Belange – Filling the food gap in Senegal

Traditionally the family have grown rice and peanuts, but Belange says the rainy season is not stable; sometimes there is too much rain and sometimes not enough. This year the fields flooded and the family only harvested half their normal yield of rice. So, Belange was keen to learn new ways of farming to fill the food gap.

“I went to the Ampa Awagna agricultural training camp last year and when I came back I straight away set up a market garden, pig farming and poultry breeding. Usually people who have just been trained specialise in one type of farming, but I wanted to get going with all three.”

Belange stands where the family’s typical annual pile of rice would reach – this year they only harvested half the normal yield of rice.

“The team thought I was dynamic so they invited me back to the Intensive Agricultural Camp; this was for 50 days from July to September last year. I learnt how to farm the land differently than I did before. Now I know how to measure the distance between the seeds, when to sow and how to use the fertiliser.”

Despite being heavily pregnant Belange works from 6 am to 6pm watering her vegetable farm and tending to her chickens and pigs.

“I’m growing tomatoes, peppers and chilli and I have much more output. For example in the past I would get three baskets of tomatoes and now I am getting five baskets with each production. And in one year I grew my poultry farm from 7 to 120 chickens – I did all this!”

“I am earning much more than I did before the training. This means we are proud. Our life is better now – we don’t need help from others or have to ask people for money.”

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All images credited: Paddy Dowling/Y CARE International

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