Developing Local Extension Capacity


Extract of a study by the The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project led by Digital Green, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Care International and GFRAS.

Senegal is among the most stable and promising countries in the West Africa region (USAID, 2017). The government’s growing investment in agriculture demonstrates its commitment to improving productivity of the sector. However, the country’s poor infrastructure, chronic underinvestment, and constraining policies continue to challenge the agriculture sector, even though progress is being made in all these areas (Domgho et al., 2017; USAID, 2017).

Senegal is very poor and near the bottom of most development indicators and indices. For example, Senegal ranked 163 out of 188 on the UNDP Human Development Index in 2016, a decline from 157th in 2011 (UNDP, 2016). Over half (54 percent) of its population was below the poverty line in 2014, giving it a rank of 145 over 162 nations surveyed (Index Mundi, 2014). The literacy rate was 43 percent and life expectancy was 67 years. Nutritional indicators are particularly low with 19 percent of children under five years being stunted (a sign of chronic undernutrition) and only seven percent of children between the ages of six and 23 months receiving a minimum acceptable diet in 2013 (ANSD and MEASURE DHS, 2013)

Senegal has great potential to increase agriculture-led economic growth. The country has abundant land, motivated agricultural entrepreneurs, and access to international markets through a major port. Senegal’s transportation, irrigation, communications and financial infrastructure are steadily improving, due to reasonably good governance, government and private investment, and considerable donor support. The Government of Senegal, civil society and the private sector have all demonstrated a commitment to invest in agriculture and food security and to reduce policy and regulatory constraints that limit investment. The government’s investment plan, in line with their 2010 CAADP compact agreement, focuses heavily on increasing the production of rice, maize and millet, three food staples with important market potential (USAID, 2017).

As of 2014, 84 percent of Senegalese adults owned cell phones but only 15 percent owned smart phones. Among phone owners, 70 percent sent text messages, 30 percent used their phones to accept or make payments and 19 percent used them to access social networks. Ownership and use rates are likely lower for rural households than for urban ones. On ease of doing business, Senegal ranks slightly above average among African countries at 21st out of 48 surveyed.

As in many other African countries, women lag behind men in most socioeconomic categories and have less access to productive assets than men. For example, while men’s literacy rate was 53 percent in 2013, the women’s rate was only 34 percent (United Nations Statistics Division, 2017). Whereas  56 percent of men owned mobile phones, only 27 percent of women did so (Poulsen, 2015). Women do not yet have equal rights with men and many are struggling under the burden of significantly greater domestic responsibilities and lack of access to land, labor, capital and information. Moreover, Senegalese customary law among most ethnic groups does not allow women to inherit property, except through a man acting as an intermediary (Rubin, 2010).

Full study:


World Wide Extension Study


The Worldwide Extension Study WWES provided empirical data on the human and financial resources of agricultural extension and advisory systems worldwide. The programme ran from 2009-2012 and was funded by USAID and managed by IFPRI in partnership with FAO (along with DAAS and CIRAD) and IICA.

For a long time, agricultural extension in Senegal was a prerogative of the government in the absence of a viable private sector. Drastic changes in economic policies resulting from the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programs initiated by IMF in the 1980s lead to market liberalization and a decline in government intervention. Agricultural extension services were previously provided by the Ministry of Rural Development (MDR), the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) through their departments of agriculture and livestock respectively and numerous parastatal executing agencies (SAED, SODEFIDEX, SODEVA, SOMIVAC, and SODAGRI).


A Brief History of Public Extension Policies, Resources and Advisory Activities in Senegal

The government approach to agricultural extension called the National Agricultural Extension Program (NAEP) that began in 1985 as part of the country’s new agricultural policy utilized three organizational approaches to deliver information to farmers namely: Animation Rurale or Rural Mobilization, Commodity-oriented extension, and the Ministry of Agriculture’s government extension service. Animation Rurale focused on the sensitization and education of farmers in community development while commodity-oriented extension was similar to project-type extension and promoted the production of cash crops for export. The uniqueness of the NAEP is that the program had a small administrative and technical component at the top and used field staff of the National Agricultural Service (NAS) and volunteers of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to conduct its programs (Sagna and Holmes, 1998). The NAEP used the French edition of the World Bank’s Training and Visit System (T&V) as an operating framework to reach out to farmers and also to secure funding from the World Bank to financially support its agricultural extension program.

Since the World Bank supported National Extension Services Project (PNVA) began in 1990, the institutional structure for extension delivery has been placed under one umbrella department, namely, the Extension Management Unit which span both MDR and MSD ministries (Venkatesan and Kampen, 1998). All other ministries which had previously fielded separate extension services, and parastatals (SODEVA, SODEFIDEX, SAED and DERBAC) whose activities have not been privatized, now operate under the extension services managed by the Extension Management Unit.  The current unified PNVA Extension Management Unit has created linkages with research institutions by incorporating the Institut Senegalais de la Recherche Agronomique (National Agronomic Research Institute of Senegal) as part of its overall management of extension services (Venkatesan and Kampen, 1998).

Because of the poor performance of Senegal's agriculture, despite implementation of the National Agricultural and Rural Extension Program, the creation of an agency such as the National Extension Services Agency (ANCAR) became necessary (World Bank, 1999). ANCAR was a new approach to providing rural extension services by developing strong partnerships among all stakeholders in agriculture. This approach represented a pluralistic system where public and private sectors including NGOs and other community or farmer-based organizations partner in the delivery of agricultural extension and advisory services to farmers. The involvement of the private sector in policy design and implementation has been enhanced through the National Council for Rural Co-operation (CNCR). The CNCR represents producers’ associations and plays a central role in dialogue between the government, donors and producers on agro-related issues. The state’s direct control over agricultural marketing has been reduced and agricultural trade has been liberalized. Now, the Ministry of Agriculture outsources its agricultural extension services to the private sector and is expected to play a further role in agricultural policy formation (World Bank, 1999). Rural producer organizations and their associations are actively involved themselves to improve these services.

Extension Provider

Major Institutions Providing Extension/advisory Services

Public Sector

Senegal public sector is represented by the Ministere de l’Agriculture et de l’Elevage and the Ministere des Mines de l’Industrie de la Transformation Alimentaire des Produits Agricoles et des PME through their departments of agriculture and livestock respectively and numerous parastatal agencies, the University Cheik Anta Diop, and Ecole Inter-Etat des Sciences et Medecines Veterinaires. These institutions provide extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below:

Public Extension Institutions

Public Research and Education Institutions

  • Institut Senegalais de Recherche Agricole – ISRA. Crops, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries
  • Institut de Technologies Alimentaires – Food Technology Institute, Crops, Post-harvest
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD)
  • Ecole nationale Superieure d”Agriculture – ENSA
    • Departement d’Economie et Sociologie Rurale
  • Ecole Inter-Etats des Sciences et Médecine Vétérinaires de Dakar (EISMV)
  • Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA)
  • The National Agricultural and Agro-Processing Research Fund (FNRAA) has transformed the funding of agricultural R&D in Senegal in that all public and private agricultural R&D agencies now compete equally, and this has promoted demand-driven research and the rationalization of operations.

Semi-Autonomous Government Extension Organizations and Parastatal

  • Projet de Promotion de l’Entreprenariat Rural –Project to Promote Rural Entrepreneurship PROMER
  • Societe de Developpement Agricole et Industriel du Senegal – Senegal Agricultural and Industrial Development Corporation – SODAGR
  • Senegal OFADEC, African Office for Development and Cooperation
  • SAED: Irrigated farming Production
  • SODEVA: Operations in the Groundnut Basin
  • SODEFIDEX: Cotton Production in Eastern Senegal
  • SOMIVAC: Regional development farming in the Southern part of Senegal
  • SODAGI: Irrigation Development in the South-Eastern part of Senegal

Private Sector Firms

The private sector generally focuses on cash crops and income, and addresses farmer households with strong market links. Private sector firms provide support in terms of input supply, market information and technical advice to farmers. In Senegal the private sector is dominated by large food-processing industries. The export oriented industry specializing in groundnut oils and canned fish, and the sector that serves the domestic market producing tomato concentrates, sugar refining, flour milling, milk powder soda water and other beverages. These agro-industrial firms are located in the Dakar area and benefit from proximity to the port of Dakar. Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in processing domestic agricultural products, such as local cereals, fruit and vegetables, fish and milk are also present in Senegal, but their production technology is usually very primitive and production output remains small.

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

NGOs are part of what is commonly referred to as civil society.  In Senegal, they are the most visible segment of civil society and include a wide variety of groups and organizations (feminist, cultural, religious and trade-related). Senegalese NGOs do not have members or sympathizers that participate regularly in financing their activities. Instead they depend on external public or private partners as well as the Senegalese state for financial aid. There are many NGOs in Senegal, but they are particularly numerous in the North (the St. Louis Region) and the South (the Ziguinchor Region). These NGOS are active in many areas and they focus most on providing technical and institutional support at the grassroots level. They have established partnerships with producer organizations and the Government’s extension services to provide agricultural extension and advisory services and support to farmers (World Bank, 1999).

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

There are hundreds of local organizations in Senegal. Many of these farmers’ organizations are linked to the associative movement and adhere to the federation of NGOs in Senegal (FONGS). Once empowered through farmers’ organizations and Community-Based Organizations CBO),  these farmers seek services from both private and public-sector providers and, over time, develop the ability to pay for such services. Farmers that are grouped into strong producer organizations have a significant advantage over the majority of Senegal’s farming community. For instance, in the case of rice farmers in the SAED irrigation scheme, the proof that they are receiving extension assistance as well as subsidized inputs facilitates their access to credit (AgCLIR, 2009). Below is a list of some farmers’ associations and groups in Senegal 

  • National Union of Fresh Produce Growers of Senegal (UNPM)
  • Walo Farmers’ Association (ASESCAW)
  • Bamba-Thialen group
  • Kabiline Group
  • Centre de Gestion et d'Economie Rurale de vallée du fleuve Sénégal - Center for Management and Rural Economy of the Senegal River Valley, CGER VALLEE

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Senegal. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.

Enabling Environment

Enabling (or Disabling) Environment

The country-wide enabling environment in which extension operates is critical to extension efforts. Most of Senegal is endowed with considerable water resources (surface water. groundwater, and Maastrichtian formations) that can be used for irrigation purposes. The Senegal River Valley, in particular, is of great importance, as are the basins of the Gambia and Casamance Rivers. The southern part of the “Groundnut Basin” has significant potential for growing cereals as well as crops like groundnuts.  Fifteen years after its historic economic liberalization, Senegal remains unusually vulnerable to food shortages and price shocks. Over two third of the thirteen million citizens work in the agricultural sector, yet the country relies on food imports for 70 percent of its food supply (AgCLIR, 2009). In addition to low productivity coming in most part from subsistence farmers, other critical elements such as market enablers (Senegal faces inefficient marketing systems, bottlenecked transport corridors, and a commerce based almost exclusively on arms-length transactions) and economy-wide enablers seem not to be in place to benefit agricultural extension in Senegal. However, in an effort to improve the overall economic environment particularly the agricultural sector, Senegal has undertaken a series of reforms (privatization and restructuring of public enterprises responsible for rural and agricultural development and liberalization of prices and markets) that have set the country on the path to growth.


Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

In terms of ICT development in West and Central Africa, Senegal is probably the leading sub-Saharan francophone country. Given that rural connectivity is a critical issue regarding the potential use of ICTs in rural areas, agricultural extension practitioners are becoming more actively involved in rural telecommunication policy advocacy efforts. Access to new ICTs, including increased mobile phone and Internet access in rural areas of Senegal is facilitating extension services delivery to farmers. A World Bank statistics report indicated that in 2009, fifty five percent of the population in Senegal own and operated a mobile phone, and with regard to internet use, 7.4 percent had access to internet.  Private sector, including NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs), participating in extension service delivery are having fewer obstacles in responding to farmers’ demands. A dynamic information communication system known as Manobi has been established in Senegal. Manobi uses basic cellphones with wireless access protocol (WAP) and short messaging service (SMS) technology to provide members of Senegalese fishing communities, and fruit- and vegetable-grower farming communities, with up-to-date weather and market price information (Batchelor et al., 2003). The goal of users is to secure higher prices from middlemen and improve the timing of entry to markets when demand is high and supply is low. Users are also able to reduce spoilage by locating buyers while goods are still fresh. This project has also contributed to the expansion of mobile telephone infrastructure in targeted towns.


Training for Extension Professionals

Until the late 1970s, the role of the academic sector in agricultural research in Senegal has been quite limited. Degree-level courses in the agricultural sciences only began in 1980 with the establishment of the Institut National de Développement Rural (INDR), which more recently was renamed Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agriculture (ENSA). ENSA’s degree program normally takes five years to complete and leads to an Ingénieur Agronome degree. The degree is more general since the program prepares graduate to be agricultural officers responsible for all agricultural issues in their geographic area of coverage. The formal training only provides some basic knowledge of agricultural extension. There is widespread dissatisfaction with agricultural education and training available in Senegal. The universities are said to be geared entirely toward scientific education, with no practical training. Furthermore, only a very small percentage of students are enrolled in agricultural disciplines and, aside from what is provided by NGOs, donors, and private companies, virtually no opportunities for continuing education, in-service training or acquisition of new skills in agriculture exist (AgCLIR, 2009).


Statistical Indicators



Agricultural land (sq km)



Agricultural land (% of land area)



Arable land (hectares)



Arable land (% of land area)



Arable land (hectares per person)



Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)



Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)



Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)



Food exports (% of merchandise exports)



Food imports (% of merchandise imports)



GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*



Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)



Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)



Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)



Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)







Internet users (per 100 people)







Population, total



Population density (people per sq. km of land area)



Rural population



Rural population (% of total population)



Agricultural population* 



Agricultural population (% of total population)*



Total economically active population in Agriculture*



Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*



Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*



Source: The World Bank, *FAO Food and Agriculture Organization



AgCLIR, 2009. Commercial Legal and Institutional Reform Diagnostic of Senegal’s Agriculture sector. Agenda for action. USAID. September 2009.

Batchelor, S. and O’Farrell, C. (2003) Guiding principles for ICT interventions. In: FAO (ed.) Revisiting the ‘Magic Box’: Case Studies in Local Appropriation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

Sagna, A. and G. Holmes. 1998. Perceptions of Rice farmers of the National Agricultural Extension Program in the Casamance, Senegal. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education (JIAEE). Fall 1998.

Venkatesan, V. and J. Kampen. 1998. Evolution of Agricultural Services in Sub-Saharan Africa:Trends and Prospects. World Bank Discussion Paper No 390. Washington D.C.

World Bank, 1999. Agricultural Services and Producer Organizations Project in Support of the First Phase of the Agricultural Services and producer Organizations Program: Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed Credit to the republic of Senegal. Document of the World Bank Report No: 18554-SE.

ASTI Agricultural Research and Development investments and capacity in Senegal

Diallo A. (2008): Evaluation des besoins en information agricole dans les états du groupe Afrique-Caraïbes-Pacifique (ACP). Afrique. Etude sur le Sénégal. Wageningen, Centre technique de coopération agricole et rurale (CTA).

R. James Bingen and Jacques Faye (after 1985 ?): Agricultural Research and Extension in Francophone West Africa: The Senegal Experience.

Beaulieu, N. 2005. Rapport sur les Activités de Renforcement des Capacités Locales (output 3) et la Participation des Acteurs (output 7) au Sénégal De septembre 2003 à novembre 2005. Centre International d’Agriculture Tropicale (CIAT). Retrieved on November 1

Diagana, B. , A. Mankor, C. S. Fall Et A. Guèye. 2008. Agriculture Durable et Réduction de la Pauvreté dans le Bassin Arachidier du Sénégal: Résultats du Modèle Analyse Tradeoffs. Réflexions et Perspectives, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA). Vol. 6 No. 5. Retrieved on November 1

GSMA Development Fund. 2010. Women and mobile: A global opportunity: A study on the mobile phone gender gap in low and middle income countries. Retrieved on November 1

FIDA/ROPPA. 2004. Les Agriculteurs Prennent la Parole: Vision et Recommandations des Organisations Paysannes Africaines pour Le Programme Détaillé pour Le Développement de L’agriculture Africaine. Fonds International de Développement Agricole FIDA et Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA) Lusaka - Zambia, 2004. Retrieved on November 1

Mazzucato, V., and M. El-Habib Ly. 1994. Statistical Brief on the National Agricultural Research System of Senegal. ISNAR Indicator Series Project: Phase II. Number 10. International Service for National Agricultural Research with support from the Government of Italy and Special Program for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR). Retrieved on November 1

IFPRI 2012