By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone – African Agricultural Technology Foundation(AATF) and the Administration of Senegal, through the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) and Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle des Semences du Sénégal (UNIS), have arrived into a strategic cooperation intended for at improving agrarian productivity in the West African state and in the West African sub-region.
The coalition gave preference to products such as rice, maize, groundnuts, and cassava that the administration was working on to enhance its productivity amidst susceptibility of climate transition.
In Dakar on the Innovative and Economically Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Transformation, Dr. Moussa Baldé -Minister for Agriculture and Rural Equipment, told Senegal was an agricultural country with a significant proportion of the nation committed in subsistence agribusiness.
“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% of its food and people go hungry even though 60% of the workforce is engaged in food crop production, yet only 65% of Senegal’s 3.8 million hectares of arable land is farmed,” he asserted.
Dr. Balde was positive that, the collaboration with AATF will give rise to useful interventions eligible of establishing the nation’s agrarian sector on the footpath of achievement and enable other growers in the sub-region.
Executive Director – Dr. Canisius Kanangire of the AATF, mumbled that AATF utilized a public-private criterion to aid technology transfer to help farmers in the most sustainable and affordable way. He was optimistic AATF could do same in Senegal through the alliance with the administration.
“At AATF, we have managed development and released variety of technologies s 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,” Dr. Kanangire expanded.
Dr. Momar Talla Seck, Director General, ISRA asserted agriculture is a crucial component for economic development, and prevailed as one of the sectors most affected by the effects of climate change.