One farming network doubles down on doubled yields from Conservation Farming

Sadakh Senghor Millet 500 333 f7cb2Sadakh Senghor Millet 500 333 f7cb2Sadakh Senghor displays a long stalk of millet in front of his large harvest, grown with conservation farming techniques.Sadakh Senghor, a farmer in rural Senegal, doubled his yields the first year he applied conservation farming techniques to his field. After that, he couldn’t believe everyone wasn’t doing it. So in 2011 when he was elected president of his farming network—a producer group encompassing 22 villages in Djilor commune in Senegal—he made it a requirement.

For the last six years, he has continued to be president of what is now called the Conservation Farming Network. In 22 villages, the network has 443 members—almost one-fifth of whom are women.

Sadakh first learned conservation farming back in 2009 as part of NCBA CLUSA’s previous USAID-funded Wula Nafaa project in the region. After the end of the project in 2013, the farming network they developed continued on and expanded conservation farming in their region. Living in Gagué Chérif, a town of 1,100 about an hour from the regional capital Kaolack, he heard about a new NCBA CLUSA led project in the region and wanted to partner again.

The USDA-funded Millet Business Services Project (MBSP) had started up in his region specifically focusing on millet. Sadakh saw an opportunity to continue to support and train his farmer organization members with conservation farming techniques.

“As President of the Conservation Farming Network, I facilitated numerous meetings and training sessions organized by the project for the benefit of our members,” Sadakh said.

In Sadakh’s view, the continued training for new members on conservation farming strengthens the gains of the entire farmer network, including increased yields and soil fertility management. The partnership with USDA MBSP promises good prospects for producers not only for millet production but also after the conservation farming, how to effectively process quality millet.

Sadakh has been producing compost for the past three years for his three hectares of conservation farming fields. He said he continued to use the techniques for three obvious reasons: increased crop yields, efficient use of seeds and fertilizers, and a more rational management of cropland. “It is necessary to make a case to the authorities that the technique should be applied by all the producers of the country,” he said.

With 16 dependents in his household, the increased yields meant Sadakh was harvesting over 1 ton per hectare, enough to feed his family and sell surplus on the market.

“The main problems I face as a producer and president of the Conservation Farming Network is how to replace old agricultural equipment like our seed drill, to get new agricultural equipment like a tractor and combine harvester and to get a mill for the region and network,” Sadakh said.

But he says he has confidence in the farming network, and the workforce will continue to increase and be profitable. With the support and training, they will be able to pool together to bring these resources to the network.

“I have hope for the future because I am convinced that the support of the project will help our organization to go beyond,” Sadakh said.


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