Training helps ambitions to grow – and vegetables
15 new Farmers' Hub managers learn what it takes
Vegetables are potentially lucrative for Senegalese farmers. But they need support. Our Farmers’ Hubs tackles many of the issues. Good training helps rural entrepreneurs to make these businesses a success.
"Within a year, I want to become a major nursery producer and a role model for the whole region in developing my business.” This is the ambition of Ndeye Diagne, a 26-year-old agripreneur from Dagana in northern Senegal. She recently received training to become the manager of a Farmers' Hub. Our Foundation selected her and 14 other men and women in a project run by Connexus. Funding comes from USAID through its Feed the Future initiative.
The agripreneurs and their assistants benefited from a three-day course. Training focused on the Farmers' Hub model, the nursery production process, and Good Agricultural Practices (Agroecology, Compost and Biofertilizers). Our Agriservices Program Manager Ousmane Sow was one of the trainers. As he explained to the course participants: "The Farmers' Hub is a one-stop agricultural services model, managed by private service providers. They offer smallholders a range of quality products and services. These include inputs, advice, small-scale mechanization and produce marketing."
The training went down well. "I had already taken a course to become a nursery grower, but it was too theoretical”, Ndeye Diagne comments. “The Syngenta Foundation’s approach is very practical. The training enabled me to acquire new knowledge and gain access to new techniques and innovations. For example, I learned about the darkroom, and cultivation in greenhouses and on plates. I also discovered the Foundation’s digital tool called e-Farmers' Hub, which allows me to record management data."
Moussa Diallo, 32, also liked the course. "My ambition is to develop a Farmers' Hub in my home village of Vélingara. There's a crying lack of greenhouse nurseries in the area. We used to bring plants from Dakar, almost 500 km away! I'm glad I took the training, because I learned things I’d never heard in courses elsewhere. Despite all my experience, I've now acquired new knowledge and skills, particularly in accounting and business planning, composting and organic fertilizers.” Moussa has high ambitions: "I made the choice to stay and work in my country, and to be a farmer. I want to develop expertise in the field and become a major producer. Within a couple of years, I want to increase the number of greenhouses.”
In Senegal, vegetable growing offers a wealth of opportunities for job creation and income generation. But the sector's development is slowed by poor equipment and training as well as difficulties in selling the produce. To address such issues and raise smallholder incomes, our Foundation introduced the Farmers' Hub model locally in 2018. By 2022, Senegal had 24 Hubs, with 15 more now being added. Sales last year were about 124,000,000 FCFA (more than $200,000). Serving about 3500 farmers, the Hubs generated 151 jobs. Half of the employees are women.