At the end of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Wulaa Nafaa project in 2013, farmers across Senegal had been trained in conservation agriculture techniques. Knowing formal project support was ending, 12 of the conservation farming groups formed during the project came together to become the Keur Samba Gueye network.
The Keur Samba Gueye network, bringing groups together near the Gambian border, was formed officially in 2011 with support from the USAID Wulaa Nafaa project, which NCBA CLUSA implemented. After testing conservation farming in 2010, which yielded very good results, the 12 producer groups decided to connect themselves in a network to preserve the assets because the project had helped put them in touch with a financial institution to facilitate access to credit. When the project officially ended in 2013, the network was strong enough to continue supporting its member groups with technical assistance on its own. The gains from using conservation agriculture on their farms was helping to address food security in their communities.
Since August 2016, NCBA CLUSA has was working in partnership with the USDA, specifically in the millet sector with the Millet Business Services Project (MBSP or PSEM in French). Today, the USDA | PSEM is the main partner of the network. Using conservation agriculture helps to regenerate arable land and increase millet yields. With a strong local organizing partner, supporting the millet value chain meant technicians and coaches could easily reach farmers through the network.
Today the Keur Samba Gueye Network includes 30 Producer organization with a total membership of over 500 farmers. The USDA MBSP Project supports the network by facilitating access to credit and technical support for members and ensuring the respect of technical itineraries through training on technical production routes, post-harvest activities, organizational dynamics, administrative and financial management.
The network has an office does credit research, a marketing commission, a commission responsible for the recovery of auditors and a technical device responsible for monitoring parcels. The network manages to finance acres of millet on a clean basis by giving seed, fertilizer and after harvest the producer pays in kind. In partnership with one another, the producer organizations have access to a dynamic and committed team.
“The network contribute to the economic and social development of the local area,” said Elhadj Biteye, the Keur Samba Geuye Network President. “We are working in symbiosis with the municipal authority and we currently employ a manager, and 10 facilitators and field activity monitors that collect data for our network partners.”
Six years later the network continues on track, and is continuously looking to partner to improve management and structure. All this has been made possible thanks to the good management of the network, but also and especially to the strong leadership of its leaders and their good vision.
“The partnership with the MBSP (PSEM) project has enable the network to increase membership,” said Biteye. “Also, the construction of a warehouse to store millet is in progress because of the advice, trainings and support of the technical coaches. This all contributes to increase the good reputation of the network with the producers in the area.”