News / Africa

Israel Teaches Irrigation Methods to Senegalese Farming Students

The university's agricultural training field is part of an ongoing cooperation between Israel and Senegal that began in 2006 and aims to reduce poverty through farming innovation.

Senegalese farming students get hands-on experience with drip irrigation in the university's Israeli-funded 'field school'
Senegalese farming students get hands-on experience with drip irrigation in the university's Israeli-funded 'field school'

Israeli and Senegalese officials inaugurated an agricultural training field for university students in Dakar as part of Israel's ongoing effort to share its agricultural expertise with African countries looking to raise farm productivity and reduce their dependence on imports.

On a large field in the middle of Dakar's sprawling Cheikh Ante Diop University campus, agricultural students tend tomato, cucumber and hot pepper plants.

In a drip irrigation network, holes in the long hoses deposit precise amounts of water to each sprout
In a drip irrigation network, holes in the long hoses deposit precise amounts of water to each sprout

It is not a typical Senegalese garden, but rather a "field school," where students have partnered with Israeli experts to learn innovative irrigation methods.  

Thin plastic hoses are threaded neatly into the lines of vegetable plants and swirled around the bases of mango, lemon and papaya trees. The hoses are connected to central water pumps, and small holes in the hoses over each sprout deliver precise amounts of water directly to the plant at prescribed intervals.

Drip irrigation

It is a system called drip irrigation, an Israeli invention, first developed in the 1960s, that is now a cornerstone of the country's agricultural diplomacy.

Israel is currently training farmers in the West African nations of Senegal, Ivory Coast and Gabon.

Standing in the university garden in Dakar, Israel's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Shalom Simhon, said irrigation technology is fundamental to farming in semi-arid environments, something Israel has learned firsthand in its desert climate.


He says drip irrigation is a very efficient use of water, and it allows farmers to respond to the specific needs of each plant without overwatering. The world is getting drier, he says, and water sources are becoming more scarce. Countries, he says, can not afford to rely only on rain for agriculture, and irrigation technology is essential.

Nearly 10 million people in the West African countries of Niger and Chad currently face severe food shortages brought on by erratic rains and poor harvests in 2009. Aid workers say poverty and lack of irrigation make farmers in the Sahel region vulnerable to even slight climate changes.

Simhon says improved farming practices, like drip irrigation and water recycling, have helped Israel conserve water and almost double its farming output in the last decade, leaving the country with a food surplus.

"Game-changers"

He says these technologies could be game-changers for African countries like Senegal that imports 80 percent of its food.

Botanist and head of the university's Plant Biology Department, Kandioura Noba, agrees.  He says farmers are currently dependent on rain, which allows only one harvest each year. With drip irrigation, he says, farmers can have as many as three harvests per year. Just imagine, he says, what this ability to farm year-round could do for Senegal.

Noba says the newly-inaugurated agricultural training field gives his students the chance to get hands-on experience with new farming technologies.

One such student, 26-year-old farmer Thierno Sow, said he was skeptical of the drip irrigation method at first, but the results have been nothing short of extraordinary.

Sow says when we installed the watering network ourselves and began to use it, I saw that it wasn't complicated. Once you set it up, he says you calculate the number of irrigation hours based on the stage of the plant and then make a calendar for the season. Then, all you have to do, he says, is turn on and off the water.  

Sow says drip irrigation is but one of the methods he has learned that he will take back to his community, but that is not all.

He says this training has given him a leg up in the job market. He says there are a lot of organizations looking for youth who are skilled in the latest farming technologies, environmental science and the exportation of crops.

The university's agricultural training field is part of an ongoing cooperation between Israel and Senegal that began in 2006 and aims to reduce poverty through farming innovation.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid