Oxfam in West Africa
Loading images...

Oxfam in the North of Burkina Faso: Market gardening changing the lives of vulnerable people

May 12th, 2014 Posted in Agriculture, Burkina Faso, English
“I’m going to pay for my grandsons’ education and if possible buy an animal”. Now we have enough water to grow our crops and we also have the equipment to do it well. I grow salad and cabbages on 16 beds which bring me in around 75,000 FCFA-93.5713 GBP-; this wasn't the case before the site was developed. I’m going to pay for my grandsons’ education and if possible buy an animal.''Mariam Kombelemsigri, 55 and 4 children.

“I’m going to pay for my grandsons’ education and if possible buy an animal”. Now we have enough water to grow our crops and we also have the equipment to do it well. I grow salad and cabbages on 16 beds which bring me in around 75,000 FCFA-(93 GBP); this wasn’t the case before the site was developed. I’m going to pay for my grandsons’ education and if possible buy an animal.” Mariam Kombelemsigri, 55, and 4 children.

How can we deal with food crises, especially when they recur? In La-Todin, more than one hundred kilometres from the capital, Ouagadougou, vulnerable populations, essentially women, have found a solution to this thorny issue by putting their trust in a piece of lowland developed by Oxfam through its implementing partner ATAD (Alliance Technique d’Assistance au Développement).

Despite the typical hot harmattan winds that sweep across the site of the La-Todin market garden, which lies on the threshold of the Burkinabe Sahel, and the humdrum atmosphere that usually lingers around the place, Thursday 4th March was far from being a day like any other for Sino Assèta.  Indeed, on this day, this mother of eight, well into her forties, had her first harvest of the year. On this special day, Mrs Sino was one of the busiest but also one of the happiest people on the site. With her bags full of local aubergines, she is ready to go to the nearest local market. Her joy is all the greater this year as the season promises to be particularly outstanding. She is already rubbing her hands together with glee for her first crop, as her season has got off to a great start.

As indeed it has for all the 140 farmers who strive to wrest from this two hectare site what they need to bridge the grain deficit that they regularly suffer, thanks to this relief project for households affected by the food crisis in the central northern and northern regions. It is implemented by ATAD with technical and financial support from the Kingdom of Belgium and Oxfam. Before OXFAM and ATAD decided to intervene on the site, only half a hectare was being farmed by 93 farmers who bravely battled huge odds to grow their meagre amounts.

Before the site was developed, it was a tough job for the women to farm it. They had to struggle against domestic animals allowed to roam free during the dry season who found good grazing on the plots of land. To achieve this, they first had to get permission from the local environment department to cut down the trees and then clear the rest of the undergrowth to be able to build a fence. The women also faced other problems, in particular archaic production techniques, lack of training and equipment, etc.

Development of the site was a source of security for the farmers

''Before the site was developed, we used to have to apply for a permit from the environment department to be able to cut branches to make a fence to protect out crops. Despite this, our plots used to get destroyed by animals. Now, I thank God. I can grow salad, onions and okra on 17 beds and I earn on average 5000 FCFA (5 GBP) per bed. Before, I could never imagine having 150,000 FCFA (187 GBP) - for myself. But today I can. It’s amazing. I’m so happy. I can give an education to my three children who are still at school. Thanks to this project, I eat well. For the moment my concern is to be able to support my children until they can earn a living. If I can generate a surplus, I plan to buy a working ox. I also hope that we can get a means of transport so we can transport our produce to other markets.'' Guira Safiatou, 45, mother of 5.

”Before the site was developed, we used to have to apply for a permit from the environment department to be able to cut branches to make a fence to protect out crops. Despite this, our plots used to get destroyed by animals. Now, I thank God. I can grow salad, onions and okra on 17 beds and I earn on average 5000 FCFA (5 GBP) per bed. ” Guira Safiatou, 45, mother of 5.

On this basis, after having developed and secured the site, Oxfam and its partners offered a range of activities to build the farmers’ capacities: training on growing market gardening crops, provision of seeds and pedal motors, etc.

These activities helped to enlarge the farmed area and to strengthen the farmers’ production capacities, with the immediate result of increasing revenues, especially for women. They can farm better and can therefore secure the flow of their products to the local market. These revenues are mainly invested in the purchase of food and children’s education.

Thanks to the development of this land “I can give an education to my three children who are still at school”, declared GUIRA Safiatou (45 years old) who has 17 beds with various crops. We have also seen an improvement in the families’ nutritional situation. Indeed, the produce is also used for home consumption. The development of the site has provided a source of security for the farmers as they have become landowners. By securing the farmed land, it also marks the start of social cohesion on the site.

Thanks to this development, the lives of the farmers on the site, previously at risk of food insecurity, have taken a real turn for the better as the majority are now able to save money to purchase oxen so they have a few more strings to their bow. To help make this dream come true, they would like to have a donation of a means of transport as soon as possible so as to be able to transport their produce to other markets, as well as to increase the number of wells and increase the availability of improved seeds, etc.

Ousmane Diallo

Media and Communication Officer 

Oxfam Burkina Faso

Post a Comment