Sept. 7 USDA opened an U.S. Agricultural Affairs Office at the American Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
According to USDA, the Foreign Agricultural Service joins the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Dakar to help Senegal and other countries in the region improve their capacity to more effectively participate in regional and world agricultural markets.
FAS' agricultural office in Dakar will work with several U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's Foreign Commercial Service, and the U.S. Agency for International Development to support key aspects of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The FAS office will also provide regional coverage for Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Benin.
The United States is providing assistance to Senegal to help it develop its private sector, strengthen democracy, and support health and education. For example, FAS' Cochran Fellowship Program has provided short-term agricultural training in the United States to 45 Senegalese participants since 1997. In recognition of the country's significant economic and political progress over the past decade, Senegal became eligible for a $6.5-million Millennium Challenge Corporation grant last year.
In 2005, two-way agricultural, fish and forestry trade was $10.1 million. More than three-quarters of Senegal's population, estimated at nearly 12 million, work in the agricultural sector, with agriculture contributing more than 15 percent to the country's gross domestic product in 2005. Senegal produces peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables, cattle, poultry and fish. Major U.S. agricultural exports include rice, processed fruit and vegetables and vegetable oil.
With the opening of this office, USDA now has 63 agricultural offices at American embassies overseas.