15 years of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Senegal 

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In Senegal, the challenges posed by climate change on agriculture are getting worse over time and are likely to accelerate. The climate change impact is exacerbated by poor natural resources management particularly for land and marine fisheries.

There is a need to increase efforts to promote climate smart agricultural practices not just from an agronomic perspective but also from an economic perspective of allowing farm families to make a decent income and reasonable living standard while adapting to climate variability. 

In addition to the urgent need for improved soil fertility management, land tenure challenges evolve around the competing demand for land between private sector and rural farmers, between forest cover and agricultural land, between international firms and local ones. 

Livelihood basis for artisanal fishery communities and primary animal protein sources for poor populations, marine fish stocks are under pressure with illegal and unsustainable fishing practices.

In Senegal, we have a strong emphasis on access to finance so that farmers are able to acquire  climate smart technologies that are resistant to climate shocks and that generate marketable surpluses that increase farmers’ incomes and allow them to pay back loans.  

Agricultural insurance is a great opportunity. In Senegal, we have gone from 2,132 farmers to more than 193,000 famers between 2012 and 2018 using agricultural insurance. Banks provide a “bundled” credit package for inputs that also includes agricultural insurance that greatly reduces the risk of non-repayment of loans due to climate shocks. 

This system is underpinned by the provision of Weather and Climate Information Systems (WCIS) supported by the mission which allows insurance providers to verify which farmers were in fact affected by drought conditions in order to qualify for pay outs. 

In addition, WCIS allows farmers to make adapted management decisions such as planting and fertilizer application dates, crop and variety choices further reducing vulnerability to climate shocks. 

Mechanization - particularly tractors and harvesters - is a key component of climate smart agriculture in so much as it allows farmers to plant and harvest their fields in a timely manner to ensure that they benefit as much as possible from the availability of rainfall during the short rainy season.  In Senegal our $43M DCA program provides loans to “business support service providers” that rent out machinery by day so that it is affordable to farmers who do not have the scale of operations to own their own machinery. 

Finally, Feed the Future Senegal is promoting climate smart agriculture by working with farmers to improve both crop choices and variety choices.  One of the ways is to encourage farmers to cultivate biofortified and drought resistant crops such as millet or cowpea, which are naturally nutrient rich and drought resistant. 

In Senegal we have focused the last 15 years of support to improving the efficiency of the rice value chain to scale, and securing that the seeds, the fertilizers, the policy, and the finance is available to those that need it. 

 

Last updated: November 25, 2022

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