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“I’ve turned down job offers in order to run my own business”

AGRICULTURAL

My name is Sagar Diop, I’m 28 and live in Senegal. In 2017, I got my first degree in Life & Soil Sciences, followed by a Biology Masters in 2019. I specialized in agricultural entomology, looking at the effects of Calotropis procera, a local plant used as a biopesticide, on insect pests of head cabbage. 

In 2020, with the help of the Syngenta Foundation, I took on a Farmers’ Hub in Notto Gouye Diama. That’s in the Niayes area about 60km from the capital, Dakar.

I’ve now gained quite a lot of experience in nursery production and supply. I also train farmers on good agronomic practices and biopesticides. Recently, I‘ve also started raising and selling broiler chickens.

In my 120m² greenhouses, I grow about 250,000 plants per year. That gives me a profit of about FCFA 6,250,000, which is currently roughly $ 11,000. I sell to more than 250 smallholders, of whom some 10% are women.

Running a Farmers’ Hub, I’ve been contacted by various NGOs and by companies selling fertilizers, seeds, and other inputs, as well as equipment such as solar pumps. They’ve made me several job offers, but I’ve turned them all down to run my own business – which I think is a lot more promising!

My aim is to develop further in the farming sector, despite all the various limitations. These include access to land and finance, as well as certain social challenges related to being a young woman.