For, and with, farming families in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso has been in the midst of a security crisis for several years. Shaken by violence, the populations are increasingly being displaced within the country: numbering 560,000 in December 2019, there were more than one million internally displaced persons a year later. The current security and health crises are eroding the living conditions of families and highlighting the economic recession.

Three million people suffer from food insecurity, which is almost one out of six inhabitants. Yet, 86 % of the population work in the farming and livestock sector, mostly as small family farms. The farmers are increasingly vulnerable to climate change, the controversial acquisition of large parcels of land by businesses and the deteriorating security situation in the region. For these reasons, the farming productivity is poor. Moreover, small farmers lose a large portion of their produce due to poor harvesting, transportation, and storage conditions.

These problems are widening the gap between the income of farmers and the needs of their families.  The widespread use of pesticides is not solving the current challenges. It is only making the population poorer, making farmers dependent on agro-industry and creating public health problems. In Burkina Faso, every year, nearly 84 % of farm workers come down with acute poisoningdue to pesticides.

Iles de Paix ‘s focus is on transitioning to more sustainable, stronger, cost-effective productive models for farming families and consumers. As promoters of local action, we work mainly in the provinces of Kouritenga and Gourma, in the central and eastern regions of Burkina Faso.

Our work in Burkina Faso

Thanks to the expertise of two local NGOs (ARFA and AMR):

  • We train farming families on the use of specific techniques for dry soil: making compost and organic fertilizers, poultry farming, crop storage, etc. When necessary, we supply materials and help farmers build fences, dig boreholes for irrigation and build storage facilities for their produce.
  • We work with women’s groups who produce, process and market grain, fruit, and vegetables. We give technical training, and help them access warehouses and equipment to process and package the produce. We also put these women in contact with suppliers of raw materials and with potential buyers so that they can sell their quality products and increase their income.
  • We give presentations at primary and secondary schools on the topics of agro-ecology and sustainable management of the environment. We assist them in creating gardens at school to practice agro-ecology and to grow organic vegetables for their school canteen. We hold discussions with citizens on issues about their consumer choices and stimulate short supply chains between consumers and vegetables procuders.
  • We work with municipal councils of towns and villages to have them take into account the needs of small farmers and to support them for the long term. Moreover, we conduct national media campaigns  and advocate to the Ministry of Agriculture to have it adopt and implement agro-ecology policies (import control and the use of pesticides, promotion of local products, etc.).

Some key numbers

In 2020 alone, we worked with 9,700 individuals, 58 % of whom were women. We planted 3,000 trees. More than 360 families now have chicken coops for their own use and for selling purposes. Thanks to improved quality and a greater variety of products being sold at the market, farmers have increased their revenues by 80 %.

As we do not want to stop there, we would like to work with 475 more families. We want to support  10 groups of gardeners on 10 different sites and 10 women’s groups. We would like to partner with 2 schools to create awareness among 900 youth and with 2 municipalities to hold discussions with 150 councillors.

 Our partners in Burkina Faso

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