Despite relatively sufficient supplies of food, Senegal suffers from chronic food insecurity and like many neighboring sub-Saharan and Sahelian countries, is classified as “serious” on IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index. Senegal is a country with rich agricultural opportunity and yet imports nearly 70% of its food. Current production cannot keep pace with increasing demand from a growing population and rising food prices are limiting families’ ability to provide a diverse and healthy diet.
Agriculture and Nutrition Development Program for Food Security
To combat food insecurity in Senegal, CLUSA has embarked on a five-year, $40 million USAID-funded program to accelerate the participation of the very poor in rural economic growth and to catalyze sustainable development with Senegal‘s agriculture sector and improve the key dimensions of food security – access, availability, utilization and stability. As one of the original programs of the Feed the Future Initiative, USAID|Yaajeende is predicated on the United Nation’s Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security, and employs an innovative, country-led and integrated approach to tackle the underlying issues which hold back the very poor from becoming integral and active members of the rural, agricultural marketplace.
An Integrated Approach
USAID|YAAJEENDE attacks the endemic food security problem through an integrated approach that works with rural producers through nutrition-led agriculture, whereby improved agricultural and wild food products are promoted within the rural value chain that would diminish identified nutritional deficiencies when consumed, thereby also with:
Entrepreneurs who buy, resell, store, transport and transforms agricultural products.
Microfinance Institutions and Banks who provide loans and services for the producers and the entrepreneurs.
Suppliers that provide: fertilizers, improved seeds, and agricultural equipment.
Cooperatives and Civil Society Members that are involved in decision making and local policy-making on topics related to food security and nutrition.
Consumers improve their knowledge of better food practices, increasing the need for nutritional products.
CLUSA will improve the food security and nutrition of 1,000,000 individuals across 60 rural communities in four regions of Senegal. The team will establish a network of 1,000 Community Based Service Providers (CBSPs) to provide input supplies, agricultural services and nutritional products to rural people on a commission basis. Total sales of inputs and services provided through the CBSP network plus the total commodity sales of produced outputs will equal $30 million by Year 5. Household incomes will be improved by 250%. Stunting will be reduced by 25% in USAID|Yaajeende target zones and the number of underweight children will be reduced by 35%.
Enriched Flour Made Locally
The women of Seno Pallel in Matam Region make enriched flours and infant porridges using local ingredients including sorghum, millet, salt, sugars. The women began making the products for their own consumption in early 2012 and then, when they noticed a strong demand for the product, began packaging and selling flour mixes on local markets. Recently, the women received a large order from Senegal’s National Program for Nutrition for more than 21,000 sachets of infant flour, earning the women more than 1600 dollars in just a few weeks. USAID|Yaajeende is helping the women acquire additional tools and financing to scale this activity and expand sales of the enriched flours by linking the group with project Community Based Solution Providers to expand the distribution chain to other zones.
Food Security for the Future
Schools are a critical platform for the promotion of nutritional activities, providing access to vulnerable populations while providing a venue to develop better nutritional habits in young people. School gardens provide students with hands-on opportunities to learn agricultural techniques, the importance of a balanced and varied diet, and the value of community based development, integrating key components of USAID|Yaajeende into one educational program.
In addition to 29 identified community garden sites, the program has identified 50 schools where it will train Parent Teacher Associations and teachers on how to create, manage and maintain school gardens. These gardens will include a wide variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables, including nutrient and calorie dense crops such as the orange sweet potato, Moringa, carrots and green beans, and enhance food security for future generations in Senegal.