The inclusive agricultural value chain approach at the core of IFAD strategy to fight poverty and inequality in Senegal

Photo: Dakar Province, Senegal. Veronica Wijaya for PROCASUR WCA

(French version of this article is available to download in PDF here).

The food import bill in Africa continues to increase due to the demographic explosion which may threaten the continent of hunger by 2050. Whereas Africa has a huge potential for agricultural production to be self-sufficient, the cost of its imports is estimated each year to reach more than 50 billion dollars. With a trade balance already deficit, this situation represents a significant loss of opportunities for job creation, especially for rural youth and women. The West and Central African countries are still heavily depending on these imports, with a 50% import rate for Senegal.

Photos by Veronica Wijaya for PROCASUR WCA

In response to this increasing food insecurity and high dependency on food import, Dr. Ibrahima Hathie of the Think Tank Agricultural and Rural Foresight Initiative — IPAR Senegal relies on the need of structuring the entire agricultural value chains. This emerging approach in food system offers a huge potential for the sustainable inclusion of vulnerable small-scale producers in the food value chain. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as the backbone of the development of the inclusive agricultural value chain approach, has supported projects using this new approach over the past ten years with the inclusion of rural youth and women.

Through the Learning Route “Innovative mechanisms and tools to promote inclusive agricultural value chains: Experiences of Senegal”, organized by the global No Profit organization Procasur, with the support of IFAD, more than 30 actors of rural development of West and Central Africa travelled throughout Senegal from November 23 to December 2, 2016. They had the opportunity to get hands-on experiences on innovations and best practices in structuring inclusive agricultural value chain. Thus, in a peer-to-peer learning process with the Local Champions at the heart of the implementation of the value chain approach, participants were exposed directly on the ground to a set of innovative mechanisms and tools applied to three major value chains: the millet, the sesame and the rice.

Photo: Dakar province, Senegal. Veronica Wijaya for PROCASUR WCA

Considering the overall chain of producers, processors, traders and financial institutions from the projects and experiences visited, the participants were able to successfully integrate all the aspects related to sustainable development of an agricultural value chain.

Using a PROCASUR’s learning methodology based on knowledge sharing, each local initiative was analyzed in depth to clearly identify innovations, success factors, lessons learned, as well as challenges and recommendations, and then shared with the team of the three projects: (1) “Supporting Project to agricultural sector — PAFA”, funded by IFAD and implemented by the association Jamm Bugum and the Association for Agricultural Diversification (ADA); (2) “Naatal Mbay” supported by USAID, and (3) “Promotion of local grain bread” supported by the Senegalese Association for the promotion of grassroots development — ASPRODEB in collaboration with the Association of Local Cereals Processors (ACTL), the National Federation of Bakers of Senegal (FNBS) and the Institute for Food Technology (ITA).

“The role of PROCASUR in facilitating this process of knowledge sharing and management along the value chain is crucial. Unless we share our local knowledge, outstanding innovations and the best practices from the field that have scaling-up potential, we can’t reduce rural poverty in a sustainable way.” said M. Luyaku Loko Nsimpasi, IFAD Representative in Senegal. Now the main challenge according to M. Nsimpasi is to adapt the successful experiences to the realities of each country.

Photo: Dakar province, Senegal. Veronica Wijaya for PROCASUR WCA

In the light of the ten days of the field visits to Niakhar, Kaffrine, Saint-Louis and Dakar, the participants drew on useful insights of the national scope successful projects to apply to their action plan for dissemination and scaling up of the innovations learned. They are now in better position, in particular, with institutional mechanisms to promote dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders along the agricultural value chain, the self-targeting of vulnerable small-scale producers and their access to financing through better risk management, the support for Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) to make them stronger, autonomous and inclusive, as well as the sustainable contracting between small-scale producers and the Market Operators.

“This dynamic within the inclusive value chain helps to better structure the agricultural sector in which competition among buyers is fierce and price volatility is high.said M. Ibrahima Pouye, in charge of FOs structure with PAFA.

For many participants, “this Learning Route was an eye-opener” and they promise to strive to pass on the learning to others for the effective implementation of their action plan in their countries.

Photo: Dakar province, Senegal. Veronica Wijaya for PROCASUR WCA

The Learning Route has been organized within the framework of the three-years Cross Regional Program “Strengthening Capacities and Tools to scale up and disseminate innovations” implemented by the global Not for Profit organization PROCASUR, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). On March 2017, PROCASUR will implement an inter-regional Learning Route on Water and Land to be held in Mauritania and Senegal with participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

To know more about the initiative, download the program of activities and the case histories at the center of the learning exchange (also in French), please visit the dedicated web page.

Mikaila Issa Abramane, PROCASUR West and Central Africa Communication Team