Life has been hard, sometimes extremely hard, for Omar Diamanka. Less than a year ago, he had difficulty covering his family’s expenses. “I was sometimes obliged to go into debt, even only to buy tea,” he says. “There were times when the fish sellers came, I would not buy anything, because I was so indebted to them that I had difficulty showing up,” Diamanka continues.
Selected by ANCAR as a beneficiary of the Feed the Future Senegal Dundël Suuf project, he received training and then seeds and fertilizers from the project to start a market garden.
For the past eight months, he has been farming a small plot of land of 0.25 hectares (ha), next to the family home. He produced okra during the last off-season, and okra and chili during the rainy season. Diamanka tested out a new fertilizer application method, called microdosing, that involves applying small doses of fertilizers directly to a crop “hill” rather than the traditional practice of spreading fertilizers across an entire field by hand.
With Dundël Suuf, a smile is guaranteed!
“I harvested 325 kilograms (kg) of okra from the microdosing plot, compared to 204 kg from the traditional practice plot, for a total income of 900,000 CFA francs.”
Diamanka says he has seen a lot of value in the Dundël Suuf project in terms of increased yields and fertilizer savings, which has enabled him to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
“Since I started this activity last year, until now, I thank God. I have enough money to buy rice and cooking oil and to provide healthcare for my entire family,’’ Diamanka says.
To spread his success, he travels to surrounding villages on his motorbike to advise market gardeners on the microdosing technique and Dundël Suuf.
My diet has improved a lot, and I take care of my family’s health.
Today he is a happy man who appreciates the impact of the Dundël Suuf project on his life. “When the fish sellers arrive now, I buy large quantities for my family; when I go to Kolda, I buy fish or meat when I return. All these are things I couldn’t afford before,’’ he says.
In recent months, Diamanka has started to diversify his sources of income. He has invested in a small business selling tea, sugar, oil and various other food products.
“There has been a huge change in my life,’’ says Diamanka.