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Photos: Forage expert helps farmers in Senegal

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“Nearly 1 billion people in the world go to bed hungry every night,” says Ozzie Abaye, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences. “To meet the needs of the growing population, we must produce more food.”

Abaye works for the federally funded Education and Agriculture in Senegal program to help farmers in the West African country find ways to improve forage production for livestock. By helping farmers keep their livestock alive during the country’s long dry season, Abaye said she hopes to help Senegal achieve food security.

An expert in crop production and grassland management, Abaye travels to Senegal several times a year to conduct workshops and provide training in grassland management principles and forage production techniques.

The results have been promising, she said. Farmers are learning how to identify grassland species and how each responds to management schemes. They are learning how to use cover crops to improve soil health and crop production. And they are no longer watching their livestock die during Senegal’s dry season. 

The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and managed by Virginia Tech's Office of International Research, Education, and Development.

Related reading: Conservation agriculture lessons help West African farmers maximize their resources  

Photos by Ozzie Abaye and Miriam Rich.