In Senegal, horticulture is dominated by smallholder farmers. They struggle with low incomes due to the low capacity of farmer groups, lack of skills for production and quality control, limited access to markets, unstable prices and unsatisfactory infrastructure in rural areas. It is to combat this that JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) intends to support market-oriented agricultural projects for smallholder farmers or "SHEPs". This approach consists of a four-step process: sharing the vision with horticultural producers, creating opportunities by encouraging the producers to identify themselves the needs to improve their income, and support for the self-determination of an action plan and the provision of technical assistants on the basis of the needs expressed by the producers. According to JICA's senior advisor, Nakamura Hirotaka, "Smallholders are now thinking strategically and taking steps to increase the income of their horticultural products."
This action is timely for the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck who said that horticulture is a priority sector that generates many jobs. "It is considered in ‘the program to accelerate Senegalese agriculture,’ (PRACAS) as a priority sector for better food security. That is why the SHEP project is of great importance to the government. It is about building the capacity of the actors, an indispensable condition to increase productivity, "the minister said. "In an era of market turbulence, we need to find the right tools and provide them to the actors. The problem of agriculture is that 30% is in the fields and 70% outside the fields. This shows that ignorant productivism makes it impossible to increase production. Achievements have been recorded in the SHEP project, with agriculture that meets the market’s requirements and has a lasting impact on our environment ".