KAOLACK, Senegal -- Just to get it out of the way first: I am safe
and sound here in Kaolack, and for now it looks like the political
protesting will remain in Dakar and not travel to my region.
Furthermore, the NCBA has several contingency plans in place should the
need arise for me to leave. For now, I am safe and continue to spread
the word about soil fertility.
Today we traveled to a village about an hour drive from Kaolack. The
room started with 12 farmers. Once I showed up they packed the room
and packed the halls. This was not only a little overwhelming to me,
but overwhelming to some of the staff on the ground here as well. I
started the discussion with a simple question that many of us learned
about in sales training this past fall:
“Can you tell me about your farming operation?”
Then I simply guided discussion from there as the farmers sort of
lead me along the way. There was good interaction among all involved
and we all left today feeling as if a lot of good was accomplished. We
talked about everything from planting rate and depth, to compost, to
nitrogen application methods and timing. We even talked about the
importance of trees and what benefits they can provide.
The farmers asked me to discuss de-forestation and its impact on the
soil. I was expecting this to last an hour maybe two, but talks went so
well that we met for a whole 4 hours. Amazing! The day was finished
with a trip to the ladies garden, approximately 1 hectare in size. I
was asked any possible improvements that could be made to that. There
was a lot of bare soil and one of the things I noticed going onto the
village were large piles of peanut shells (those are one of the crops
they grow over here).
I suggested rather than just piling the shells by the trash piles
outside their village, they spread those out between the rows of
vegetable crops in the garden to act as a sort of compost. Similar to
how we use wood chips or grass clippings in our gardens back home.
Thanks to all of you once again!
BBC News - "Senegal anti-Wade protest: One demontsrator dies"
At least one person has been killed in the Senegalese capital during a
demonstration against President Abdoulaye Wade's re-election bid.
Police and thousands of opposition supporters clashed in the centre of the city on Tuesday evening.
Tear gas was fired and one student died when he was run over by a truck.
Earlier in the week, two people were shot dead during protests in a
northern town after a court ruled that Mr Wade's third-term election bid
Elections in the West African country - often held up as one of Africa's model democracies - are due on 26 February.
Ryan is an agronomist with Dodge City-based Servi-Tech. For more information on his trip or Servi-Tech, visit www.mp2.ag