In Senegal, almost 7,000,000 ha of land are degraded (34% of the total land area). The cost of this loss in terms of rice, millet and maize —which account for 45% of cropland area— is 103 million USD, or 2 percent of the country’s GDP. Ever since the 1960s, Senegal’s precipitation levels have fluctuated widely from periods of severe, sustained drought to random torrential storms.
Land degradation reduces available resources and the assets that underpin current livelihoods and prevent the development of future opportunities. It accentuates the environmental degradation-poverty cycle, reduces quality of life and food security, and leads to emigration of unemployed young people seeking jobs in urban areas and other countries. The absence of economic opportunity led almost 10.000 Senegalese migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2016.
In this context, the 3S project is Senegal will focus on restoring and rehabilitating degraded agricultural lands using proven agro-ecological practices that build the long term fertility and health of land in areas affected by salinization and acidification. The project will notably focus on the Fonio value-chain, a cereal crop traditionally grown in the Sahel region, and the development of an environmental friendly, locally produced, and organic product for local consumption and international markets.
The project aims to reinforce and secure rural jobs for about 7,000-10,000 families involved in the Fonio value chain and bring 3,000-5,000 new smallholder farmers into the activity to prevent further rural abandonment. The development of the value chain will create new jobs related to the different services that are needed upstream and downstream with seven service centers for supplies, extension, training, micro-finance; 150-200 farmer organizations and women groups that are already organized, will be targeted as key participants. Finally, the rural communes will benefit in tax returns and development of associated businesses by adding value to Fonio products to expand the value chain and develop new products (e.g. use of Fonio waste products in for biochar).