Underneath the blistering African sun and seventy kilometers northeast of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, ten vegetable gardens with green leafy vegetables line a highway to the nearby Keur Madaro village. Super Vegetable Gardens aims to help small-scale farmers throughout Senegal and in tropical areas around the world by tackling food security, poverty and climate change. A collaborative agriculture project launched last June by international aid organization Pro-Natura and JTS Seeds has seen 150 gardens sprout throughout the country a year later. Each farmer is given a starter kit, containing soil conditioners, fertilizers, and an array of organic, non-genetically-modified seeds for fruits and vegetables including cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and melons.
Guy Reinaud, president of Pro-Natura sheds some light on caring for the garden:
“It is very, very new. The only obstacle is linked to the type of person taking care of the garden. It works exceedingly well technically, but you have to spend two hours per day to feed a family of ten people.”
Biochar a charcoal powder originating in the Amazon rainforest is another innovation of the super vegetable garden project, as the powerful soil conditioner has the capacity to increase crop productivity, reduce water consumption and even act as carbon sinks to absorb and store CO2 from the atmosphere.
[via Voice of America]