Moving from a Poor and Neglected Economic Sector to a Renewed and Development-Promoting Sector
The Department of Kaolack has a population of more than 580,000 and an economy based on agriculture and commerce. Artisanal salt production was a poorly organised gathering activity intended only to meet the needs of the local workers. Despite the existence of a cooperative, there was no coordination among the players in this activity. And there was even fierce competition between them. This situation led to wasted opportunities for commercial upscaling. In 2018, the department stepped in with this initiative, trying to transform informal salt production into a more effective and organised economic sector.
Central to the initiative was the “territorial coaching” approach, a participatory process engaging all relevant actors of a territory with a view to their ownership of and accountability to the changes that they wish to stimulate to ensure the full mobilisation of their resources. The department spent five months conversing with stakeholders, including private producers and local authorities (six municipalities in the department and two others in the neighbouring department) where salt production was active.
These conversations focused on the thorough analysis of the status quo and the expectation. The aim was to design an action plan to develop an economic sector, more specifically, to improve the production environment as well as quantity and quality of production, to enhance the dynamics of the governance of the sector, and to develop a regional cooperative centred around a unified project.
The initiative was met with wide acceptance. Among others, the artisanal cooperative now has 1550 members and is expected to reach more than 3,500 members by 2025. It has also received nearly a million US dollars of public and private funding. In addition, the department has been able to create a public-private framework for dialogues and joint development of solutions.
This initiative is particularly relevant to SDGs 1 (no poverty), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 11 (sustainable cities and communities).