Burkina Faso: Special market in Zogona promotes “agro-ecological” products that please both farmers and consumers (AgribusinessTV)
Each Saturday morning, the neighbourhood of Zogona in the city of Ouagadougou is animated with the bustle of a special market for “agro-ecological” produce. Here, farmers sell fruits and vegetables produced with the inspiration of agroecology, an agricultural philosophy that emphasizes respect for the environment. A co-operative established the market to give farmers the opportunity to sell their products at a lucrative price that meets their expectations—as well as those of the buyer.
This initiative is supported by two Italian NGOs: Mani Tese and ACRA. They encourage Burkinabe farmers to promote their products by linking directly with buyers, so that both parties can benefit from the arrangement. At the market, farmers can sell their product under the watchful eye of buyers who are looking for superior quality products.
Customers can inspect the products at their leisure, and even arrange a visit to the fields where the vegetables are grown. All this contributes to a social exchange between producer and consumer.
Karim Sawadogo works for Mani Tese, and is a coordinator of “Partnership for sustainable development,” a joint project between Italy and Burkina Faso. He explains, “If we want agroecology to develop, we must not only support production, but especially marketing so that the prices are at a point that makes production profitable for producers.”
Agroecology inspires agricultural practices that respect and protect the environment, including practices to manage soil and water. Agroecological approaches to farming often include organic production, which, among other practices, avoids using chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides in favour of homemade plant-based and natural remedies when needed.
Julie Diolompo is the accounting secretary of Ke du Burkinabè, a company that makes and sells organic products. She praises this partnership as a “win-win.” According to Mrs. Diolompo, the market is an opportunity for consumers as well because they can directly buy quality vegetables that were produced using methods that benefit the environment.
Frank Kuklinski shops at the market. It’s the place where he can find quality vegetables, and look at their size and shape. He says consumers often believe that organic products will be poor quality because chemicals are not used—that leaves might have holes or other marks of pest damage. But Mr. Kuklinski says you can tell that’s not true just by looking at the products. He says that there’s lots of good quality produce at the market.
Local producers benefit in other ways from their association with Mani Tese, such as attending trainings on agroecology, including how to use composted manure.
El Hadj Idrissa Compaoré is a farmer in Moumbila, a rural area 25 kilometres from the capital. Thanks to training, he has adopted an agroecological approach to farming and uses several practices inspired by agroecology.
He cultivates a small plot of land and uses composted manure and homemade pesticides. He starts by spreading a first layer of compost, and then sows his seeds. He then covers the plot with a second layer of compost and sprays the ground with a homemade pesticide made from garlic, chili, and neem. Once the plants have sprouted, he waters his field every morning. After transplanting the plants a few weeks later, he spreads another layer of composted manure and applies the homemade pesticide once more.
Mr. Compaoré adds that, thanks to the training sessions, he has learned about the negative impacts of chemical pesticides, which can cause numerous health impacts, including respiratory problems and cancer. He says, “Agroecology is a practice that simultaneously preserves our health and that of the consumers of these products.”
Standing in front of his produce, he says that the market has shown him that consumers are looking for quality organic products. He adds: “[All] morning, consumers have been praising us for ensuring that good quality vegetables are available. The fact that we are being congratulated by consumers is more reason to protect the well-being of everyone.”
This story is adapted from a video called “Burkina Faso: A weekly market for bio-based products,” which was originally published by AgribusinessTV. To watch the video, go to: http://agribusinesstv.info/en/burkina-faso-a-weekly-market-for-bio-based-products/