This year, Senegal recorded record yields in its food sector. The joint publications of the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the World Food Program, FAO and the Senegalese Government are the testament to this. Most of the figures for agricultural production are in the green.
Cereal production is estimated at more than 2.5 million tonnes, an increase of 20% over the previous year. Rice harvests are estimated at more than 1 million tonnes (+ 7%) and those of millet at some 900,000 tonnes, an increase of 37%.
For its part, peanut production also rose 42% to more than 1.4 million tonnes, while the fruit and vegetable sector posted the same trend.
The year 2017 is therefore a major achievement for the agricultural sector, which is one of the most sensitive and important in terms of issues in developing countries. Indeed, President Macky Sall had made a campaign promise since 2012, and the bet of the head of state is being won.
These advances in agricultural production are attributable to substantial investments in this sector, better selection of seeds and better mechanization of the agricultural process.
The agricultural machinery sector was reinforced with 850 tractors and more than 60,000 other equipment, including combine harvesters, hullers and seed drills.
This report is a breath of fresh air for a predominantly agricultural country (more than a third of the population lives in rural areas) and whose economy depends to a large extent on peanut production. The most surprising being that these significant advances were made even though the rainfall was very average during the growing season, especially in the north of the country which has a dry and arid climate, because close to the Sahel.
To maintain this momentum, some efforts are expected, especially the continuation of the modernization of agricultural techniques, to enable producers to cope with climate change leading to periods of drought, irregular rainfall, and therefore generally poor soils.
With regard to livestock, president Macky Sall announced the mobilization of FCFA 31 billion (€ 42 million) to support pastoralism. In rural hydraulics, the president said that in the 300 boreholes program launched in 2013, 210 boreholes and 13 pumping stations have already been completed.
With 2.5 million hectares cultivated on 3.5 million exploitable hectares, resources are still available to enable the country to move towards autonomy.
These results are encouraging but must continue as the population grew from 3.02 million in 1960 to nearly 15.5 million today. Over the 2014/2016 period, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that 1.7 million people were undernourished, or about 11% of the Senegalese population.
With an ever-growing population in the country and the continent, the authorities must maintain their efforts and not rest on their laurels.
Author: Yatma Gaye
Senegalese student, finishing his studies in business and administration.
Passionate about questions relative to africa and its development.
Aspiring entrepreneur who wishes to help his continent by any means necessary.