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Micro-gardening in Dakar

Submitted by Nitya Jacob 21st November 2022 5:55
   farming on the chat

Farming on the rooftop in Dakar


Dakar houses approximately 25% of the country’s population. Agricultural space is sparse, and proper food security is not provided. To provide Dakar inhabitants with alternative supply solutions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the government of Senegal, the Municipality of Dakar, and several NGOs launched the project for micro-gardening in 1999. Since then, the project has been re-launched several times. In 2004 the project was transferred to other cities in Senegal and Africa.

Micro-gardening technology permits soilless horticultural production in small urban spaces such as roofs, yards, or vacant areas. Before implantation in Dakar, the project had already been used to reduce poverty in Latin American and the Caribbean. The project provides families with food and allows them to sell the surplus for a small income. It generally targets environmental enhancement for fragile groups in societies by enabling inhabitants to produce food in urban situations.

The programme in Dakar was very successful: more than 4,000 families were trained. The harvests provided families with fresh vegetables, and a surplus to sell. The technique of micro-gardening does not require expensive material and intense training; it can be easily implemented and transferred to other environments.

Between 2010 and 2011, the cultivated area in the Dakar region grew from 5,098 hectares to 8,700 hectares. Horticultural production in the area rose from 750,000 to 860,000 tonnes during the same period. This year, the area being cultivated in and around Dakar is 11,300 hectares, and production, accounting for all crops, is estimated at 1,780,000 tonnes.

According to a report by the Regional Office for Statistics and Demographics urban agriculture in the Dakar region alone generated 450 million dollars in 2011, supplying 45 percent of the city’s food supply.

But while urban farming is growing, farmers are facing difficulties linked to access to land, the marketing of vegetables, the recycling of water for irrigation, and access to financing.

Even as the cultivated area is growing, some farmers are struggling to find land to expand their operations.

“In 2010, I had an 800 square metre field. I was able to turn a profit of 600,000 CFA (about 1,200 dollars). But this year, I’ve only got 350 square metres to farm, because the government has taken over a large portion of my land for a dam to hold water,” said Cheikh Mor Ndiaye, a grower at Cambérène, one of the sprawling suburbs on the outskirts of the capital.