Terra Madre Burkina Faso: The West African Country Welcomes its First Slow Food Presidia

23 Jan 2017 | English

Local rice and yam varieties are the first two Burkinabe Presidia

A press conference was held yesterday in Ouagadougou to present Terra Madre Burkina Faso, the first gathering of West African food communities, which will be held in the capital city on February 3 and 4. The event has been organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity as part of Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso, an initiative promoting the right to food run by 28 banking foundations which are members of ACRI, the association of Italian savings banks and foundations. Participating in the event will be producers from the two new Burkinabe Presidia, the Comoé red rice and the Arbollé yam variety. Slow Food Presidia are projects that support quality food production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties.

The Presidia for red rice will protect a traditional variety from Comoé province, in the south of Burkina Faso, near the border with the Côte d’Ivoire. The Presidium was started in 2016 thanks to a collaboration between the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, the Region of Piedmont, Coldiretti Piemonte, the consortium of Piedmontese NGOs, the Province of Vercelli and the Association Inter Villageoise de Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune de la Comoé-Léraba (the inter-village association for the management of the Comoé-Léraba natural resources and fauna). The Presidium’s aim is to preserve the local variety of Oryza glaberrima and to promote the local cultural identity, as well as to provide local people with an economic alternative to poaching and the over-exploitation of resources.

The Arbollé yam is a variety grown in the seven villages of the commune of Arbollé, 50 kilometers north of Ouagadougou. Its cultivation is increasingly rare due to the spread of other more profitable crops, a reduction in the amount of arable land available and the abandonment of agriculture by young people. The Presidium was launched following the mapping of food products carried out as part of the Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso project and meetings with food communities to promote local resources.

“The Slow Food network in Burkina Faso wants to see a renewed focus on the importance of local foods and production techniques, in order to protect the extraordinary traditions that have come about thanks to centuries of intermingling between ethnic groups and cultures,” said Carlo Petrini, the president of Slow Food. “The time has come for Burkina Faso to reflect on its agricultural, gastronomic and traditional heritage in a new way, with pride. Pride that it can find by turning its back on a Western approach that scorns subsistence agriculture, degrading it as wretched and recognizing development only where profits are accumulated.”

Slow Food has been working in Burkina Faso since 2010 focusing on two main projects: the creation of a network of community and school food gardens and the mapping of local food products. These two main projects have strengthened in 2014 thanks to the Fondazioni for Africa initiative, a project funded by the ACRI Foundation in collaboration with several Italian NGOs. Over the years, a substantial network of activists has developed in the country, making it possible to identify the first local products at risk of extinction (there are currently 20 in the Ark of Taste), create a network of food gardens (currently numbering 124 in the country) and exchange experiences, while working to protect biodiversity and affirm the right to food sovereignty.

Click here for more information about the event: https://www.facebook.com/TERRA-MADRE-Burkina-Faso-662358183943623/?fref=ts

Slow Food protects biodiversity with projects around the world. To continue this work, we need everyone’s help and participation. http://donate.slowfood.com/en/

For further information, please contact:

Slow Food coordinator for West Africa

Typhaine Briand – [email protected]

Responsible of the event communication in Burkina Faso

Jean Victor Ouedraogo [email protected]

Slow Food International Press Office

[email protected] – Twitter: @SlowFoodPress

Terra Madre Burkina Faso has been organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity as part of Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso, an initiative promoting the right to food run by 28 banking foundations who are members of ACRI, the association of Italian savings banks and foundations, in collaboration with the NGOs and non-profit organizations Acra, Mani Tese, Lvia, Cisv, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, Ital-Watinoma, the CeSPI research center, 27 migrants’ associations, 15 farmers’ organizations in Burkina Faso and local authorities in Italy. Launched in January 2014, Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso wants to tackle the issues that prevent people from accessing enough food while promoting initiatives able to trigger sustainable and long-lasting development. Its areas of action are support for family farming, microfinance, training, food education, the role of women and the involvement of migrants’ associations in Italy. Find out more at www.fondazioniforafrica.org or on Facebook and Twitter.

Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries. Among them, a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members are linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide, contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize. As part of the network, more than 2,400 Terra Madre food communities practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

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