Since the start of the PROFIL project in 2018, Acting for Life and its partner ARFA (Association pour la Recherche et la Formation en Agroécologie) have been training young rural people in the eastern region of Burkina Faso in organic and agro-ecological production techniques.
About 100 young women and men received practical training in organic sesame production. In the Eastern region, sesame is an increasingly important cash crop. ARFA is developing an integrated organic supply chain that leads to sesame certification and allows producers to increase their income.
After the training, these young future organic sesame producers are supported in their first season through technical-productive monitoring in the plots, but also by providing inputs and putting them in touch with the union of producers who manage the marketing.
ARFA has also trained nearly 400 beneficiaries in various agro-ecological techniques: anti-erosion control, soil fertilization and crop protection. Each training course lasts 4 days and allows young people to be made aware of the importance of agro-ecology and to acquire practical skills: techniques for reclaiming degraded land (stony barriers, grass strips, earthen bunds, etc.); water and soil conservation techniques; techniques for producing, extracting, drying, conserving and using compost; and ecological techniques for preventive and curative control of the main crop pests and diseases.
These trainings also give them a better understanding of their environment, the erosion phenomena that are taking place and their consequences, the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals and effective and environmentally friendly control methods, all for a better resilience and adaptation to climate change.
This kind of initiative is crucial in this region of eastern Burkina Faso, which is prone to climate change, land impoverishment and erosion.
With more than 20 years of experience, ARFA has helped promote agro-ecological practices; contribute to improving the living conditions of the populations through the agro-ecological approach and environmental education; contribute to building the capacity of rural populations to adapt to climate change in order to achieve food security and increase incomes.
Within the framework of the PROFIL project, a follow-up of the young people will allow us to know what will be the impact of these awareness training sessions and the rate of appropriation of these techniques by the young people. We can already say that in 2019, one year after the first trainings, 34 people out of 42 beneficiaries have been able to set up organic sesame fields and benefit from post-training support. In addition, in some communes of the project, young people have started to formalize themselves into cooperatives in order to produce on a collective field bio-pesticides to be marketed for the coming season. Elsewhere, young people produce bio-pesticides or compost for sale in addition to their own use.
These are the first steps towards a more virtuous agriculture, adapted to the needs of men, women and the land, to which Acting For Life is proud to contribute.