The story of Alioune
‘Market opportunities for local growers’
Alioune Ndiaye works for Agroseed, Rijk Zwaan’s seed distributor in Senegal. The quality of vegetables in this country is already acceptable, but many opportunities are still untapped. New quality standards and the introduction of new types and crops could significantly help local growers.
“In Senegal we eat a lot of vegetables, both in the afternoon and in the evening. We have the climate to produce high-quality vegetables; they are mainly traded by large foreign investors who export the products to Europe. Until recently, knowledge about horticultural practices was restricted to the agronomists at these big companies and it did not get passed on to the smallholders. But this situation is changing now: more and more Senegalese people are seeing the potential of horticulture and are becoming motivated to get involved.”
“Take melon, for example. Our climate makes it possible to produce from October through to Easter. The sun and the thermal amplitude are perfect for growing high-quality fruits with a very high sugar content. We’ve recently also started selling seeds to local growers.”
“To support them we’ve set up a demo field at Soleil Vert Gorome 1, where we showcase crops and varieties from the Rijk Zwaan range. It shows growers the diversity of vegetables and the added value of disease resistances and shelf life. With a better quality, they can also supply vegetables to the growing middle class and increase the possibilities for exporting to countries like Mauritania and Guinea.”
“My work is very rewarding. I really enjoy working with plants and in close collaboration with the growers. We recently started using assessment sheets which enable us to make the added value more concrete. This is important, because I only want to sell what I know to be good.”