In the framework of the PPAT&RD project, the ISRA/CNR team traveled, in February 2020, 23 valleys of Casamance to conduct a survey on the performance of production systems. This activity was to be followed by a follow-up survey in 18 other valleys during March to establish the baseline for performance monitoring.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic upset the entire program. Due to the closure of borders, this investigation was not conducted. This would have had a negative impact on the activities of the 7000 rice farmers benefiting from the PAPSENPAIS project. They would have been in danger of finding themselves without technical assistance at the beginning of the next agricultural year scheduled for July.
The PAPSEN/PAIS initiative consists of two programmes, PAPSEN and PAIS, and a number of related projects, including PPAT&RD. With a budget of over 60 million euros, it represents the most important collaboration initiative between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipement (MAER) of Senegal and the Italian Cooperation.
Different regions, one objective
The initiative has one main objective: fighting poverty in the agricultural sector through the innovation of production systems and the simultaneous implementation of infrastructure works for the evolution from food security to economic security. However, this initiative, which covers six regions of Senegal, does not follow a single model but is adapted to the specific agricultural potential for each region.
It is active in horticulture at the level of the regions of Diourbel, Fatick and Thiès, which are areas with a strong horticultural vocation while supporting the rice producers of the valleys of Sédhiou and Kolda and those of the region of Kaolack for the pluvial rice farming.
The communication/assistance network PAPSENPAIS SENEGAL
The PPAT&RD mission is to provide technical assistance to rice farmers in the Casamance valleys and to ensure support for horticulture in the central regions through horticultural research and the training of producers.
In this context, it was clear that the traditional assistance model was, not only inadequate to reach the rice farmers on the ground, but also obsolete because it was not able to fully exploit technological innovations to strengthen the role of 7000 women involved in farming rice.
In two months we rethought the organization and the role of each to adapt it to the new vision that moves the center of gravity of the project towards the valleys. We have thus developed the multidirectional communication system to adapt and make more effective assistance to rice farmers.
Web site PAPSENPAIS SENEGAL
The PAPSENPAIS SENEGAL website is the last of the tools put in place. It is also the most important because it represents the service platform where it is possible to find all the available information on the PAPSENPAIS initiative. It also provides training and assistance to both the members of the operational structure and the rice farmers.
Alongside the websites PAPSENPAIS SENEGAL and PAIS, a Facebook page Project PPAT & RD Casamance Senegal was created as well as a Youtube channel PAPSENPAIS AT&RD SENEGAL, KOBO APP for tablets, WhatsApp groups and Skype conferences.