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Feature: Young Senegalese farmer links his success story to learning Chinese knowledge
From:Xinhua  |  2020-06-10 23:29

DAKAR, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Moustapha Fall, a young Senegalese man, never imagined his dream to be an entrepreneur would have come this quick.

Already owning a veggie farm of his own in Touba, east of Senegal's capital Dakar, the young man says this is in large due to his studies at the Confucius Institute at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD).

The 27-year-old Senegalese has a master's degree in agriculture and rural development obtained from the Faculty of Science and Technology of UCAD, also known as the University of Dakar. During his pursuit for Master's Degree studies, he also received training at the Confucius Institute and completed his internship at the Chinese Agricultural Assistance Mission based in Sangalkam, Senegal.

After completing his studies, he was selected by the Mission, established in 2006, as an intern where he gained professional experience in the agricultural sector.

He told Xinhua that he chose the Confucius Institute based on his academic backgrounds -- agriculture and rural development.

"This institute offers both theoretical and practical trainings, unlike other higher education establishments in Senegal," Fall said.

According to the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute of UCAD, Cui Jie, her institute has a cooperation programme with the Chinese Agricultural Assistance Mission in Senegal, by which, Senegalese students who are interested in agriculture, can spend six months to receive theoretical training at her institute before doing a six-month internship at the Chinese Agricultural Assistance Center.

At the Center, Chinese agricultural experts will teach interns a number of new agricultural techniques.

"China is absolutely a model of development. China has been able to develop by focusing on agriculture. The Chinese are very good at farming," Fall said.

Since 2006, Chinese experts have been sent to Senegal every year to demonstrate and teach the latest farming techniques to the locals. At the agricultural center in Sangalkam, Chinese experts regularly organize training sessions on agricultural techniques.

For Moustapha Fall, the transition from Confucius Institute to the Chinese Agricultural Assistance Center was very beneficial, because he was able to acquire quality training combining theory and practice. It also allowed him to have professional experience, in particular on the operation of an agricultural business, logistics and customer relations, among others.

"The Chinese experts are always ready to give you knowledge. They give all techniques free of charge thanks to a partnership with the Confucius Institute of the University of Dakar", Fall said.

Beyond his farm business, Fall also wants to offer the Senegalese people all his agricultural knowledge and experience learned from Chinese experts.

The cooperation with China in the agricultural field is "very beneficial" for the Senegalese people, Fall affirmed, calling on the Senegalese and Chinese governments to further strengthen it. According to the young entrepreneur, Senegal cannot develop without (having ensured) its food self-sufficiency.

Fall now has grown quite a bit of veggies in his 2,500 square meters farm where a harvest of eggplants, tomatoes and peppers is expected.

All the techniques he learned from the Confucius Institute of University of Dakar and Chinese Agricultural Assistance Mission in Sangalkam are being tested on this farm, which many Senegalese are starting to take an interest in.

"The demand is there. Touba is a big city and there are not enough farmers to supply the market with vegetables," Fall said.

According to him, the majority of Senegalese farmers practice traditional agriculture which does not allow them to have good yields. "The time has come to modernize this agriculture, to equip farmers with technical skills that will allow them to earn a decent living," Fall stressed.

He called on young Senegalese to embark on agricultural entrepreneurship, advising them to acquire solid training to "face and overcome each obstacle that stands in the way of success and the result will pay off".