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April 26, 2011

Senegal achieves rice bumper harvest

by Drew Hinshaw

Senegal is producing enough rice to meet domestic needs and export the surplus, President Abdoulaye Wade said.

Last year’s harvest was 640,000 metric tons of rice, 40,000 tons more domestic demand, Wade said at a conference in the capital of Dakar. The yield was more than triple that of 2006, he said. A program with India will boost production to 1.1 million tons in a few years, he said.

“We’re going to produce 600,000 tons for local consumption and have a further 500,000 tons for export,” he said.

Senegal produced a record 1.286 million tons of peanuts last year, Wade said.

Peanuts account for 60 percent of the country’s agricultural exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state sets farm gate prices at 165 West African CFA (35 cents) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) during the December to May harvest. The Agriculture Ministry plans to extend the set price outside the harvest to support farmers, Wade said. Peanut oil exports by Senegal’s Suneor, the country’s biggest peanut-oil processing company, account for as much as half of world supply, according to a 2007 report by the USDA.



Senegal may cut a subsidy on peanut-oil producers as the West African nation's harvest grows to its biggest in nearly four decades, said Malick Ba, head coordinator at the country's Agriculture Ministry.

Harvesting began in December and 246,419 metric tons were reaped to March 22, which was 18 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, Ba said.

Senegal may have the biggest crop since it produced 1.2 million tons of peanuts in 1975, Ba said.


Senegal will convert 125,000 hectares (308,882 acres) of land in the Senegal River valley into an area for growing rice by 2015, the newspaper le Soleil reported, citing Minister of Agriculture Khadim Gueye.

The West African nation will increase subsidies for seed and fertilizer purchased in the valley, the Dakar-based newspaper said.


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