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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.