The Saloum delta is a tangled maze of brackish and river waters, islands and glades, on a surface of 180,000 hectares in the Fatick region. Three women's communities living on Dionewar, Falia and Niodior islands gather and process molluscs, in particular yeet (in Wolof language), i.e. cymbium in the scientific classification, an endemic mollusc present in the low and sandy waters of Western Africa. Once very abundant, now this mollusc is facing a serious crisis. Its average size, normally over twenty centimetres up to thirty-five, is getting smaller and smaller and the quantity of molluscs gathered by women every day has considerably dropped.
The main problem in this area is the stronger and stronger exploitation of marine resources by large foreign fleets and the increase in local population whose major activity is fishing. In addition, the situation is further worsened by the break of Pointe de Sangomar (a strip of land in Dionewar open sea), which has provoked the rise in the water salinity. The use of timber as fuel for fish smoking also contributes to local deforestation, especially of mangroves.
For this reason, in addition to fishing the women thought they could also start gathering and processing the several wild fruits which grow in the territory. Each family in this area produces for its own consumption excellent juices made of karkadè, pain de seinge, ginger, tamarind, ditakh, new and other types of fruit. The Presidium will focus on these fruits and transform homemade recipes into high quality processed food products to be sold in the local market.
In 2009, with the aid of a local agronomist, local fruit varieties were mapped to identify the most suitable for processing and the right production premises were found for making juices and preserves. In the same year, the Slow Food Foundation gave two pirogues to the local women to facilitate their movements and a technical visit was organized with Federico Santamaria (coordinator of the Ligurian Presidia).
The idea is now to equip a small shift-based workshop where women can stock up fruits, process them, make juices and preserves (with basic tools such as pots, sieves, scales, and gas) and to create a reservoir to collect rainwater. Training courses will be organized for the women producers (there and in Italy) to teach them the best production practices and basic hygiene standards.The Slow Food Foundation will collaborate with ITA (Institut de Technologie Alimentaire) and ANCAR (Agence Nationale Conseil Agricole et Rural) to help the community sell their products in the local market.
Dionewar, Falia and Niodior Islands, Saloum delta, Fatick region
Federico Santamaria, "Laboratorio di Resistenza dolciaria" (Alba, Piedmont)
Presidium supported by
Piedmont Regional Authority
tel. +221 5192115 - 339525396