27/03/2011 - Nicolas de Reforest'Action
Mamadou Diouf is the vice president of the Dantakhoune group working on the reforestation project in Saloum, Senegal. He summarizes the goal of the project : to promote sustainable rural development through reforestation.
« We are as volunteers. By assisting, we are showing the federation that we are dedicated to the project. And in doing so, we hope to improve our living conditions. ».
The 40 farmers in Mamadou Diouf's group understand the value of trees and are conscious of the income they will provide over the long term. « I have 400 trees, Mamadou tells us as he points to the tree lot closest to him . I have mango trees and citrus trees in the orchard, and also orange trees and cashew trees a bit further. Together, they earn between 500,000 and 2 millions fcfa per year (between 750 € and 3 000 € ). The trees allow me to diversify my harvest and my family finds uses for all the products of the trees. For example we use the dried tree leaves and flowers to make tea. »
The fruits and the leaves are not the only useful parts of the trees. The villagers find practical uses for the trees and all of their components : « We plant the eucalyptus trees as a border around the crop fields. After 5 years, we can use its branches as poles to support the thatched roofs on our huts. Each pole is worth 1000 fcfa ! ».
So the federation of farmers is engaged in an innovative and promising adventure : « The trees planted here will help solve the energy problems here. We need electricity to improve our quality of life ». For local households, wood is the only source of energy. This puts a great strain on the surrounding forests that cannot sustain the village indefinitely. Jatropha hedges, planted by the farmers to protect their fields produce seeds that are pressed to make oil at the local cooperative. The resulting oil serves as a fuel for electric generators used to power small farm machines: a true revolution !
The reforestation project EESF is working on all fronts of sustainable development : environment, energy, education, drinking water, agriculture, etc. The village farmers keep everything going. Mamadou Diouf told us with determination : « We can count on the trees, their products and services to advance ».