The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), AATF and the government of Senegal, through the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) and Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle des Semences du Sénégal (UNIS), have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at improving agricultural productivity in the country.
The AATF is an international not-for-profit organisation that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities.
The partnership targets priority crops such as rice, maize, groundnuts, and cassava.
In a media release issued on July 7, 2022, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Dr Moussa Baldé, said Senegal was an agrarian nation with a substantial percentage of the population engaged in subsistence farming.
Yet he said, it was a net food importer because the production of food crops did not meet its 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,” he said.
He was hopeful that the collaboration with AATF will bring valuable interventions capable of steering the country's agricultural sector to the pathway to success.
The Executive Director, AATF, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said AATF used a public-private model to support technology transfer to benefit farmers in the most sustainable and affordable manner.
“At AATF, we have managed 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. For his part, the Director General, ISRA, Dr Momar Talla Seck, 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 said.
He said the objective of the partnership was 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.