, fish stocks are increasing again, improving household incomes.”

In his role running the Feddande mini-dairy in Kolda region, Seydou Baldé has been processing cow’s milk for 20 years. For a long time, his profits were low, due to exorbitant production costs: electricity shortages, the high price of bottled gas for his manual pasteurizer, a lack of transport for the collection and sale of milk, and more.

In recent years, things have changed dramatically thanks to funding which allowed him to invest in a solar pasteurizer and cooler. “In 2017, we managed to pasteurize 200 litres of milk per month. Now, our processing capacity is around 100 litres of milk an hour.

“We would never have expected to achieve a daily turnover of 125,000 CFA francs ($227); we used to manage 60,000 francs a day,” said Seydou. “Now, we employ young people and family members, and the milk that we process is of better quality.”

In this region of southern Senegal, Hilaire and Seydou are among the beneficiaries of P2RS, which has been rolled out in six communes: Fatick, Kolda, Tambacounda, Kédougou, Matam, and Ziguinchor, with a strong impact on their populations’ quality of life.

In addition to the water-retention and anti-salt infrastructure works, the developments in the various valleys have made 6,000 hectares of arable land available for use, increasing productive capacity and opportunities for diversification through market gardening. Rice production is more secure and the quantities produced are enough to ensure local people’s self-sufficiency and in some cases generate marketable surpluses.

Market gardens and agricultural farms also provide opportunities to work all year round, generating additional resources and improving the nutritional quality of food products.

The programme’s positive effects can be seen in the combined annual production of 104,000 tonnes of cereals and 44,500 tonnes of vegetable products. The annual average income from agricultural activities is estimated at 332,856 CFA francs ($533.80) – a 37% increase on the baseline reference.

This has had a powerful impact on children’s welfare as families are able to invest in other activities. Finally, the small ruminants and poultry provided to the most-vulnerable families have been used to generate regular incomes. Just two years after implementation of this programme, several beneficiaries had acquired livestock or had made new investments (purchasing horses, oxen or agricultural equipment).

“The P2SR programme has made a big improvement to our lives,” said Salimatou Sakho, chair of the of women processors’ economic interest group in Gandé, in the département of Bakel, in Tambacounda region. The programme has allowed us to build our processing premises and modernize our equipment, and we have a specialist on hand to help us with our business management.

“Thanks to these improvements, we have diversified our products and improved their quality. We have obtained permission to sell them everywhere. The P2RS project has produced concrete results and given us many ambitions,” she concluded.
Source African Development Bank Group

Maravi Post Reporter
Maravi Post Reporterhttps://www.maravipost.com/
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