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Domaine Agricole de Néma (DAN)

Senegal: Mango production needs boost

The Senegalese company Domaine Agricole de Néma (DAN) was established in 1996 and started exporting produce in 2004. At first, the company exported mangoes to Germany. The company has an acreage of 92 hectares in the center of Senegal. DAN also has an additional acreage for the production of water melons and melons of 80 hectares, which was set up in 2010 in cooperation with Spanish investors.

For DAN, the season for mangoes lasts from May until June, even though other Senegalese growers have their season from July. The main reason for this difference in timeframe is that DAN is making extensive use of irrigation and modern equipment. For its production of watermelons, the company uses irrigation as well. The watermelon season starts in October and finishes in March.
"Our mango production is located in the Fatick region was finished early as we’ve started using two new tractors," says DAN CEO Aminata Dominique Diouf.

“To be honest, the Senegalese agricultural sector is too disorganized. Growers  have  to seek out their own clients which is different with some  exporters who are able to go to Fruit Logistica with the help of ASEPEX and CBI to find a client. Farmers produce fruit and then go looking for a market, but an efficient sector works exactly the other way around. In Diouf’s opinion, this lack of efficiency is a big and frustrating problem."

“European companies from countries like France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Spain and Russia settle here. They buy or rent the land in order to produce  fruits and vegetables for both international and local market.  They hire and involve the villagers in farming especially the youth. It provides job opportunities and experience in modern farming."

However, there is a huge difference between Senegalese producers and these European companies, especially with regards to price. For consumers, this is a good thing to buy cheaper, but the local growers suffer."

European farmers are able to get more than one hectare of the land and to decrease the price of the product in the market which is a good thing for large and extended families in Senegal. 

DAN has been working with Spanish investors intensively. There isn’t a real language barrier to speak of, as most representatives from Spain can speak French. There are also expats living in Senegal with over 20 years of experience in Senegalese culture and society. These experts provide advice for foreign companies.

Europeans investors are able to be registered through an organization called the CIES in order to understand the Senegalese market. 

Dominique added that the government supports only the production of rice and peanuts, less attention is being given to mango growers and produce.

"An example of this is the lack of involvement of the government like in the recent international meeting among African countries producing mangoes. The minister of agriculture couldn’t be bothered to attend though the trade minister was present."

Another major challenge for the Senegalese farming is the lack of modern farming education and cold stores. “Most Senegalese farmers work based on tradition. They lack the knowledge of modern technology, but rather grow their produce in the ways that their grandfathers used to do."

Diouf studied agriculture in Canada and after vocational training came back to Senegal in order to take the family farm. "I came back to Senegal to try and changes attitudes in agriculture. My father and I quickly realized that any change would only be possible if we work in partnership  with foreign investors. Most farmers don’t have the chance to go to school and are illiterate. We try to teach them how to apply irrigation, drive a tractor, how to pack fruits according to the international standard and how to produce according to modern standards. We try to provide technical education.”

Though Senegal is a distant country, transit times between Europe and Senegal aren’t that long. The main challenge for logistics has to do with the expensive transport costs. Again, the lack of any regulation by the Senegalese government is to blame.

In spite of these issues, Dominique is positive about Senegalese produce. “I think the best bet for our agriculture is to the educate youth in farming like the proper cultivation of produce in Senegal. I think the best bet for our agriculture is mangoes. Apart from Europe, there is also demand for our mangoes in North America. In the near future, I’m going to Canada to find ways to export,” concludes Dominique.

For more information:
Aminata Dominique Diouf
Domaine Agricole de Néma (DAN)
Tel: +221 33 889 87 12

Publication date: 9/22/2017


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