The staple diet of the Senegalese families we work with is composed of carbohydrates, especially rice and millet.
Most of their dishes include a small portion of vegetables, but it is insufficient and little varied. Fish is relatively accessible in Ngueniène – a hamlet near the coast- but meat is a luxury that they can only rarely afford.
Due to the country climatic features – a dry season from October to May and a rainy season from June to September – there is a difference between the rainy season (saison) crops and the out of season (contre-saison) crops.
Peanuts and millet or sorghum are usually sown in the medium-sized family fields during the rainy season. Men are responsible for this crop. Sometimes the village women have a small communal field where they grow some vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, peppers … out of season, but this land is usually less than about a few tens square metres.
In order to increase the rural communities’ independence from the market and their food safety, we consider it essential to reduce the importance of the peanut crop – a product which is only dedicated to sale- so as to increase those crops meant to self-consumption.
We carry out a nutritional research to be able to evaluate which are the crops that can provide the components they are in need of.
Once identified, we propose the farmers the introduction of the crop, and if the answer is positive, we get the necessary information about its viability on the spot, basing ourselves on climatic and quality of the soil information. The following step is to obtain quality seeds, which will allow them to obtain vigorous, healthy plants, adapted to the environment and that can be selected to keep some of them so that they can be used in the following season.
We support the farmers during the first growing cycles, so that they can benefit most from the resources that we offer to them, and we try to make the new food useful to the improvement of the diet of the whole family.