Improving Production in Senegal through Value Chain Approaches

December 19, 2014

USAID/Senegal’s Projet Croissance Economique (PCE), or Economic Growth Project, is a Feed the Future initiative targeting smallholders involved in Senegal’s rice, maize, and millet value chains. Jean-Michel Voisard, PCE’s Chief of Party, presented lessons learned from the project’s work at the December 16th MPEP seminar.

Key takeaways gained through PCE’s experience are valuable to other initiatives that are strengthening agricultural value chains: 

  • Differing pathways or approaches can lead to models that take into account the local context and promote project success, even within the same country.
  • The value chain financial risk management system is integral for acquisition of inputs.
  • Crop insurance and quality control of outputs are crucial to the risk management system.
  • Bottom-up empowerment throughout value chains enables growth, improves yields, and leads to other benefits for smallholder producers. 

The presenter gave examples of two value chain models that were implemented in different Senegalese regions as a result of contextual variation: one for the irrigated rice value chain in the Senegal River Valley, and one for the rain-fed maize value chain along the south Saloum. 

Access to inputs is a key concern for farmers, Voisard explained. They are focused on selling crops to repay bank loans, which in turn allows them to qualify for credit to purchase inputs for the following year. The PCE model in the Senegal River Valley focused on strategies to address the issue of input insecurity by creating a contract between banks, millers, and producers as a step toward improving market outcomes. As a result, famers experienced a 20 percent increase in profits and greater price stability, which enabled them to repay loans faster, access credit, and plant two crops per year. 

In the south Saloum region, the market wasn’t as well developed for maize. The project here re-interpreted and implemented an existing model that was based on the local cotton industry, where a farmer cooperative was created to coordinate the acquisition of inputs, loans, insurance, and more. This model was also successful, leading to a double in yields, a loan reimbursement rate of 98 percent, and less price fluctuation.

To learn more about this event, please visit the event resources page for the recording, transcripts, and PowerPoint slides. You can also check out our Greenroom Interview with the presenter below.