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Review of the Avaclim national workshop in Senegal
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Review of the Avaclim national workshop in Senegal

On the shores of the magnificent and famous Lac Rose, Senegal’s agro-ecology stakeholders held a national knowledge-sharing workshop on 23 and 24 November 2020. The meeting, part of the Avaclim project, brought together over 47 participants from all over the country.

The national workshop, organised by Avaclim’s implementing partner in Senegal, Environnement Développement Action pour la Protection Naturelle des Terroirs (Enda Ponat), brought together participants from the steering committee of the Dynamique pour une Transition Agroécologique au Sénégal (DyTAES) and agro-ecological initiative leaders to share experiences, analyse common needs and learn about the five Senegalese initiatives selected for the project.

These included the initiative of the mayor of the commune of Ndiob, Mr Oumar Ba, who is convinced of the benefits of an agro-ecological transition and has launched a wide range of actions with the aim of increasing the community’s self-sufficiency, resilience and self-management. To achieve this, the initiative has set up a joint village committee to take decisions on the actions to be taken in the commune. In this way, the community has promoted the dissemination of organic fertilisers, traditional techniques for restoring ecosystems, the completion of a solar power plant and the future establishment of a processing unit for local cereals and groundnuts. All these initiatives are conducive to job creation and food sovereignty for local populations. 

During the two days of discussions, the participants highlighted the importance of the Dynamique pour la Transition Agroécologique au Sénégal (DyTAES), a platform that brings together and coordinates the players involved in agro-ecological projects grouped into communities of practice across the country. TaFAé is one of these communities of practice, and at the workshop it presented a map of initiatives by agro-ecology stakeholders in Senegal. In addition to this communication tool, which gives visibility to the players involved in agroecology, the participants identified other mechanisms for strengthening the communities of practice, such as the organisation of events open to the public.

The workshop working groups also agreed on the importance of promoting participatory action research that includes farmers at every stage and takes account of the specific needs of local people and endogenous knowledge. Among the agroecological performance evaluation indicators to be prioritised according to agroecology practitioners are the motivation factor of the players, access to the market and the level of agroecological knowledge.

The deployment of agroecology on a national scale can only be made possible by the genuine involvement of government players. Despite the strong commitment expressed by President Macky Sall, efforts to implement concrete actions must continue. The participants drew up a long list of recommendations for government institutions. These included: training and support for young people with agro-ecological projects, raising awareness among local authorities, subsidising biopesticides and biofertilisers, funding research to provide more evidence of the effectiveness of agro-ecology, and support for family farms capable of feeding the country and recognised as the leading investors in Senegal.

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