Initiative pour la Résilience Économique des Micro, Moyennes et Petites Entreprises (IREM)
2020 - 2022
MEDA, the Mastercard Foundation, and the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) are collaborating to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agribusiness space in four southern regions of Senegal, namely Ziguinchor, Sédhiou, Kolda, and Tambacounda.
To prevent a food crisis in Senegal as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Senegal launched the Force COVID-19 plan, a stimulus effort to provide direct economic support to the most affected economic sectors, including agriculture. The Mastercard Foundation’s support of the Force COVID-19 plan seeks, in part, to support the private sector and maintain jobs and incomes by supporting MSMEs in priority sectors to sustain employment.
MSMEs, small farmers, and women and youth-led businesses are particularly susceptible to the stressors of COVID-19; the majority of which are in the informal sector and account for at least 80% of Senegalese businesses.
Shortages of key agricultural inputs, particularly high-quality seeds adapted to changing climate conditions, could potentially affect productivity levels while movement restrictions and market closures may prevent farmers from growing and selling crops. High levels of unemployment due to COVID-19 also suppress consumer demand for agricultural products.
The problems of small producers are compounded by those of other vulnerable actors in agricultural value chains, including traders and food processors, ultimately leading to unstable food prices and limited purchasing power.
COVID-19 challenges to food imports – on which Senegal depends – present an opportunity for local producers to increase production and sales.
IREM aims to protect agricultural value chains, strengthen the resilience of MSMEs, speed their economic recovery, and increase diversification of production and economic growth. The project will catalyze digital platforms to limit disruptions of the supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: in doing so, the linkages between farmers, processors, distribution, storage, aggregation and MSMEs will be reinforced to prevent a food security crisis.
As part of the partnership, MEDA, through its Risk Capital Fund (MRCF), will co-invest in Mastercard Foundation’s innovative finance initiative. In addition to raising awareness about COVID-19 safety protocols, these measures will ensure that:
- Farming households have access to affordable high-yield and drought-tolerant seed varieties, technology packages such as mini-boreholes and solar pumps, and digital agricultural trainings and extension services – promoting environmentally sustainable production practices. These initiatives will attract youth to horticultural production; and
- MSMEs receive digital business development services, gain access to financial services and are able to buy and sell their products on a digital marketplace.