COMMUNITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE AGRICULTURAL FARM OF THE INTERPROFESSIONAL UNION OF AGRO-PASTORALISTS OF THE DISTRICT OF RAO (UIAPR) OF GUELAKH (SAINT-LOUIS)

Programme CIDEL, Min de la Gouvernance Territoriale du Développement et de l'Aménagement du Térritoire

Abstract


This video illustrates the experience of the Interprofessional Union of Agro-Pastoralists of the district of Rao (UIAPR). The experience started in 1989 inGuélakh, a small village of about 200 inhabitants located in the region of Saint-Louis,in northern Senegal, essentially formed by peasants and nomadic herders who suffered the drought of 1970s. In the early 1990s, two young people of Peuhl ethnic origin initiated a family microenterprise: an agricultural farm integrating agriculture and sedentary livestock farming.

Twenty-five years later, the family microenterprise incorporated villagers and other surrounding lands, giving birth to the UnionInterprofessionnelle des Agro-Pasteurs de l’Arrondissement de Rao – UIAPR(Interprofessional Union of Agro-pastoralists of the Rao District).The evolution of the organisational form, the territory covered, the increase ofmembers and fields of intervention is such that the Union currently mobilizes 145 ricefarmers on 40 hectares, 137 agro-breeders distributed on 13 intensive breeding and poultry farms, 113 women processors (fruits and vegetables), 60 fishermen and horticulture workers, fish farming and dairy processing (cheese). The UIAPR also promotes social initiatives, including the construction of multilevel educational and vocational training establishments.

This experience describes, simultaneously, organisational, economic, technical andsocial innovations that have been achieved thanks to a combination of factors. First of all, the integration of agriculture and stockbreeding and the support to socio-economic empowerment instead of merely financial support (supervision, remunerated “learning-by-doing”, carrying out activities of public utility, etc.) mark the specificity ,of this initiative. Secondly, the endogenous, inclusive and self-managed approach, the marked anchoring of the activity in the territory, the sharing of a common ideal and the sober and humble leadership of the initiators who live in the territory and share the inhabitants’ lifestyle despite their high level of education, have doubtless contributed to the sustainability and the appropriation of the experience by the local populations.Finally, the tendency to expand into new areas of intervention according to the criteria of utility and economic potential of the territory demonstrates the dynamism and future prospects of this practice.


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