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- Association Kokopelli

Version: 1.0
(mai, 2008)

The Federation’s other activities

Protecting genetic heritage

The Yakaar Niani Wulli Federation is a member of the Association Sénégalaise des Producteurs de Semences Paysannes (ASPSP) (Senegalese Association of Rural Seed Producers) which is supported in particular by the association Kokopelli (France/USA)

The groups that are members of ASPSP meet together several times a year to exchange traditional seeds (different vegetables and cereals), as well as knowledge on multiplying seeds and information on the advancement of GM, against which the association carries out advocacy activities, supported by the National Senegalese and Sub-Regional Coalitions in the fight against GM crops.

In Koussanar, the Federation reproduces local seed varieties of corn, millet, sorghum, sesame, fonio, bissap and indigo.

On the 25th and 26th March 2007, the ASPSP organised a seed fair near Kolda in Casamance with farmers’ organisations who came from throughout the sub-region (Mali, Gambia, Guinea) and from all regions of Senegal. The discussions held were very fruitful!

Cereal Banks

The first 3 were created in 2004 to support farming families during the gap between July and September. This is the time of intensive agricultural activity, when people need the most energy, but it also the time when they suffer the most of hunger since cereal stocks from the previous season are finished.

In 2006, the Federation supported the setting up of 2 new banks, then 5 more, thanks to the support of Solidaridad (Dutch NGO), as part of a 3-year partnership with the Federation. Thanks Solidaridad!

The Federation provides 2/3 of the cereal stock once the populations have got together the first third. On average, a cereal bank contains a capital at the beginning of 5 tonnes of millet, sorghum and corn for about a hundred participating families. Reimbursement is with the same cereals after harvest with an interest rate of 10 to 15%.

According to the FAO, the minimum ration of millet per person for the 3 month gap is 40kg. At the moment, the cereal bank stocks are insufficient to cover the needs of all the families who ask to take part, but we hope that with the profit made from the interest, the banks will be able to cover the food gap for everyone one day.

Farmer field schools

These fields are established to experiment with the farmers different cultivation techniques or to compare parameters within a farming plot. We divide off 2 blocks of 100m2, in which we mark 10 plants that we are going to measure each week in terms of growth (height, number of leaves, of flowers, of fruits, etc.) and in terms of parasites (number of leaves attacked by pests or containing parasites, damaged fruit…) in order to follow their evolution. The farmers are divided into 2 groups, equipped with magnifying glasses, rulers, and technical sheets translated into local languages. Each session concludes with a summary of the reports of the day, a comparison with the previous week’s data, and an interpretation of the data.

During the 2006 campaign, 2 farmer field schools were carried out on the themes ‘the role of the tree in cotton production’ and ‘the role of “bulude” as a plant which can indicate fertility’. The results were conclusive: they underlined the primordial role of the tree in the organic production system.