Mission return - Femmes de terre

31 May 2023
catégories : senegal, programme2

Image Mission return - Femmes de terre

During the last two weeks of May, I went on a short mission to Senegal. During this time, I was able to visit projects carried out at the start of the year, meet old and new players, conduct awareness-raising and training sessions and supervise the start-up of activities linked to erosion control.

In this blog, I'd like more specifically to share my observations from my meeting with three women's groups from the "Femmes de Terre" project, which is being carried out in partnership with APAF Senegal and which is building the capacity of eight women's groups to maintain, restore and manage natural resources.

A second blog will shortly be detailing the anti-erosion activities, including gabions, vegetated stone cordons and strong community involvement !

I've had the pleasure of meeting women who, despite the difficult conditions, manage to achieve great results in their market garden fields and always keep a positive energy, Senegal obliges!

In the "Femmes de Terre" project, one-hectare plots are tended and managed by a group of around forty women. Several internal management models enable the women to organise their fields (selection of varieties, maintenance and sale of harvests).

Depending on the agreement between the women, the field may be managed as a single entity, or it may be subdivided into sub-plots, generally with 8-10 women cultivators. Responsibilities for the various activities are divided between the women. For example, the sale of crops from the whole group is carried out by just a few women, leaving the rest to concentrate on market gardening. A percentage of the income from sales is kept in a communal pot to maintain community infrastructure (wells, cisterns, fencing, purchase of seeds), while the rest is divided equally between the members of the group.

Unlike fields in Senegal, a variety of vegetables are grown here, including lettuce, hibiscus, chilli, aubergine and okra beans, to diversify income and avoid the disastrous consequences of disease or parasites in a monoculture field.

In addition, as part of this project, a layer of trees has been added to these market gardens, providing shade and protection from the wind, thereby reducing evaporation and improving watering efficiency. Through a selection of nitrogen-fixing species such as honey locusts and acacias, the trees fertilise the soil, not to mention enriching it with organic matter and covering the soil with falling foliage. Trees also encourage the infiltration of rainwater and, in times of drought, pump underground water to the surface.

Finally, at the initiative of the field workers, fruit trees - mango, lemon, jujube and papaya - have also been planted on the plots to diversify their income.

The density and diversity of the plantations increase biodiversity, generate a beneficial microclimate and make the environment and people resilient in the face of climatic (floods, droughts, storms), biological (diseases, fungi, parasites) and economic (market crisis, globalisation, changes in agricultural policy) hazards.

catégories : senegal, programme2

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