In Senegal, the hungry season has been shortened from six months to under a month thanks to the cultivation of local crops. Nearly 250,000 people have learned how to grow, eat and sell local foods, instead of consuming rice and other imported grains, in a project funded by UN organisation, IFAD.
The Agricultural Value Chains Support project is an initiative that helps farmers like Coumba Ndoffen Sene who used to struggle to feed his family and pay his children’s school fees. He is one of 9,000 farmers who received training in improved agricultural practices with the goal of producing higher yields and better-quality harvests.
“Before, we couldn’t even go to one ton of millet. Now we produce two or three tons per year,” Coumba Ndoffen Sene says in an IFAD article.
The results of the project have been astounding. Small producers have received higher incomes and sell more locally grown products, which makes the region less dependent on imports. It has also created 5,000 local job opportunities and the hungry season has been radically shortened.
Women are also part of the project. In addition to getting better access to land, they’re participating in the agricultural production and starting businesses. Hundreds of women have learned how to cook with the nutritious locally grown crops and restaurants in the project have changed their menus, offering only dishes made with local crops.
The project won a 2015 IFAD Gender Award, highlighting its best practices in women’s empowerment.
Facts about Senegal
Senegal in Africa remains one of the world’s least developed countries: it ranks 170th out of 188 on the Human Development Index. Food insecurity exceeds 50 percent and almost half the population lives in poverty.