Food for Work beneficiaries fight salt-colonization
Published on 6 September 2011

WFP Senegal Country Director Inge Breuer with anti-salt barriers in the background. WFP/ Paulèle Fall.

On 17 August, WFP West Africa Regional Director Thomas Yanga and Senegal Country Director Inge Breuer traveled to Fayil village in the Fatick region of Senegal to visit the anti-salt barrier and salt iodization projects taking place there. They received a warm welcome from the beneficiaries of both projects.

“With the support of WFP, this project has allowed us to resume rice cultivation,”said Ngor Sarr, president of the association “Niokhtor” and leader of PAPIL, an organization in support of small-scale local irrigation and a project partner of WFP. “For the past 40 years, this was not possible. The soil was almost completely colonized by salt,” he said.

While the communities built the anti-salt barriers, PAPIL provided technical assistance and WFP provided food commodities to the community through Food for Work. In 2010 and 2011, WFP distributed close to 200 tons of food to the beneficiaries of the project, who had planted more than 20 hectares of land with 3,415 plants.

“WFP is proud to have been involved in this project that has allowed the people of Fayil to become rice producers once again. Rice is the staple food of Senegal and its production will help in the fight against hunger ,” said Thomas Yanga, who coordinates WFP’s activities across 19 countries in West and Central Africa.

“If the beneficiaries and WFP don’t give up their hard work, the people of Fayil can be self-sufficient in 2 or 3 years. They can even be producing a surplus,” said Yanga, adding that it is a sense of pride from the beneficiaries that underlies the success of the project.

The delegation also visited the salt iodization project, which has generated additional income for the women involved. The group started in 1996 and is made up of 79 women. According to the group’s president Ndiaye Ngom, the group produced 780 tons of salt in 2010, of which 30 tons was bought by WFP for the school-feeding programme.  After listening to the concerns of the women, Yanga promised to respond positively to their requests for equipment including gloves, shoes and masks.

In addition to generating income, WFP and its partners want to reduce iodine deficiency through the increased production of iodized salt. Senegal aims to eradicate iodine deficiency by 2015.