In Senegal, the agricultural sector employs about 60% of the working population. But does it attract young people, especially those affected by unemployment? In the river valley, the organizers of the first international agricultural fair in the north, which was held last weekend at the Diamadammen, on the Mauritanian border, want to believe it.
From our special correspondent in Saint-Louis,
6500 CFA francs, about 10 euros for a 50 kilo bag of onions, all smiles Fatoo Fall sells the products from the Diama farmers’ association. After a bachelor’s degree in business administration in Saint-Louis, the 28-year-old young woman returned to her village.
“As we are in a period of unemployment, most young people who have studied and have not yet found work have turned to agriculture. We make our own rice, we try to sell it, Fatou Fall explains.
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Land, a safe bet
In the region, the fisheries sector is still a pillar of the economy and the future use of gas and oil gives rise to hope. But in the face of the illegal emigration of young people, land is a safe choice, according to Mouhamadou Mustapha Diack, Diamas’ first mayor.
“For us, it is extremely important to educate young people, especially to show them that we must trust the country. We must stay instead of migrating. We need a lot of support from the state so that young people can find themselves, so that agriculture is really profitable, says Mouhamadou Mustapha Diack.
The sector is being modernized and education is being adapted. But that was not enough to keep the son of Papa Abdoulaye Fall, president of an economic interest group in rural Gandon, about 15 miles south of Saint-Louis. “I have a son who made training crops. He is currently in Italy. One of these four mornings he said to me, “I work in a field.” The day before yesterday, he asked me if we could grow garlic in Senegal. I replied “of course, experiment and prepare your return to join us in the field”. Here is the sun, the water. Maybe it’s just the technical way it’s missing! », Says Papa Abdoulaye Fall.
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The problem of access to land
GIE employs two young agricultural workers for 50,000 CFA francs per month (approximately 76 euros). They are preparing to start okra production on part of the 10 hectares of land. Investments, especially in equipment, are required to increase income and productivity.
But in the shadow of a tent, in an adjoining field, Mamadou Diagne raises the question of access to land. It is the town hall that gave me this field through a deliberation, but it is a problem because there are results that are achieved over generations. While the land was removed from me for, I do not know how to do anything else with it, if we could get a lease, we could settle down heavily and make the work last for several generations “, explains.
Young or old, at present, the biggest problem for small farmers in the region is the marketing of production.