Climate Change

Food heroes in Senegal are strengthening agri-food systems and bringing tangible benefits to their communities


Now is the time to act if we want to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today as we celebrate World Food Day 2021, countries around the world are dealing with the widespread effects of multiple crises, including climate change.

Solutions exist: solving adaptation to solve food security and nutrition

While building towards COP26 and beyond, international collaboration offers fundamental opportunities to support our food heroes on the frontlines. The Ministry of International Relations and Francophonie of Quebec (Canada) (MRIF) has been collaborating with the Governments of Senegal and Haiti, and FAO since 2019 to implement the Strengthening Agricultural Adaptation (SAGA) project that supports agricultural adaptation planning for food security and nutrition.

“World Food Day is an important reminder that FAO, which was founded in Quebec City more than 75 years ago, is a close and important partner for the Government of Quebec, allowing us to participate in the multilateral efforts to tackle food and nutrition insecurity, and implement the Paris Agreement.”

- Jean Lemire, Envoy for Climate Change, Northern and Arctic Affairs of the Government of Quebec

In Senegal, the SAGA project is supporting efforts to transform agriculture and food systems. Just a few weeks ago, key stakeholders from the government of Senegal and the SAGA project gathered to validate the strategy to implement Senegal’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to help farmers to adapt to climate change. “This work will allow us to intensify efforts to align agricultural development objectives with climate change commitments made by our country” says Mr Boubacar Dramé, Technical Advisor for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment.

Food heroes are taking concrete actions on the ground    

This year, World Food Day celebrates food heroes working to strengthen our agri-food systems towards better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life for all. 

In Haiti and Senegal, climate change poses an immediate and serious threat to food security and nutrition by amplifying climate hazards and accelerating environmental degradation. This is particularly alarming in rural areas, where the main source of staple foods and income is family farming.

Some of the adaptation measures put forward by the Senegalese government are already having an impact on the ground thanks to the SAGA project. Joséphine Ngoné Faye, a 29 year-old farmer from the Thies region, participated in a Farmer Field School (FFS) on resilient vegetable farming and entrepreneurship in collaboration with SAGA partner, Mer et Monde. She is now a newly graduated FFS facilitator and hopes that by training other young farmers, she will show them that agriculture still has career opportunities to offer, “in a context where climate change is making agriculture even less attractive to young people, these FFS will encourage us to counter rural exodus.”

Like Joséphine, many farmers trained under SAGA project, are now disseminating knowledge on climate change within their communities, empowering others to become agents of change.

On the other side of the country, in the Matam region, the Integrated Garden of Resilience developed by SAGA partners, the Centre d’Étude et de Coopération Internationale (CECI) and the Fédération des Associations du Fouta pour le Développement (FAFD), continues to draw attention. Built in the village of Oudalaye, the garden has offered a place to experiment and learn about adapted farming practices. Today, it provides fresh vegetables and fruits to more than 200 inhabitants.

Salamata Ndongo, a mother and farmer working in the garden, is now more confident for the future of her children: “If our children take over the garden after us, their future will be better. The project arrived when we needed it the most.”

Working together to put the 2030 Agenda back on track

As it prepares to enter its last year, the encouraging results already obtained in Senegal are motivating FAO, MRIF and their partners to intensify efforts. Since 2019, the SAGA project has trained 719 farmers, 470 of which are women, in resilient agricultural practices and sustainable natural resources management.

The SAGA project shows that food heroes come in many shapes and sizes. They can be farmers, government officials, young entrepreneurs, community leaders or researchers. They can be women or men, young or older, and all committed to creating a food secure future for people and the planet.

Happy World Food Day!

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