Ousmane Sawadogo, 51, is a farmer in Pissila, Burkina Faso.

It produces sorghum, cowpea, corn and sesame.

It has 6.5 hectares of land. He is also a pilot producer.

How do you manage your operation within your large family?

O.S: The whole family is working on my farm, but each of my women cultivates one hectare more, and then they do what they want with the money they earned on their plot.

How do you use your production?

O.S: We self-consume sorghum and corn, and sell sesame and cowpea even if we keep some of it for customary festivals.

What did the support of the Accir and Fert bring you?

O.S: First of all, it allowed me to start a new production: the cowpea. In the first year, I produced 300 kg per hectare. One year I even managed to harvest 1.3 t per hectare. In addition, I became a pilot producer for my group. This brought me a lot of knowledge and allowed me to increase my production and therefore have enough for marketing.

The Ohada law invites you to transform the union to which you belong as a cooperative, what is your view on this project?

O.S: I think that when there is a law, you have to throw yourself in it. I think we should start by creating a simplified cooperative before we go into a cooperative with a board of directors. I am not afraid to entrust the marketing of my production to a cooperative. As for the shares, it is not really a brake: what you give, you will reap it. Here, access to credit is very difficult, few producers can benefit from it. I would like the Accir to be able to move us forward.

Elisabeth Ouedraogo, producer of cowpea, pilot producer and treasurer of the Union of Pissila.

Can you tell us about your work as a peasant?

E.O: I produce 0.5 ha of cowpea and practice the technique of zaï: it is a matter of making holes in hard and poor soils and putting in manure before sowing the seeds. For my part, I mix organic fertilizer and chemical fertilization. I work alone on my plot except to dig zais, for that I use the help of my children.

What does it mean to be a pilot producer?

E.O: I am trained in new technologies, the measurements of my areas are correctly carried out and I can thus measure the fertilizers that I bring along with the right quantities of seeds. I serve as an example to other producers, and the fact that I am a woman attracts other women. We can exchange and therefore increase our returns to meet our needs and those of our families

Finally, a word about your role as Treasurer of the Union …

E.O: I record the receipts and withdrawals of money from the Union under the control of our President. In fact, I do the management of the Union in a way …

Interview by C.Gimonnet, Administrator of Accir.

Testimonials published in the Accir quarterly newsletter, March 2017