Dakar, Senegal — ICCO Cooperation and the Mastercard Foundation have joined forces to support smallholder farmers in Senegal who were left reeling from the impact of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Agrifinance Project (CORRAP), co-created with Senegalese producers, aims to support smallholders to recover from the pandemic and emerge stronger and more resilient to future crises and shocks.
The strategy relies on producer organizations and actors in agricultural value chains working together to help increase agricultural productivity, and to increase the empowerment of producers, including young people and women.
“For smallholder farmers to thrive, there is an urgent need for increased investment in the production of adapted certified seeds by strongly supporting research institutes like the Institut Sénégalais de Recherche Agricole (ISRA). By doing so, smallholders in synergy with the value chain actors will make a sustainable contribution to food and nutrition security in Senegal,” said Idrissa BA, ICCO Cooperation’s Country Lead in Senegal.
The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Project (CORRAP) will see several stakeholders (ICCO Cooperation, the Mastercard Foundation, producer organizations, stakeholders in the rice, millet, sorghum, maize and cowpea value chains, as well as potato and onion producers) combine their efforts to facilitate:
(i) Sustainable access to quality inputs for smallholder farmers;
(ii) Continuous quality e-training and capacity building services through the digitization of agricultural value chains; and
(iii) Efficient access to market through the use of digital services to connect producers directly to consumers.
“Now more than ever, we need a concerted effort to start the rebuilding process and strengthen the resilience of local farmer groups and producer organizations as the first step to recovery. Our partnership with ICCO Cooperation is the beginning of this process for farmers in Senegal. By leveraging technology, we are enabling access to quality input and markets as well as developing the efficiency of the entire value chain,” explained Nathalie Akon Gabala, Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa.
An anticipated 80,000 smallholder farmers across 11 regions in Senegal will benefit from the project as their resilience is strengthened and their resources are mobilized to produce in the next two agricultural campaigns.
“The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Project, co-created by the Mastercard Foundation and ICCO, is perfectly aligned with Senegal’s agricultural policy, especially with the strategy outlined in the framework of the Agricultural Program for Sustainable Food Sovereignty. Indeed, it will contribute not only to the objective of strengthening the productive bases, but most importantly, promote the digitization of agricultural value chains while strengthening the capacities of producer organizations and their networks,” said Mr. Issa BARRO, Technical Advisor of the Senegalese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment.
The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Agrifinance Project is a two- and half-year program, with a commitment of USD 3.38 million from the Mastercard Foundation. Partners in this project include farmers networks, producer organizations, digital products providers, and other relevant stakeholders such as public agricultural agencies, business development services, financials services providers, and MSMEs.
About ICCO Corporation
ICCO Cooperation is an independent global NGO, established in 1964 in The Netherlands, with 20 offices in Latin America, Asia and Africa, among which is Senegal. The aim of ICCO is to build sustainable agricultural systems and secure the livelihoods and rights of smallholder farmers and businesses in low and middle-income countries. In particular, our projects increase the food and nutrition security of women and youth and expand their income and job opportunities. Our primary focus is on SDG 2 and 8. www.icco-cooperation.org
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
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