First Person Blog

Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty

Senegal food crisis: Farmers speak out

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I recently visited the far eastern Kedougou region of Senegal, where inconsistent rains last summer led to a poor harvest in the fall. Since then food prices have shot up, and many there are struggling to find the food they need to survive each day, all the while worrying about how they will procure the seeds and other agricultural inputs they need to plant when the rains come, with any luck, in May or June. The farmers I met spoke about the struggle to feed their families and the concerns they have about the upcoming rainy season. They described the creative ways they have earned food money to make up for their poor harvest last fall, and what they need to be able to plant when the rains come. I was impressed with how resourceful the people are, how hard they work, and most of all by their determination to plant crops this year. However, all the farmers I spoke with were worried about finding the resources they need to plant– and eat– during the upcoming rainy season.

Please share this with others and contribute to our West Africa Food Crisis Fund. Oxfam is putting in place programs to help farmers in Kedougou and other areas of West Africa with seeds and other agricultural support, so they can plant this spring. We are also planning work that will help keep their drinking water clean and safe, and to provide food or short-term work for cash wages, so farmers will have food over the summer while they work their fields. With your help, we can expand this work to include as many people as possible and head off a major disaster.

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Oxfam is aiming to help 1.2 million people across seven countries with programs that include cash transfers and cash-for-work initiatives, veterinary care for the livestock on which many families depend, and access to clean water and sanitation. We are also campaigning to change the root causes of this crisis. Find out how you can support our efforts.

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