The SVG approach allows refugees to become agrobusiness men or women, say its supporters. Photo: Amanda Fortier
'Super vegetable garden' enables Mauritanian refugees to run agribusinesses
13th January, 2012
An innovative gardening project along the river basin in Northern Senegal is helping hundreds of Mauritanian refugees address issues of food and economic insecurity and allowing them to integrate into Senegalese society
Mariema Niang walks through her vegetable garden in Wendou Bosséabe, a refugee camp over 500 kilometers northeast of Senegal’s capital city Dakar. It is late in the afternoon and the prickly midday heat is just started to subside. Niang crouches to the ground, adjusts a couple rocks that are holding down a thin white veil and pulls it taut around the long, narrow plot of soil.
'This veil protects our cucumber seeds,' she indicates in a broken French. She points up to the sun and then motions towards the adjacent rows. They are overflowing with tall, leafy green stalks. Ears of corn are peering from their sedgy stems, and delicate blossoms of red and white hibiscus are poking out from their spindly branches. At the end of each garden are colorful plastic bins. They are piled high with mounds of fresh and dried okra.
Niang is president of this 'super vegetable garden' (SVG), an agricultural project developed by the French organization Jardin Tropical Semences (JTS). The one-hectare area of land here at Wendou Bosséabe holds eighteen vegetable gardens, tended by 100 women – eighteen Senegalese and eighty-two Mauritanian refugees. Niang is from the latter group. Twenty-two...
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