Building Food Forests in Senegal

Last year, Lignaverda’s team in Senegal did a tremendous job by reforesting more than 2000 ha in the Great Green Wall communities of Syer and Labgar. This year, the team once more takes up the challenge and works together with people of the communities of Syer and Mboula to restore the landscape of another 2140 ha of degraded semi-arid land.

Around 1140 ha is being reforested on the plots of Kalom (600 ha), Nassy (240 ha) and Bockineddo (300 ha). Sidy Dior Ka, the mayor of Syer whom we know and have collaborated with since our first reforestation project in 2019, was thrilled by our question of whether his community would accept another reforestation project this year.

“We warmly welcome Lignaverda’s reforestation plans in Syer community. The forests provide jobs and will secure the future for our children” — Sidy Dior Ka, mayor of Syer.

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Mboula is a new intervention area for Lignaverda. The Mboula community is situated in the Louga region, southeast of Syer and southwest of Tessékéré (where plots were reforested in 2022). Unlike other communities with whom Lignaverda has collaborated, the people from Mboula preferred to reforest 5 plots of 200 ha, rather than 2 larger plots of e.g. 500 ha, because of prevailing livestock migration routes. 

After extensive site visits and talks with the people, village leaders and the mayor of Mboula, the following 5 plots were selected for reforestation in 2024: Wendou Mouthiétéki, Wouro Séno, Boboral, Mbéloné Kaadié, Kodiolal.

Thanks to the hard and pro-active work of the Lignaverda team in Senegal, and the continued good collaboration with the Senegalese Great Green Wall agency (ASERGMV) under the cooperation agreement that was signed in 2022, already in February, ploughing had started in both Syer and Mboula. This combined with the relentless efforts of the people of Syer and Mboula adds another 2140 ha of forest to Senegal’s Great Green Wall in 2024.

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2024 also marks the year in which Lignaverda consolidates its socio-economic forest support program. In 10 years’ time, people will literally reap the fruits of the newly planted trees. However, young, fragile tree seedlings cannot grow into a mature forest unless people take care of them until they are mature. Widespread poverty is preventing them from doing so.

This is why Lignaverda – in collaboration with the Belgian partner organisation Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO) – has set out a pilot horticultural project in which irrigated crops are produced within the protected forest areas. This will provide people with the means and incentives to continue to protect their trees. At the same time, micro-entrepreneurial training programs and forest management capacity building initiatives will from now on be performed on each of the new forests created by Lignaverda in Senegal.

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The climate G-Stic subsidy granted by the Flemish Government to Lignaverda’s “Let’s make the Desert Green” project is an enormous boost to our socio-economic program. In partnership with OVO, the project will further build capacity and provide loan-based support for horticultural crop production based on state-of-the-art water harvesting techniques. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Flemish Institute for Technological Development (VITO), climate forecast models will be developed to guide horticultural calendars of sowing and harvesting.

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