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AATF, Senegal Partner On Improved Agricultural Productivity

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The executive director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Dr. Caninius Kanangire (sixth from right) and the director-general, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Dr. Momar Seck (seventh) during a group photograph at the opening of the roundtable in Dakar, Senegal. Photo credit: AATF

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (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 West African nation.

The partnership targets priority crops such as rice, maize, groundnuts and cassava which the government is working on to improve productivity amidst vulnerabilities of climate change.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a one-day, high-level roundtable in Dakar (July 7) on ‘Innovative and Economically Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Transformation’, the minister for agriculture and rural equipment, Dr. Moussa Baldé said Senegal is an agrarian nation with a substantial percentage of the population engaged in subsistence farming.

“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 the secretary to the ministry of agriculture and rural equipment, Mr. Papo Malik Ndao.

The minister was optimistic that the collaboration with AATF will bring valuable interventions capable of steering the country’s agricultural sector to the path to success.

In his remarks, the executive director, AATF, Dr. Canisius Kanangire said the AATF used a public-private model to support technology transfer to benefit farmers most sustainably and affordably. He hoped the AATF could 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.

Similarly, the director-general, ISRA, Dr. Momar Talla Seck, said agriculture, an important element of 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 hurts the supply of agricultural products and their increase on the international market, it is more than necessary to support local agricultural production.”

In a statement by AATF’s communication officer for West & Central Africa, Alex Abutu, Seck 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 hurt food security and our livelihoods, it is more than necessary to mobilize all our expertise for an appropriate response,” he said.

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