Through the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) and Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle des Semences du Sénégal (UNIS), the Government of Senegal and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) have partnered to increase agricultural productivity in the West African country.
The cooperation focuses on high-priority crops like rice, maize, groundnuts, and cassava that the government is working to develop in order to increase productivity despite climate change risks.
“Senegal is a net food importer. The production of food crops does not meet Senegal’s needs. The production of major staple food crops covers barely 30 per cent of consumption needs. The country imports almost 70 per cent of its food and people go hungry even though 60 per cent of the workforce is engaged in food crop production. Yet only 65 per cent of Senegal’s 3.8 million hectares of arable land is farmed,” said the Minister who was represented by Mr Ndao, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment.
The Minister is optimistic that the collaboration with AATF will bring valuable interventions capable of steering the country’s agricultural sector to the pathway to success.
Dr Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director, AATF said that AATF used a public-private model to support technology transfer to benefit farmers in the most sustainable and affordable manner. He was hopeful AATF can do the same in Senegal through the partnership with the Government.
“At AATF, we have managed the development and release of a variety of technologies that address challenges impacting smallholder farmer productivity. It is my sincere hope that with appropriate information and deployment, farmers in Senegal will benefit from such technology,’ he added.
Dr Momar Talla Seck, Director General ISRA said agriculture, an important element for economic development, remained one of the sectors most affected by the effects of climate change. “Faced with this reality exacerbated by the global security and health situation, which has a negative impact on the supply of agricultural products and their increase on the international market, it is more than necessary to support local agricultural production.”.
He commended the partnership that brought the various sector players together saying the objective of the partnership is to improve the performance of important value chains in Senegal, based on the generation and dissemination of agricultural knowledge and technologies, as well as the strengthening of the capacities of the actors and their organisation.
“Indeed, in the face of the many challenges that threaten the development objectives of our States and have a negative impact on food security and our livelihoods, it is more than necessary to mobilise all our expertise for an appropriate response,” he said.