Better yield, extra income, and increased knowledge of production keep women engaged and contained in market gardens in Kolda villages in Senegal this year. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship started less than a year back, aims to educate communities on the 4R principles and sustainably produce vegetables on the garden plot in their homes in the coop communities.
The project activities began with 06 market gardens hosting demonstration sessions on 4R principles and 40 demonstration plots of maize and rice. So far, two training sessions for 145 women from 6 women groups have been conducted.
Face-to-face interactions and traditional methods of communication led to the sustained adoption of 4R principles. The approach helped to strengthen non-literate womenfolk and promoted their interest and uptake of 4R principles.
“The 4R team also leveraged the diversity of people, cultures, social networks and government structures, taking advantage of the opportunities they presented to influence the attitudes and behaviours of different social segments. The beneficiaries were beginning to understand the 4R principles’ impact on significant yield increase (okra and chilli),” said Cheikh Siby, CDF Canada.
The results showed that the self-consumption of vegetables accounted for 27% of production and thus contributed to improving the household diet. Sales of okra represent 38.7% of the total production and are made in the field, in the neighbouring villages and in the weekly markets. The sale of okra has enabled several women to engage in trade (tea, sugar, soap, jumbo, smoked fish, palm oil, detergents etc.). Others have bought clothes for their children, helped to buy school supplies for their children and contributed to the health costs of their husbands or children.
Adama Kandé, President of the Témento Demba group and the project facilitator, trained the women in communities on how to make biological plant protection products to fight insect pests of okra and chilli using local materials that we can make at no cost that is effective, easy to make and environmentally friendly.
Donations represent 11.91% of the total production. The women affirm that this gesture reinforces their spirit of solidarity among women in the villages.
Apart from seeds and fertilizers, the women’s market gardeners received small equipment from the project to lighten their workloads, such as 60 watering cans, 36 wheelbarrows, 36 rakes, and 36 forks.
The communities still face the insecurity of the perimeters (poor state of the fences, insufficient water) is a risk for the project, particularly for the women who practice market gardening. To cope with this, the women sometimes have thorny tree branches.
Cheikh Siby adds, “The communities perceive the 4R-NSP project as relevant and timely because their soils are increasingly poor and, in some places, they can no longer support the production of certain crops such as maize, millet and sorghum. The community members are now eager to see how the project will address the problem of low productivity”.
In the three target communities of the project, all the members of the project’s beneficiary groups carry out savings and credit activities weekly. Therefore, from the second year onwards, the project will be able to build on this base while developing strategies to address current operational challenges such as the poor maintenance of monitoring and enforcement tools in case of loan defaults, the limited knowledge of the model by all members to strengthen women’s purchasing power which will facilitate their access to inputs (seeds and fertilizers).
Stories from the Beneficiaries
“The application of the 4R principles in the garden area plot has greatly improved our market garden. Before, we could not know the yield of our plots, but with new techniques, we can evaluate the yield of each plot. My 4R okra plot has given me more than USD 1614 not counting what I have offered and what the house has consumed,” said Mouya Baldé from Saré Karfa, Coumbacara in Senegal.
Lack of water and watering equipment, limited means of transport for selling produce, poor knowledge of the market and crop calendar and management are key challenges the farmers face.
Today, Mouya Baldé grows vegetables in the 10m² garden plot. Through the project, she received training on making beds, okra and pepper sowing techniques, and making ‘’neem’’-based biopesticides and was provided with Okra and Chilli seeds. “I used around 11% of the production for self-consumption. The sales of the productions of okra represent 76% of our total production and are made at the edge of the field, in the neighbouring villages and in the weekly markets. The income from the sale of okra has allowed me to practice small trade (tea, sugar, soap, jumbo, detergents, etc.). I have also bought clothes for my children, helped to buy school supplies for the children and contributed to the improvement of the household diet by buying fresh or smoked fish and contributing to the payment of our husband’s health expenses. Finally, as a gesture to reinforce the spirit of solidarity among women in the village, I give away the 13% of my production,” says Mouya Baldé.
Alarba Gano, with 10 m² garden plot in the Coumbacara district with a household of 17, planted Okra and Chillies. She used 23% of the production for self-consumption, followed by 69% for sales in the market and the rest 8% donated to the community. Today, Alarba Gano, grows vegetables in the 10m² garden plot. Through the project, she received training on making beds, okra and pepper sowing techniques, and making ‘’neem’’-based biopesticides and was provided with Okra and Chilli seeds.
“Thank you for the training on the 4R principles. It has helped to improve my household income and buy basic household shoes and books for the family,” Alarba Gano, Vegetable Producer, Coumbacara
“The sales of the productions of okra represent 67% of our total production in the neighbouring villages and the weekly markets. The income from the sale of okra has allowed me to strengthen my small business, buy clothes and shoes for my children and myself, and help buy school supplies for the children. The rest of the production, I split between home consumption and donation within the community,” Egué Mballo, Vegetable producer in Coumbacara.
Today, Egué Mballo, with a household of 21, grows vegetables in the 10m² garden plot. Through the project, she received training on making beds, okra and pepper sowing techniques, and making ‘’neem’’-based biopesticides and was provided with Okra and Chilli seeds.