Viet Nam to cultivate the art of rice growing in Senegal

Vietnamese farming specialists have arrived in Senegal to help work on small water irrigation schemes, raising small livestock, aquaculture projects and rice production under FAO's Special Programme for Food Security, that is the thrust of the post-Summit strategy.

Growing rice is something of a Vietnamese art form. And in this, and other activities such as vegetable cultivation, teams are likely to demonstrate the potential of motor-driven pumps made in Viet Nam, that can even operate from rafts and inside boats.

"The pumps are efficient and easy to maintain," said FAO specialist Jacques Strebelle. " They can also be quickly converted to produce electricity in rural areas to supply mills and power small fishing boats. And the bottom line is that they are much cheaper than European or Japanese makes."

The Vietnamese are also likely to supply nylon lining material for small irrigation channels to save much-needed water. Some specialists say that Asian techniques of small-scale irrigation have much to offer farmers on the African continent.

Some 120 specialists will eventually arrive to work over a two- to three-year period, with most of them working in the fields with local farmers and their associations. But the learning is not all one-way. "They will also have to learn about Africa and its specific farming ways," says Strebelle.

South-South cooperation is an important part of the Special Programme that aims to increase food production in low-income food-deficit countries and now includes 18 states. Similar country-to-country help is under negotiation between other countries, including China and Ethiopia.

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