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Experts Train Senegalese Farmers in Modern Farming Techniques

Five Chinese agronomists, who are on a mission in the region of Podor in north Senegal, have so far managed to conduct training for more than 500 Senegalese farmers, according to reliable sources.

Speaking to a Xinhua reporter on Thursday, Zheng Zheng who heads the Chinese agricultural mission said that the Chinese experts often visit villages to teach local farmers modern techniques for cultivating rice that are "well adapted to specific conditions of the region".

The methods used to provide the training include organizing visits and practice sessions in the fields, said Zheng. He added, "We also teach theories in dining rooms by using slides."

"Thus far, we have trained more than 500 people in 14 stages for the six months during which we have been here," said Zheng who was contacted in the Podor region by Xinhua by telephone.

The distribution of high-yielding rice varieties and the exchange of experience are priorities of the agricultural cooperation between China and Senegal, which is aimed at helping the West African nation achieve self-sufficiency in food production, said the head of the Chinese mission.

The region of Podor, which is popularly known as Senegal's "rice granary," provides very conducive conditions for large-scale rice farming as it is located on the Senegal River basin, according to the Chinese agronomist.

The Senegalese people consume more than 900,000 tons of rice every year, of which 600,000 tons are imported mainly from Asia, costing the country an estimated 50 billion CFA francs (about US$100 million), according to official figures.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2008)

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