Located in the “Gourma” province, Bougui is a village of roughly 2,500 people located 5 kilometers east of Fada N’Gourma. It has a dam that serves as the water source for the many gardens that Bougui depends on for food and income. Due to its proximity to a water source, Bougui has the means of producing large quantities of vegetables, but it is lacking in the areas of market research, market analysis, proper gardening upkeep and nurseries.
The goals of this fair were to better secure market prices, establish an annual garden vegetable fair, and ultimately to increase profits and food security for farmers in the area. Thus, this festival addresses multiple community needs.
This WAFSP grant assisted in the establishment of an annual vegetable fair that will continue to be held in Bougui. The fairgrounds will also be used year-round as a weekly village market where produce will continue to be sold. As it stands, Bougui supplies more than 70% of the vegetables sold in Fada N’Gourma, its regional capital and the fourth largest city of the country. The problem is that the vegetables being sold are more profitable to the intermediaries, but not so much to the farmer. In an effort to empower the farmer, we created an association called “Tinga Finditi” which translates into “nourish the earth and the earth will nourish you.” We decided to begin holding annual vegetable fairs. After months of building stands and hangars, planning, marketing, and undergoing seven trainings ranging from gardening techniques to selling strategies, we held the fair from the 22nd to the 24th of December, 2015. While there are many improvements to be made, we achieved our goals as many producers were able to increase their profits. The example of Mr. Koadima is illustrative of this fact. He produced nothing but spring onions this year and he approached me to participate in the fair. I signed him up and the day of the fair he showed up with a sack of spring onions. He laid out his plastic tarp, sat down with his spring onion, and placed them in piles to be sold at 500cfa. Within 45 minutes, he had sold the sack for 8000 FCFA. Mr. Koadima sold 10 sacks on the first day (80.000 FCFA), 8 on the second (64.000 FCFA), and 12 on the last day (96.000 FCFA). In total, he earned an impressive 240, 000 FCFA. If he had sold the same quantity in Fada at 5,000 FCFA a sack, he would have only earned 150.000 FCFA; his participation in the fair earned him an additional 90.000 FCFA.
This project not only gives a new image to the village of Bougui as a vegetable producer par excellence in the area, but it also draws new partners. One such partner is an NGO called VALPAPE (programme de VALorisation du Potentiel Agro-Pastoral dans l’Est). This NGO has committed to improve the water retention capacity of the dam as the dam currently runs dry in February. Having water through May or June would greatly increase the production potential of the village and bring about further economic growth.
In summary, Bougui has great potential to increase their production and sale of vegetables. Its ideal location on the roads to Ouagadougou, Niger and Benin provide large potential markets for Bougui’s valiant producers like Mr. Koadima.
Henry Van Damme