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July 27, 2008

Senegalese president praises Chinese agro-investor

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has once again reaffirmed the support of his government to a Chinese investor, who has embarked on a major project for the cultivation of sesame in the country, according to reliable sources.

The project is falling within the framework of the so-called "Great Agricultural Offensive for food and Abundance (GOANA)," which was launched by the president to combat a biting food crisis earlier this year, the official Senegalese News Agency reported Tuesday.

During the launching ceremony of "the GOANA investor's manual" at the presidential palace, President Wade affirmed his support to Ouyang Riping, a private Chinese entrepreneur, who is bankrolling the production of 150,000 tons of sesame on a sprawling 60,000 hectare farm by 2013 with an annual production rate of 30,000 tones from 2008.

"I congratulate you for having chosen our country and you will find all the necessary conditions and excellent staff and workers to help you succeed in your business venture," said the Senegalese head of state in remarks to the Chinese investor.

The president further said that the Senegalese government was keen on promoting the cultivation of sesame as there was a ready market for the product in countries such as China, Japan and Arab countries.

On his part, Ouyang Riping, president and CEO of Chinese group Datong enterprises, attributed his choice to invest in Senegal to the political stability of this country, a favorable investment environment, willingness by the government to spur sesame farming and the good organization of producers and the strong associative momentum behind the undertaking.

Ouyang, who is also the chairman of the Association of Chinese in Cote d'Ivoire and Mali, on Tuesday told Xinhua that he enjoyed the support of the National Senegalese Credit Fund (CNCS), 70 percent government subsidies in seed purchases and 50 percent subsidies for fertilizers.

In addition, the project will also benefit from the support of agricultural research institutions in the country as well as that of the Agriculture and Rural Council (ANCAR), according to the Chinese investor.

The GOANAwas launched on April 18 this year, with the government having set aside billions of CFA francs for its implementation. The proposed program is designed to help the country attain self-sufficiency in food production. In the medium terms, the plan is to produce 500,000 tons of rice, two million tons of maize and three million tones of cassava.

In his speech, President Wade also took time to defend his notion of "food sovereignty" and called on the government to work for the modernization of agriculture and food self-sufficiency.

Peoples Daily

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