With its agricultural council network, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is prominent in East Africa, but hardly ever in West Africa. Due to the need for agricultural developments in this part of Africa, the network is being expanded here.
Bram Wits started as an agricultural council for the countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria in 2018. His location is in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The working area of Niek Schelling has now been expanded with Senegal. He has been an agricultural councillor in the country since last fall and was previously in Morocco.
Sales of Dutch onions
Senegal is an important country for the Dutch onion trade. Senegal is at the top of the list of countries outside Europe where onions from our country is sent to.
The country is interesting as a market for the Dutch agri-food sector and not just for onions, says Schelling. “The input of The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in the coming years is mainly aimed at further developing agricultural production in the country itself. There is potential,climate and soil quality are excellent, especially for horticultural crops. In the long term, Senegal can become a major producer of food crops for the whole of West Africa. "
Green beans and potatoes
Dutch growers have already discovered Senegal. A number of them produce green beans and potatoes, mostly in joint venture with local entrepreneurs. This cooperation is necessary to be able to rent or buy land. The beans are mainly exported to the Netherlands and then partly exported to neighboring European countries.
"The challenge now is to increase production on farms of Senegalese farmers," says Schelling. “There is a great need for starting materials, fertilisers, agricultural equipment and, last but not least, knowledge. Dutch suppliers can play a role in this. "
Losses in the chain
The post-harvest losses are big in Senegal. When it comes to onions, the loss is around 45%. Lack of good storage and transport facilities is the main cause of this. With refrigerated storage and better transport, the loss can be reduced to 5%.
Schelling: “Reducing losses is important for food security and also for the producers' income. Farmers who can store their products for a longer period of time are less dependent on the market price in high season. "
Processing and packaging
Support for the further development of horticulture is high on the priority list of agricultural council. Schelling: “This involves the entire chain from knowledge transfer to farmers to storage, processing and packaging of products. Expertise is also needed in the field of transport, market development and export."
Many mangoes are also produced in Senegal. Due to pests and diseases, production is at a relatively low level, while according to Schelling, Dutch fruit importers are very interested in Senegalese mangoes. “Dutch traders place high demands on imported fruit. The presence of insects and pesticide residues is not appreciated. This requires the use of biological crop protection agents. A company like Koppert can play a role in this. "