HE John Marshall and the Commercial Diplomacy Officer Marie Diop visit West Africa Farms in the Gnith Rural Community..
Since 2011 WEST AFRICA FARMS (WAF), a British agricultural holding in the Dagana Department, Saint-Louis Region has been employing over 600-800 villagers every day. They come from the 27 villages of the Gnith Rural Community which have access to water supply for agricultural purposes. Over 1,000 women leave the village of Yamane every day to work in WAF’s fields. WAF’s objective is to exploit 200 hectares and provide a significant number of women with financial independence, thus contributing to gender promotion. As regards the villagers who did not wish to work in WAF’s fields 100 hectares irrigated thanks to the 4-kilometer water pipeline built by the project have been put at their disposal. They are growing onion, sweet potato, water melon and melon. Farmers were trained in the use of pesticides with a view to preventing contamination and securing a good yield. This year the business intends to double its production with 6-9 irrigation pivots. The agricultural area is devoted to the production of green onions and radishes intended for export. As HE Excellency John Marshall, British Ambassador put it “Seasons in the UK are rather short. That is the reason why these businessmen had to find land abroad to supply supermarkets throughout the year. The development of the project is impressive and this is a good model of partnership”. Apart from onions WAF wants to purchase additional land and diversify its activities by growing beet and sweet potato. The business’ payroll of this spinoff enterprise of the G S Shorpshire Group is CFA40 million per month and they work on the basis of an 8-month season. WAF is paying social security contributions and employees are registered at IPRES (Pension Fund). The project invested a lot in the education and training fields and a health post is under construction.