Growing horticultural production in Dakar

Watering cans in hand, men and women move back and forth between the wells and water storage tanks and the crops they’re watering: carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and potatoes, as well as fruit trees like palm, coconut, papaya and banana trees.

Growers like Ahmadou Sene are working tirelessly to produce vegetables in and around the Senegalese capital. Sene, in his forties, has a one-hectare plot. For three months of the year, he has a dozen young people to hoe and weed the garden, and for four months a group of 20 women work to harvest and sell his produce.

“Vegetables make up more than 80 percent of my crops,” he said, gesturing towards his garden. He cultivates his field year round, and harvests nearly 12 tonnes of vegetables each quarter.

According to the 2011 census conducted by the Regional Office for Statistics and Demographics (SRSD), some 3,200 people work in horticulture in the Dakar region, spread across 113 production sites.

Around 6,000 people work in horticulture, which supports more than 40,000 people in the capital, and a million people across the country.

The SRSD’s report for last October showed that between 2010 and 2011, the cultivated area in the Dakar region grew from 5,098 hectares to 8,700 hectares. Horticultural production in the area rose from 750,000 to 860,000 tonnes during the same period. This year, the area being cultivated in and around Dakar is 11,300 hectares, and production, accounting for all crops, is estimated at 1,780,000 tonnes.

According to the same report, urban agriculture in the Dakar region alone generated 450 million dollars in 2011, supplying 45 percent of the city’s food supply.

But while urban farming is growing, farmers are facing difficulties linked to access to land, the marketing of vegetables, the recycling of water for irrigation, and access to financing.

Even as the cultivated area is growing, some farmers are struggling to find land to expand their operations. READ MORE…

Meanwhile, a recent article released by IRIN News discusses how the rising food insecurity in Dijibouti, caused by successive drought, high food prices and dwindling livelihood opportunities in the capital city, is causing residents to migrate to peri-urban areas.

image credit: GlobalHort Image Library


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