At a glance - agriculture in Senegal
Senegal supports a wide variety of agriculture and the sector employs the majority of the working population, most of whom are subsistence farmers. Consequently, the country is a major food importer. Farmers here face droughts and pests and often work with poor soil conditions. These factors all put Senegal’s main food crops – millet, rice, corn and sorghum – at risk, and can lead to rising food prices and social unrest. Groundnut and cotton are among the country’s main cash crops.
The government of Senegal, concerned about malnutrition and the sector’s over-reliance on sales of groundnut, for which yields are declining and prices volatile, has committed to the country becoming self-sufficient in food by 2017. It sees food and nutrition security as the main lever of economic and social development.
The National Agricultural Investment Program (NIPA) includes strategic objectives, which include improving water management, increasing production of key crops, adding value through processing of agricultural products, improving access to markets for producers, and supporting the application of new technology to the sector.
Value chain activities have been primarily concentrated on rice, given the government’s goal of food self-sufficiency and the need to establish a rice public-private partnership (PPP) in collaboration with Senegal’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Given that rice is a regional priority and the main constraints on development of the sector – competitiveness and rice quality – are shared by several countries, Grow Africa has been working across markets with the aim of coordinating the various national and regional efforts and ensuring the inclusion of the private sector.
In 2015, Grow Africa co-organized joint sector reviews in Senegal to discuss the progress and constraints the country faces in implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). This is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity.
A total of 35 companies (27 domestic and eight international) have signed letters of intent (LOIs) with a combined investment value of US$415 million in Senegal. The main sectors for intervention by LOI companies are rice, fruit and vegetables and other cereals, mainly maize millet.
International LOI companies include insurance provider Swiss Re and CCBM Groupe, which specialises in rice and livestock processing. Domestic contributors include the investor Locafrique, seed supplier AfricaGraines and Negodis, which works to mechanize agricultural production.
So far, US$152 million in LOI investment has been spent, creating 926 jobs and reaching almost 120,000 smallholders, predominantly through the supply of input products and services, financial or data services and through training. Commodities produced or procured as a result have been valued at $43 million.
In Senegal, the priority value chains are rice, fruit and vegetables and peanuts. These are the areas in which there is scope to have the biggest impact on smallholders and for Grow Africa to provide the best support by focusing investment and LOIs.
Rice remains the major value chain to focus on in Senegal. The government’s ambitious commitment to achieve self-sufficiency by 2017 will require solid private-public partnerships and cooperation at a regional level. Grow Africa has been supporting coordination at this level, and working in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), among others.
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