When it comes to eating rice, Aïssatou Gaye, the founder of Entreprise Aïssatou Gaye (EAG) in northern Senegal, is definitely a “locavore” – that is, a proponent for including more locally grown rice as part of a healthy and nutritious diet.
Soon she will be motivating and encouraging other Senegalese to do the same.
Mrs. Gaye is the Senegal recipient of USAID’s Policy Reform for Private Sector Investment Mobilization (PR4I) Small Grant Award. She’s using the award to organize the first local rice trade fair in Saint Louis with the support of the Senegal Feed the Future Program for Increasing Investment in Africa, implemented by Africa Lead.
Entitled the “The Senegal River Valley Rice Trade Fair,” the event will take place from July 4-6, 2019, in Saint Louis, Senegal at Place Abdoulaye Wade. The objective of the trade fair is to increase private sector, government, and the general public’s awareness about the importance of Senegal’s rice sector and the potential market opportunities by showcasing the different varieties of Senegal River Valley produced rice and the various actors involved in the rice sector value chain.
Senegal is one of the three African countries, along with Kenya and Tanzania, to benefit from grant funding for the PR4I initiative. Funded by the USAID’s Bureau for Food Security (BFS), the objective of PR4I is to motivate and promote private-sector investment in the agricultural sector to achieve the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals at the national and continental level.
The three-day Saint Louis River Valley Rice Trade Fair will feature exhibition stands, demonstrations on rice production – from paddy to commercialization, cooking demonstrations, recipes, and food tastings showcasing the quality, variety, and nutritional benefits of locally grown rice. There will also be panel discussions featuring the voices of the various actors in the rice sector: farmers, workers, processors, marketers, etc.
Achieving self-sufficiency through increased domestic rice production and increasing food security are core objectives of the government’s Plan for an Emerging Senegal economic development plan.
It is hoped that the Saint Louis Senegal River Valley Rice Trade Fair will increase awareness about the importance of Senegal’s rice sector, market opportunities and issues related to nutrition and food security. Also, that it will generate more private sector interest and investment in the country’s rice agricultural sector, and, also, encourage more people to adopt a “locavore”- eating locally- mindset.
Africa Lead will continue to support the PR4I Small Grants Award winner and the various partners with the trade fair organization, in particular with the organization of the panel discussions.