A Diourbel Region where farmers thrive while supplying abundant, diverse, and healthy plant and animal products based on ecological farming.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
The Millennium Institute and Biovision Foundation have been working in Senegal and collaborating with key stakeholders such as government officials, farmer groups and academic institutions for many years. The Government of Senegal has been using the Threshold-21 planning systems model developed by the Millennium Institute model since 2009, which contributed to the policy document “Etude Prospective Senegal 2035”. The Government of Senegal has used the Threshold-21 systems model for different areas, such as agriculture, energy, and climate change. Policy recommendations from the model were included in a strategic policy document of the government “Stratégie Nationale Faim Zéro Sénégal”. After using the Threshold-21 model for many years, the government has adopted an improved and extended version of the Threshold-21systems model, named the Integrated Sustainable Development Goal (iSDG) model, allowing the Finance and Planning Ministry to run policy scenarios comprising all 17 SGDs. Numerous multi-stakeholder meetings and events have taken place allowing policy dialogues to be established within different levels. Senegal’s central government has made a concerted effort to gradually decentralize and place more decisions in the hands of regional and local governments. Fitting with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2013 Plan Sénégal, regional and local governments are becoming increasingly responsible for investments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this context, the Millennium Institute and the Biovision Foundation are beginning work with institutions in Diourbel to localize SDG planning using systems models. These efforts will place strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture and food security and these issues are foundational to the attainment not just of SDG2 but of all 17 SDGs and to the future food security and sustainable development of Diourbel Region.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Diourbel is a region of Senegal with a population of about 1,500,000. Inhabitants of the area are called Bawol-Bawol, from the precolonial Kingdom of Bawol of the Serer ethnic group found in Senegambia. Other ethnic groups such as the Wolof, the major ethnic group in the country are also present. The region is largely rural, but with a growing urban population. Diourbel is situated in the Groundnut Basin area, dominated by groundnut cultivation. The other main economic activities include cultivation of tropical crops (millet, sorghum, maize, nuts) with some market-oriented production (peanut, sesame, cassava, watermelon); pastoralism with herds moving seasonally into sylvo-pastoral zones; trade that benefits from the geographical location of the region, halfway between the important areas of production and major centers of consumption; and craftsmanship, particularly pottery, for which the expertise of Diourbel's craftsmen is renowned. Agriculture is at the center of the economy. Diourbel has a warm semi-arid climate. It is year-long warm or hot. The average annual temperature is 27.9 °C and the mean annual rainfall is 539 mm. The level of food insecurity in the region is estimated at 46%. A Senegalese dish usually consists of cereals, fish or meat and a sauce, often spicy, to bind the two.
Soil types are the tropical ferruginous soils, sub-arid brown soils, underdeveloped non climatic soils and the acidified (tan) saline soils found along the Sine and Saloum Rivers. The arable land is 57% of the total national arable area.
Agricultural practices are characterized by the disappearance of fallows due to the high human pressure on land and the absence of policy to maintain soil fertility. This explains the multiple factors of land deterioration, amplified by extensive livestock activities that consume the few plants found and damage protected areas dominated by species of Combretaceae and Mimosaceae.
The livestock sector in Diourbel is characterized by extensive and semi-intensive agro-pastoral systems. The animals are fed by grazing supplemented by crop residues (rice straw, peanut tops, corn stalks, etc.).
Market gardens in Diourbel Region contributed for many years to supply Dakar’s market. However this production has deteriorated and is now reduced to a few localized sites. Agriculture sustainability is constrained by the following:
- lack of efficient water management
- land degradation, particularly as a result of poor farming practices and water and wind erosion
- difficult access to production factors
- low crop diversification
- lack of training among producers, and also the aging of the rural population.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Currently, food systems in Diourbel Region are facing three main interlinked challenges: food and nutrition security for vulnerable populations, lack of sustainability and resilience in agriculture worsened by the effects of climate change, and rural poverty. Those challenges are worsened by land access problems and deterioration of soils, water resources (in quality and quantity), and forests, and high use of pesticides. Agricultural practices are characterized by the disappearance of fallows due to the high human pressure on land and the absence of policy to maintain soil fertility. Whilst still important to the economy, groundnut production has reduced soil fertility to the extent that farmers are moving further inland as they look for new land for cultivation. Land deterioration is amplified by extensive livestock activities that consume the few plants found. Low productivity, poorly organized value chains and low competitiveness prevents a descent income for the rural population. Other constraints are the difficult access to production factors (inputs, equipment), low crop diversification, lack of education and training among producers, and the aging of the rural population. Looking ahead to 2050, agriculture and water resources are considered the two most vulnerable sectors to climate change. Predicted increase in temperature,30% reduction of rainfall, and more frequent and extreme droughts will accentuate declines in forage production and yields and worsen food insecurity. The vast majority of crops are rain-fed, making water availability one of the country's greatest future agricultural challenges. Following current trends, some of the major cash crops, such as groundnuts will tend to be abandoned due to poor soil conditions and climatic factors in favour of staple crops such as rice, millet sorghum. Until recently most government subsidies and agricultural extension services were directed to groundnut production but do not assist the transition to other cultivation methods. The importance of agriculture in the economy is very likely to decrease as current policies focus on economic growth based on the production of goods and services without taking into account the protection of the environment and the stability of the social network. All those challenges are interconnected and linked to other sectors, such as energy or infrastructure. National policies often fail to address those issues in an integrated way and rather favor isolated solutions. Addressing these multidimensional targets through coherent interventions required systemic thinking.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our vision for implementation of a sustainable agriculture and food system includes a policy decision making process using modern systems-thinking and scenario simulation tools that are inclusive and that support the scaling up and out of the many agriculture and food system innovations that have shown positive results. Our vision is also of new research and development institutions that will include farmers and consumers, and all sectors in between, including private sector, academia, civil society, connected and working together to tackle problems at the root cause and to develop sustainable solutions.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Our vision is of a Diourbel region, where thanks to supporting policies, farmers will supply the market with diverse, healthy plant and animal products, in sufficient quantity to assure self-sufficiency, while creating jobs and benefiting from restored ecosystem services that come from transformation to an agro-ecological food system.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Diourbel (Senegal) region’s agriculture and food system is facing major challenges with climate change, population and food demand growth that only a systemic, holistic and inclusive approach to policy development can overcome. Our vision for implementation of a sustainable agriculture and food system includes a policy decision making process using systems-thinking and modern scenario simulation tools and approaches, that are inclusive and which support the scaling up and out of the many agriculture and food system innovations that have shown positive results. Diourbel has limited water resources, much of the arable land is degraded and biodiversity lost, our vision is also of new research and development institutions that will include farmers and consumers at both ends of the food system, and all sectors in between, private sector, academia, civil society, connected and working together to tackle problems at the root cause and to develop sustainable solutions. Our vision is one of a Diourbel region, where thanks to supporting policies, farmers will supply the market with very diverse, healthy plant and animal products, in sufficient quantity to assure self-sufficiency while creating jobs and benefiting from the restored ecosystem services that come with the proposed transformation of the whole agriculture and food system to agroecology. With this approach, Diourbel will address and succeed not only Sustainable Development Goal # 2, but all 17 Goals, given their connectivity and the fact that agriculture and food have a very central role across all Sustainable Development Goals.