Local development : The hideous face of poverty in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is rich in men and women, but struggles to be self-sufficient in the food sector. Conventional agriculture, the main activity of the country, as practiced by the populations, cannot cover the needs of the whole country. The blame for unstable rainy seasons but also the lack of modernization of production. There are many difficulties, there are few solutions and poverty persists. The RAVI Foundation is committed to finding jobs, creating wealth and bringing hope to the millions of Burkinabè who have lost it for years.
Even today, there is talk of famine in Burkina Faso. Millions of people are in a food emergency, especially in the northern and Sahel regions. Food security remains a hot topic. For an essentially agricultural country, the figures for agricultural production are perplexed. The balance sheet for the past campaign indicates a 2.92% drop in production compared to the 2019 campaign according to figures from the ministry in charge of agriculture. Under these conditions, it is a safe bet that the end of the tunnel is not for now. Beyond all this, it is the figures of poverty in general that challenge. The incidence of food poverty in Burkina Faso is 57.7% and that of extreme poverty 11.1% according to the National Institute of Statistics and Demography (INSD). Most of these people are women and live in rural areas.
Far from the figures and other scholarly calculations, the reality on the ground is even more alarming. Pitmoaga, village located in the commune of Kokologho about fifty kilometers from Ouagadougou. Here lives the old Waongo NIKIEMA for eight decades. From the stool where he sits, he regrets the time when there was a lot of water in the village for their agricultural activities. This year, he doesn’t know how to survive until the next winter. The crops were poor due to the unstable rainfall: “What we sowed was devastated at first by the abundance of rainwater, then the surviving plants were then ravaged by the sun and the lack of water”, regrets there. Yet the octogenarian of 21 children would have been able to count on the labour of his offspring if they had not migrated to other countries in search of well-being, he who has dozens of hectares of land that is not being exploited. He does not want to be pessimistic but he does not think that he will still have five years to live in these conditions. Even knowing that one of his sons has just returned from Côte d’Ivoire just eight days ago does not console him. This son, Pogbi, 23, did not continue his studies. As he says himself, he left school voluntarily to go on an adventure, an adventure that ended in failure. shamelessly, he admits: “I went to Ivory Coast to work in the plantations. I grew coffee, cocoa, rice and I had what I could (…) I came back to work at home, it’s better. ”Unfortunately, like many others, he is faced with the problems of lack of water and production tools.
No water, no tools, no securityin Burkina Faso
After three or even four months of farming activities, young people are often forced to remain inactive for the entire so-called dry season, which lasts about eight months. In the villages of Sika (Kongoussi), Tougou and Solgom (Ouahigouya), in the Northern Region, young people are engaged in livestock farming and market gardening during this period. But they are generally quickly discouraged by the lack of production tools, either dams or boreholes, and of commercial outlets. These difficulties are also experienced by women who, even in groups, are not able to produce enough and even market what little they manage to produce. According to some of them, there are still “gender” disputes with young men who, while they are looking for water for drinking, want the same water for their livestock. Added to this is the threat of terrorism. According to the representative of the women of Sika, “many women have fled their fields in the middle of the season because of the terrorist attacks”.
The marketing problem is all the more crucial as producers, both men and women, are unable to make a profit from their activity, so much so that the expenses for fertilizer, added to the price of seeds, sometimes exceed the after-sales income. And this is exacerbated by the presence of several intermediaries who set prices in the place of the producers. If in Tougou and Solgom, the producers cannot manage, it is because the Ghanaian buyers of their tomatoes, onions, potatoes or green beans are the only ones who dictate the market, according to Sékou OUEDRAOGO, President of Solgom’s CVD. And as it is better to do against bad luck, good heart, they resolve to accept this situation while hoping for better tomorrows.
Women’s miseryin Burkina Faso
In the search for daily food, all means are good. Illegal, degrading or unprofitable activity, anything goes. At the risk of his life, Tibo Nikiema, now in his sixties, braves the bitter cold of January, traps and reptiles to chop wood to sell it and take care of his grandchildren. For this widow from Ouidi, in the commune of Saponé, on the outskirts of the city of Ouagadougou, she has neither husband nor child to offer her food. On Christmas Day 2019, Santa Claus didn’t come through. She was unable to offer her grandchildren the little shoes they wanted so much. Her activity, she knows it is illegal, and even if she prefers to be ironic about it, she knows that by just wanting to feed herself she is creating problems for nature. But she prefers to “go on as well as to fly”. If Tibo has finished drinking the chalice to the dregs, Madeleine drips on her situation like the food potash she sells. At 46, she didn’t have a good farming season like everyone else. The only activity he has left is the marketing of the juice obtained by mixing the water with the ash from the ears of corn. The activity is exhausting, even degrading for her. But she has no other choice. Even if the sale of this solute cannot allow her to buy a single shoe, she does not intend to let go. When asked if she feels capable of doing another activity, she almost takes offense: “What I am doing at the moment, I have not studied at school to do, if I am taught to do something else, if I have the means to do something else, of course I will be able ”.
The FAST JOB AND FOOD answer
Between the young people who flee their localities for the gold mining sites and the women who brave the danger to survive, another life is still possible. This is how the RAVI Foundation thinks. This foundation, created four years ago, is riding the waves of patriotic impulse dear to its Founder. “Make my locality liveable and attractive” is his credo. This vision, Salam OUEDRAOGO maintains and nourishes it through concepts expertly studied and tested. The vision is focused on meeting human needs, by himself. It is about investing in the human potential of Burkina made up of 88% young people to boost sustainable development. Being a global concept, the vision of the RAVI foundation has two components. A first dedicated to raising funds to finance projects, called UNITHON and a second, called FAST JOB AND FOOD. Fast Job and Food consists in equipping a population of a given locality and offering them the necessary know-how to enable them to produce food and mass local jobs in just 5 months on the one hand and satisfy all of its other vital needs for integral life, with the aim not only of ensuring its food security and self-sufficiency but also and above all of its sustainable empowerment while making the locality attractive.
Its objective is to work through Aquaculture, Agriculture and Poultry farming (The 3 A’s) to rapidly, significantly and sustainably improve the living conditions of rural and internally displaced populations by generating 500 sustainable jobs and making localities attractive. Indeed, the activity is developing around fish farming to spread to agriculture through poultry farming, etc. This involves setting up an intensive fish production system integrated into agriculture, using productive energy and taking into account the requirements or needs of the local and regional market. Fundraising through UNITHON will first allow the drilling of drinking water and also for agricultural production. Then it will be a question of setting up a hatchery of fry then of the fish growth tanks to mass produce fish for consumption and also for marketing. An irrigation system is finally set up to channel the water from the fish ponds, rich in organic minerals, to the fields for organic farming and market gardening. These initiatives are being rolled out gradually in the field and the foundation has great ambitions for 2020. Already the localities of Pitmoaga, Bancoré, Yalgtenga, Ouidi, Sika, Kangrin, Tougou and Solgom are at the top of the list to receive projects. Some have already been started and others in progress. The discussions with the beneficiary populations give reasons for satisfaction according to the president of the Foundation, because they have already appropriated the concept. She now hopes to be able to mobilize sufficient funding, on an urgent basis, from financial partners, friends and even good wills, to finance these projects for the benefit of young people and women who, for some, have already been trained and are only waiting for financial support to launch their businesses. It is at the cost of these initiatives, thinks the president, that Burkina Faso will be able to leave this endemic poverty which has only lasted too long.