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 (organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity as part of Fondazioni for Africa Burkina Faso) will see the participation of the producers from the two new Burkinabe Presidia, for Cira-Mahingou red rice from the Comoé and the Arbollé yam variety.
The Presidia for Comoé red rice will protect a unique variety of rice, called cira-mahingou in the local language. Traditionally cultivated by women in marginal, low-lying areas, it has medium-small grains, which range from white to red in color, and a more bitter flavor compared to white rice. Its survival is threatened by more productive hybrids, but a few women are still cultivating it for domestic use in the villages of Sinena and Ouangolodougou, where it represents an essential ingredient in the meals served at the ceremonial gatherings of the Cerma people. 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 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.
“These Presidia are born to show these unique products to the world,” says Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. “They are extraordinary resources for one of the poorest countries in the world like Burkina Faso, that can and must grow through the rediscovery of its own agricultural heritage.”
Click here for more information (in French) about the event!