SITUATION BEFORE THE INITIATIVE BEGAN
Dakar's population naturally grows fast and because of rural exodus after dryness since end of 1960's. In 2001 (DPS), it was 2.4 million of inhabitants on 550 square kilometres: 24% and 3% of national population and territory. The pressure on agricultural spaces reduces access to farmland by fragile groups: women and youth.¨
ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIORITIES
Inventory of fixtures,
Buying and setting up of inputs and equipment,
Follow-up of production,
Fulfilment of a database,
Training of technicians, trainers and beneficiaries. The beneficiaries’ selection has much done through the economic interest groups (GIE) often composed by women.
Selection of new beneficiaries,
Research’s continuation on substrates and on reduction of production’s costs,
Marketing and promotion of micro-gardens’ produces,
Monitoring and evaluation of actions,
FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
The general objective of the micro-garden programme is to contribute in further reducing unemployment, poverty through feeding and nutrition¡¦s improvement, and income generation for populations. This will allow participating in the promotion of sustainable development in Senegal, particularly through diversification of production and water management.
Specifically, the programme aims to:
Produce good quality vegetables by families,
Improve the nutrition of the population,
Diversify income generating activities for families,
Occupy women and young people,
MOBILISATION OF RESOURCES .
“In financial terms, in 1999 and at the multilateral level, the TCP / FAO’s financing was $ 250,000 US dollars. Then, within the framework of the SPFS/FAO, for introduction and extension of the programme in the regional capitals, the financing’s amount was 175 million CFA francs (about $ 401,352) in 2001 and the same amount in 2002. Between August 2004 and May 2006, 50 million CFA francs (about $ 114,672) have been received. In addition, the bilateral cooperation between the municipalities of Milan and Dakar brought $ 250,000 in order to strengthen the development of micro-garden technology in the nineteen districts of the Dakar’s department.
On equipment and human terms, the micro-gardens has mainly benefited from local means. Concerning equipment, it is housed at Horticultural Development Centre (CDH) of the Senegalese Institut of Agricultural Research (ISRA). It has an office, a laboratory and a national reference micro-garden. At the beginning of the micro-garden project, a Colombian expert had contributed to training. Thereafter, a national expert has supported the training of local trainers coming from the agricultural services. These laters also trained women trainers who are members of EIG.”
“Three main types of problems include the nine constraints in implementing micro-gardens in Dakar:
training and organization of beneficiaries,
their access to equipment and inputs and
the marketing of produces.
(i) - With regard to training, the existence of a single garden located in the CDH and wich is difficult to reach has been supplemented by the establishment of training and demonstration centres (CFD) under the Milan / Dakar programme. Also, each financing’s breaking at end of project results in the halt of the intervention of technicians and affects training and monitoring of beneficiaries and EIG. For example, in 2003, this has resulted in the reduction of the number of active EIG. The solution was to train some producers who, after being trained, are in charge of other beneficiaries’ training.
(ii) - Concerning equipment, lack of plots for production is more and more obvious in Dakar. So, territorial planning must allot some production’s spaces to micro-gardeners. For the time being, some city halls, schools and hospitals have made their backyard at the disposal of micro-gardeners’groups.
(iii) - On the marketing of micro-gardens’ produces, there is the lack of a specific supply chain for them. However, collaboration with Italian NGOs in Dakar is working for the creation of such a supply chain.
- The flag promotion of the quality of micro-gardens’ produces tend to be resolved via television by publicizing this technology, for example, through the telecast named “plein champs” or “in the open fields”, an advertising spot and a certificate of micro-gardens’ vegetables analysis which have been established by the Institute of Food Technology (ITA). The goal is to create a label for micro-gardens’ produces.
- Finally, the little incentive market’s price and the high cost of investment result in a low net annual income of 15 000 CFA per square metre with a fixed cost of production by 70%. To improve it, the annual yield per square metre has been increased to 30 kg; the container’s wood has been replaced by bamboo; next the containers of wood or bamboo have been replaced by trenches on the ground covered with plastic filled with sand and manure, with drop by drop kits promoted by another FAO’s TCP.”
“Through the micro-garden programme, the role of women in the urban agriculture of Dakar has been strengthened. For example, among the 180 farmers we have surveyed in 2005 (gardeners, fruit-farmers, flower-farmers, micro-gardeners, breeders, fishermen and rice-farmers), there were only 36 women of whom 25 were micro-gardeners. Women are therefore more directly involved in micro-gardening than in gardening where heavy investment limited drastically their number and relegated most of them in the marketing of garden truck.
- The free training for everybody is an asset. Indeed, single persons or belonging to private institutions outside the programme, have only to support the costs of equipment because the agricultural technicians who provide the training were in charge of the project. Our survey showed that the duration of training was very short: 25 micro-gardeners of 31 were trained in a week by the programme.
- The involvement of different categories of actors: elected people (Mayors of 19 municipalities’ district of the Dakar’s department, through the Milan / Dakar programme), administrative authorities, agents of agricultural research, NGO staff such as Italian (ACCRA and COOPI), members of EIG and individuals promotes mediation between them to greater sustainability of the micro-garden initiative. According to the 2006 micro-garden report, frameworks for consultation and training have been created: training and demonstration centres, Municipal Committee for Coordination. The Division of Social and Health Action and the Division of Education and Culture of the Municipality of Dakar were also involved. Lastly, the Division of Urban Green Spaces of the Department of Urban Development will be built into a division of Urban Agriculture (The 2007 Milan / Dakar third Report), which allows combining food supply and green environment.”
“Financial: The micro-garden programme has only financed training and equipment of EIG’s members. The limit is in terms of financial sustainability: in case of disruption at the end of the project, the production stopped hence the need to strengthen the financial autonomy of beneficiaries by facilitating the marketing of produces.
- Social and Economic: The criteria for selecting beneficiaries are: poverty, availability of a minimal space and drinking water, motivation. The micro-gardening technology restores equal access to agricultural production between men, women, seniors and youth. It is therefore a system that promotes social justice. For example, during our thesis research, we found that some students had a microjardin lent by a parent. This allowed them to generate income and to be autonomous for small expenses. Also, we found that compared to other agricultural production’s systems, micro-gardening allows women heads of households, divorced or widowed, to diversify their source of income.
- Cultural: According to the micro-gardeners we have surveyed, this activity allows them to continue agricultural production and to keep their rural roots. It also provides an opportunity to produce vegetables that are not always sold in the market (like squash) and to discover other vegetables: for example, basil has become very popular for tea.
- Environmental: By recycling agricultural waste to solid substrate example of the mixture of 60% of peanut hulls and 40% of rice husks, using household worn utensils (basins, buckets) or tyres and polystyrene boxes, and by using drop by drop irrigation or empties for irrigation, the micro-garden technology promotes sustainable development: nothing is lost, everything is transformed. Thus, some consumers consider that the micro-garden produces are more wholesome than the intra and peri-urban farms’ produces where pesticides and sometimes urban wastewater are used.
Micro-gardens also serve as educational support for environmental education in schools and colleges.
- Institutional: The implementation of micro-gardens necessitated involvement of several institutions on various scales: State (national scale); agricultural services (both national and local scales); municipalities, NGOs, EIG and private persons (local scale).”
“- In terms of appropriation of the technology, in addition to national expertise in micro-gardens, an effective technical reference was built to strengthen micro-gardening. Thus, it is possible to harvest six times in the year by producing wholesome vegetables, creating jobs and generating income throughout. The promotion, by scientific research, of the use of solid substrates from local agriculture, aims to facilitate access to technology at a low cost by using the most abundant substrate in each regional context. The main difficulty is related to controlling the mix of micro-elements (magnesium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, copper, manganese, zinc, boric acid, ammonium molybdate and chelate iron) and macro-elements (mono ammonium phosphate; calcium nitrate and potassium) constituting the nutrient solution.
Training sessions of beneficiaries’ groups, like schools fields (Prain, 2001) as shown in the photos 1 and 2 below.
Partnerships have been developed with other actors as the Peace American Corps, Oxfam GB, the Resource Centre for Social and Participative Emergence, the college LEGTA of Figeac (France), the Learning Centre of Pugnac (France), SOS Sahel International / Louga and the Association of Professors in Life and Earth Sciences. These partnerships have helped to extend the technology in other places and other people like in Fann’s hospital, the nursery schools named “Cases des Tout-Petit”, primary schools where gardens are used to support teaching.
The micro-gardening technology has benefited from a real network for its development.”
“- Under the partnership with OXFAM, in 2006, several technicians from neighbouring countries: for example, Mauritania, Mali and Niger have been trained by the Senegalese Agricultural Services’ technicians previously trained on the technology.
- The program has also supported two FAO’s TELEFOOD in the Kolda region.
- The creation of supply points in the regional capitals has responded to a "revolving system." A protocol was signed with local groups and countersigned by a local authority. For example, this protocol stipulates that "the inputs must be sold with a profit margin to micro-gardeners of the farther regions as Ziguinchor and Tambacounda". This will prevent them from travelling to Dakar to by inputs and equipment.
- Possibility of transfer in several developing countries as Madagascar, where a project of School Gardens is expected in Antananarivo.”
- Access to inputs is limited by the high cost of imported chemical fertilizers which are sold by a single supplier in Dakar. To solve this problem, the micro-garden programme has established outlets in all regional capitals and put in place alternative products such as tea manure, manure and Biogen. - For organization, a framework for dialogue between all the Dakar agricultural producers’ groups hasn’t put in place yet a plan for action to accompany the technology’s appropriation by producers.