Farming in Senegal is a risky business-and one that many Senegalese depend on for survival.
As we became involved in the lives of villages through our micro lending program, we learned about another segment of village life that was vital -and very precarious. Subsistence farming is a fact of life for many Senegalese and as in many other areas, farming is a struggle. Most farmers have to borrow at exorbitant rates if they want to buy seed and fertilizer and often end up in a cycle of debt from one year to the next.
We discussed this situation with friends, farmers and colleagues in Senegal and came up with our Seed Loan project. The farmer gets a loan of seed and fertilizer according to the size of his field and repays this loan after he has sold his harvest, either in seed and money, or in money, and with no interest.
We are now in our third season of seed loans and have achieved remarkable success with 100% loan repayment. Senegal has had good rainy seasons for the last two years which has helped the farmers tremendously. Another advantage that Andando has is our wonderful Senegalese partner, Diegane Ndiaye. Diegane works diligently with our loan recipients. Thank you Diegane for your hard work and commitment to these projects!
This year we are hoping for good steady rains again as we launch our biggest expansion of the Seed Loan Project so far. The community of Keur Soce and some smaller surrounding villages are the recipients of this year's seed project. With help from generous donors, Andando has been able to help over 40 farmers with seed and fertilizer.
Planting is happening right now in Senegal and this year there will be about 100 Andando fields! Thank you for your support of this great project. You have been instrumental in restoring dignity and hope to our farmers and their families.
( Photos above are from the recent seed loan distribution ceremony in Keur Soce.)