SEDELAN extends its best wishes for the year 2013 to the new Minister of Agriculture.

These past days members of my family came to visit me in Burkina. We had the joy of doing the ”Tour du Faso” and celebrated Christmas in Niassan in the north west. The following day we went to Toma-île, a small village turned into an island as a result of the dam constructed for the irrigation of the Sourou valley. Many adults cross with the pirogue every day to work on the adjoining land, while others remain and live on fishing. For the children – of which there are many – staying on the island means “not going to school”!

Upon my return to Ouagadougou I read that Burkina now has a new government. Going through the papers from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th of January I see that not only has the Minister of Agriculture changed, but also his terms of reference: the new Minister is no longer in charge of fisheries. This is now entrusted to the Minister of Animal Resources, Mr Jérémie Tinga Ouédraogo, while Mr Mahama Zoungrana is the Head of Agriculture and Food Security.

Since the period of well-wishing for the new year is not yet at an end, I take the opportunity to wish the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security a Happy New Year. I do not know the intentions behind the restructuring of the Minister’s responsibilities. I dare hope that it implies that food security is no longer primarily assigned to the Minister of Commerce. And incidentally I do hope that we shall no longer have the government subsidising imported rice to the detriment of rice produced in Burkina.

I dare hope that we are seeing a breakaway from the past and that the new duties assigned to the Ministry will take the shape and form of actual fact. I dare hope that the new direction will be followed by all government members and that from now on it will not merely try and provide the urban population with food at the lowest possible cost, but rather enable the farmers to supply the cities with products of good quality at affordable prices:

In brief, I dare hope that a decisive step has now been taken towards putting food sovereignty on a solid footing in Burkina Faso.. Will the slogan “Let us eat what we produce and let us produce what we want to eat” become a reality?

One last word: We have seen on national TV that the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture have been devastated by fire. I hope that the urgent file of the situation of the rice and maize farmers of the Sourou valley has not been destroyed. If that were the case, may I remind you that these farmers are still waiting for compensation,(please see newsletter n° 462: “The rice farmers of the Sourou valley are losing patience !”).

Koudougou, January 12th 2013
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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