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Casamance, located in southwestern Senegal, has been involved in a struggle for independence since the 1980s. The Rural Development Support Project in Casamance (PADERCA) falls within the framework of the Economic and Social Activities Revitalization Program in Casamance, established by the Senegalese government since 2004 and aims at supporting the restoration of peace in this part of the country.
Launched in 2006, the project is being implemented in the Ziguinchor and Sédhiou regions, and it is focusing its interventions on the preservation and development of productive capital, such as water, soils and forests, which are seriously threatened. It has received USD 31 million in ADF financing.
Despite implementation delays, the project has so far achieved a large number of tangible results, which offer good prospects to improve the people’s living conditions, especially:
- six rehabilitated and productive banana perimeters on 105 ha of land;
- 82 pastoral completed or rehabilitated wells and equipped with watering trough;
- five completed anti-salt dykes and 19 dams, over 250 spillways constructed to protect and enhance almost 6,500 acres of land;
- more than 1,200 hectares of reforested land;
- 230 km of open firewall around community forests;
- 1,500 ha of regenerated mangrove; and
- 35 filtering dykes built.
Rice cultivation and related activities have resumed on 6,500 acres of reclaimed valley land, mobilizing close to 6,000 farmers. Thanks to quality seeds, training and extension, the additional annual rice production is around 6,000 tons and is expected to further increase.
The project has also made it possible to recommission the Djibelor research station and to carry out initiatives targeted at six product sectors: rice, bananas, mangoes, vegetables, oysters and non-timber forest products. The project has introduced 600 banana vitro-plants in acclimatization, for the progressive replacement of ageing plant material. To support the mango sector, the project has introduced biological control against fruit fly by importing 15,000 parasitoids bred and acclimated at the Djibelor centre. To replenish Casamance’s seed pool, the project has, in collaboration with the Senegalese Institute of Agronomic Research (ISRA), supported the production of pre-bases of 12 rice varieties adapted to different ecological levels.
Capacity Building and Ownership
To ensure the management, upkeep and maintenance of irrigation systems, the project has supported 65 management committees around 53 valleys. About 9,000 farmers and 300 groups, 26 percent of whom are women, are receiving training, advice and extension services for the mastery of production, processing, management and marketing techniques.
The rehabilitation of the irrigation system and the banana perimeter conditioning infrastructure has resulted in an increase in banana production of about 20 percent and a marked improvement in the marketing and competitiveness of the Sédhiou banana. Preserving the natural environment and nature have become very concrete realities in many places.
Education and Health
In the education and health domains, many facilities have been built:
- 150 fully equipped classrooms and another 30 are nearing completion;
- 68 school latrines; and
- three new health posts with 13 others under construction.
These operations have led to significant improvements in young people's access to education and health coverage in rural areas. They have also enabled the return of displaced people in some localities.
Other important activities underway include:
- 30 new gardening wells;
- seven arboricultural perimeters, a section of which will be equipped with solar pumps;
- four banana perimeters to be restored;
- 20 micro-projects dedicated specifically to vulnerable groups;
- a purchasing centre at Sédhiou for the banana sector; and
- service platforms in Bignona and the Ziguinchor port
With all these and future operations, the PADERCA is contributing in an effective manner to Casamance’s economic and social development and it is participating in the peace restoration process.