To feed a growing world population, we must find innovative new ways to increase the food supply without endangering the environment. Sustainable agriculture is key here. Around the world, Dutch companies and their local counterparts cooperate to develop a sustainable model for food production, which is environmentally friendly and economically viable. One of them is Dutch agricultural company, Franzen BV, which is supporting Senegal to become more food self-sufficient.
Increasing food production
Farming in Senegal lacks crop diversity and is hampered by drought and poor soil. Food crops form only a small share of the country’s agricultural produce, which consists mostly of groundnuts and cotton. While the agricultural sector is Senegal’s main employer, the country imports most of its food – also from the Netherlands – to feed its 16 million inhabitants.
Senegal is an important sales market for Dutch produce. In return, the Netherlands would like to help Senegal to raise its own agriculture production. Food security is an important part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, to which the Netherlands is committed. By increasing food production capacity Senegal will be able to boost its economy and stability in the region.
Dutch knowledge and expertise can be of great value in the cultivation and processing of food produce in Senegal. According to Dutch agricultural attaché Niek Schelling, “in time, Senegal could become a leading producer of food crops for the whole West Africa region.”
“In time, Senegal could become a leading producer of food crops for the whole West Africa region”
Cultivating local knowledge
Franzen BV is one of those exporters of food crops to Senegal. Responding to a growing demand for Dutch potatoes and onions in the region, the company has started its own arable farm in Senegal, partly funded with the help of the Dutch Good Growth Fund.
The farm, about 100 hectares, will provide employment for over 200 local people – most of them women. As knowledge transfer is one of the main goals of the project, Franzen train their employees in cultivating, harvesting and packaging crops, as well as ensuring product hygiene. The farmers can then use this knowledge to grow their own crops. In this way, Franzen does not only create jobs in the region, it also boosts productivity in food production. Ultimately, the company aims to contribute towards achieving food security and food safety in Senegal.
Dutch partnerships in Senegal
Franzen is only one of Dutch agricultural companies active in Senegal. In fact, there are a number of Dutch companies, which produce green beans and potatoes in the country, usually in joint ventures with local entrepreneurs. They too, can provide their local partners with resources and knowledge. And like Franzen, their main challenge is to increase productivity.
Dutch know-how can help Senegal take an important step towards food security. Further efforts in developing the food supply chain is on the agenda, which concerns the entire chain; from knowledge transfer to farms to preserving, processing and packaging products. There are also opportunities for cooperation in transport, market development and export.
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