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Most food crops and livestock products and/or products from the gathering of wild plant foods traditionally dominant in the diet of local populations in Sub-Saharan African countries are nowadays losing momentum in terms of production and declining in importance in the food basket of households. Examples include millet, fonio, sorghum, cowpea, beans, taro, sesame, sweet potato, local chicken, hazelnuts, locusts and wild fruit, etc.

Cereals of sovereignty

There are various reasons for this:

  • Gradual abandonment, by producers, owing to harsh working conditions, especially at the packaging level;
  • Changes in consumption patterns due to substitution by other products. For example, the share of imports in total cereal consumption, estimated at about 5%, right after independence, has been around 25%[1] in recent years, given the gradual increase in consumption of rice, wheat and by-products;
  • Decreased support for the development of the family agricultural sector and food exchanges between cities and rural areas, the emphasis placed on policies to promote monoculture for export at the expense of traditional crops.

Yet, these crops have great virtues – globally recognized nutritional values, therapeutic values, cultural/traditional values. These are also resilient food crops growing on poor soils, tolerant to climate change, etc. Finally, family farmers, especially women, are the custodians of a vast amount of knowledge and know-how accumulated on these products in the area of enriched farming practices handed down from generation to generation, recipes for cooking “local dishes” and the preservation of agro-biodiversity.

 

In fact, the concept of “sovereignty foods” stems from these characteristics of resilience, knowledge and know-how accumulated on seeds, cultural techniques and recipes for cooking. Because of these characteristics, family farmers are sovereign, outside the patented seed circuits, less dependent on imported fertilizers and chemical inputs, and have control over their knowledge and know-how. In short, the crops preserve the sovereignty of African countries over their food systems!

Visit of a sorghum field

In view of the above, the promotion of food sovereignty in African countries necessarily requires the repositioning of “sovereignty foods” at the heart of their food systems. It is in this spirit that Inades-Formation initiated in early 2017 the “Program to support the development of food systems based on family agriculture for an adequate, healthy and sustainable food supply for the populations of Sub-Saharan African countries.

Through this program, Inades-Formation aims to support:

  • The consolidation and amplification of the intellectual and cultural heritage of local populations (local knowledge, know-how and good manners) in terms of cultural practices and recipes for cooking the “local dishes” enriched and transmitted from generation to generation, which are important levers of food sovereignty;
  • The promotion of local genetic resources and the preservation of agro-biodiversity – selection, multiplication, conservation and improvement of cultivated varieties particularly adapted to local ecosystems, important factors of resilience to climate change and economic volatility;
  • The emergence of a social and solidarity-based economy (urban-rural solidarity), as a driving force for improving the system of supplying local and urban markets and enabling all those involved in production, processing and distribution to live with dignity from the fruit of their labor;
  • Awareness-raising on the strategic role of “sovereignty foods” in local and national food systems and the drawing of decision-makers and the general public’s attention on: 1) the threats linked to the gradual disappearance of local seed varieties at the basis of Africa’s rich biodiversity. 2) family farming and its economic, social, environmental and cultural functions. 3) The major role of African women in the regular supply of food to cities. 4) Issues of access and control of producing resources (land, financing, water, know-how) by farm families. 5) The supply of urban centers and access to foodstuffs for underprivileged groups.

 

Through this program, which mainly aims at promoting “sovereignty foods”, Inades-Formation continues to serve the common good, contributing to the enjoyment by all of the right to adequate, healthy and sustainable food.

The bean, a legume of sovereignty

[1] Source: FAOSTAT data, 2004

Promotion of sovereignty food through the development of agricultural collective entrepreneurship around fonio, millet and sorghum sectors in central and northern Côte d’Ivoire

Inades-Formation is committed to promoting food systems based on family farming. At all times committed to peasant agriculture, this choice has been motivated by the persistence of food crises in the world and especially in Africa, climate change and its consequences, the threat of agro-business which dispossess small producers, The tendency towards standardization of food systems that exposes the populations of the South to the loss of dietary diversity and makes them increasingly dependent on export products.

Faced with this sad picture, it is essential to work for the conservation of the food sovereignty of the countries of the South. Everything that passes through the promotion of food of sovereignty and the agro-ecological transition.

It is to this end that the project to promote food for sovereignty is launched to ensure a sufficient, healthy and sustainable population.

The project runs in 8 countries of the Inades-Formation network and aims to contribute to the promotion of food systems based on family farming for a dignified life for all. It specifically aims to improve the level of productivity and consumption of food of sovereignty in the zones of intervention; To establish and develop sustainable mechanisms for the management of the market and consumption of local food products; To encourage public policies to take account of the promotion of food systems based on family farming and food of sovereignty in particular.

In addition to training, experimentation and sharing of experiences in good farming practices, effective start-up strategies, awareness raising and consumption of sovereignty food, advocacy for the development of family farming, Actions to increase access to financing for producers through the development of community microfinance structures based on solidarity within the community.

Foods of sovereignty are food products of vegetable and animal origin, historically anchored in the food habits of the populations of a given region, in trade, in cultural practices. They are known for their resistance to climate change, their nutritional quality, their low dependence on synthetic inputs and their important role in boosting the local economy. A total of four (4) food crops were selected for all the countries concerned: Bean / Cowpea, Sorghum, Fonio, Mil and one (1) livestock product: local chicken.

Three (3) crops of sovereignty will be valued in Côte d’Ivoire in the regions of BAGOUA (Tengrela), TCHOLOGO (Ferkessédougou) and GBEKE (Bouaké) namely fonio, millet and sorghum.

In previous years, Inades-Formation Côte d’Ivoire carried out actions to revive the interest of the Tengrela populations for the cultivation of fonio and to improve its production. This project will thus consolidate the achievements and continue the

 

The direct beneficiaries are mainly producers, sellers, processors and consumers of fonio, millet and sorghum from the project implementation areas. Certain aspects of the project will also affect the members of the 4 Fonsdev already existing in the regions of South Comoé and Gbêkê.

The project will last three years, from 2017 to 2019.

Financial partner

KZE / MISEREOR

The project of Valorisation of the food of sovereignty for a sufficient, healthy, sustainable population is a project that responds to the positioning of Inades-Formation for food sovereignty. It is carried out in 8 countries of the Inades-Formation network and aims to contribute to the promotion of food systems based on family farming for a dignified life for all.

The project specifically aims to improve the level of productivity and consumption of sovereignty foods in the zones of intervention; To establish and develop sustainable mechanisms for the management of the market and consumption of local food products; To encourage public policies to take account of the promotion of food systems based on family farming and food of sovereignty in particular.

Foodstuffs of vegetable and animal origin, which are historically anchored in the food habits of the populations of a given region, in trade, and in cultural practices, are termed sovereignty. They are known for their resistance to climate change, their nutritional quality, their low dependence on synthetic inputs and their important role in boosting the local economy. A total of four (4) food crops were selected for all the countries concerned: Bean / Cowpea, Sorghum, Fonio, Mil and one (1) livestock product: local chicken.

Two crops of sovereignty will be valued in the provinces Kirundo and Cibitoke, located respectively in the North and in the West of Burundi namely the Bean and the Sorghum.

The project also includes an institutional component aimed at developing the institutional capacities of the Inades-Formation network as a current of thought and social movement serving the common good and contributing effectively to the transformation of society.

Financial Partners

KZE / MISEREOR