In Senegal, West Africa, imported rice from Asia is unloaded at Dakar docks. The port, one of the biggest in West Africa, receives over a million tonnes of imported rice every year. At first glance it’s a benign image – cheap food to feed hungry people. But just 200 kilometres to the north, locally grown rice is proving difficult to sell – despite the fact that it costs the same. Local livelihoods are at risk. Awa Faly Ba works for the International Institute for Environment and Development, a non profit organisation which promotes sustainable development. So why are local farmers struggling to compete? Some modernizers blame small scale family farms for being resistant to change but others argue that small farms can be extremely successful. In this episode of Earth Report we join Awa on a journey throughout rural Senegal to visit some of the country’s 440,000 small farms. As the government puts its finishing touches to the new agricultural policy Awa makes the case for investing in the African farmer and keeping it in the family.
Films in this series