Nelly Bassily | January 6, 2014
1- Senegalese pastoralists stand against biofuel production project on their land (APS, le Sud Online)
In the rural community of Gnith in Senegal, pastoralists are fighting a biofuel project.
One year ago, the Senegalese government gave 20,000 hectares of land to an Italian-Senegalese company, Senhuile Senéthanol. The company promised to compensate the local Fulani people at the rate of 800 million CFA francs (about $165,000 US) per year. They also promised to create jobs for local youth who had returned to the area hoping for employment, as well as build a health clinic. According to local activists, these promises are unmet.
Ibrahim Sow is Senhuile Senéthanol’s project director. He says: “The project has made several achievements by supporting pastoralists during the lean periods and building latrines.”
For months, clashes with local police, arrests and deaths have impaired the lives of the Fulani people in the 37 villages where the project is moving ahead. In June 2013, three children died from falling into an irrigation canal dug for the project.
Gorgui Sow is the rural adviser and vice-president of the Pastoralist Association of the Department of Dagana. He says: “Where will we go? We will not cross the Senegal River to Mauritania. Before tending to foreigners’ demands, the State has to think about the people of this country …”