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The Mile Between the Market and the Farm

By Todd Crosby

Continue reading the article in USAID FrontLines

Mamadou Doucouré was born in France of Senegalese parents. As an adult, he longed to rediscover his roots and return to his familial home. Diawara, his ancestral village, is located in Senegal’s extreme northeast near the sand-swept border of Mauritania, a far cry from the glitzy restaurants and vibrant nightlife of Dakar, let alone the boulevards of Paris.

Here, on the southern rim of the unforgiving Sahara Desert, food security is a matter of life and death. And here is where Doucouré found, through USAID, that he could make a difference in the quality of life for those in his ancestral community while building a successful business for his own family’s livelihood.

Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s flagship food security initiative, seeks to reduce poverty and hunger in places like Doucouré’s village by accelerating growth in the agriculture sector. Under the Feed the Future strategy, USAID/Senegal developed a project called Yaajeende, signifying “abundance” in the region’s Pulaar language, to respond to specific nutritional challenges in high-priority areas.

The project seeks to increase the amounts of nutritious foods being grown in these target zones as well as to improve the ability of the local people to use those foods to their maximum benefit. Rather than give handouts to local communities, the project improves the ability of private-sector companies to provide better products and services to these isolated areas.

“The mile between the market and the farm is the longest in terms of getting products, information and services down to the small producers who are often isolated in distant villages,” Doucouré said. “Working with USAID/Yaajeende, I can help companies bridge that gap and provide local farmers access to better products, services and information. Not only do I help companies sell products locally, but I work side by side with them to get the best results in the fields.”

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