Promote exchanges and interactions to contribute to the capacity building of elected officials and their farmers’ organizations in Burkina Faso.

For more than 10 years, Fert, in partnership with the Association Champenoise de Coopération Inter-Régionale (Accir), has been supporting cowpea producers and their organizations in Burkina Faso. From an action initiated by Accir on the technical aspect with a single producer organisation, the action now contributes to the support of 7 cowpea POs in three regions of Burkina Faso, representing nearly 20,000 members. The action taken aims to strengthen production services (agricultural advice, management of test plots, etc.), economic services (input supply, storage and marketing) and, more transversely, to strengthen the viability of these organisations.

On this last aspect, since 2016, Fert and its partners have been reflecting on the training of elected officials and governance. The stated objective was to work in greater depth, with a medium-term vision of the actions to be undertaken. This orientation has led to the conception of training, no longer as an activity but more as a process. To this end, Fert has encouraged exchanges between leaders of organizations in Burkina Faso, but also with elected officials from other countries such as Madagascar and France. The objective is to compare points of view, needs, problems and co-construct with them useful actions to strengthen them and support them in their missions. It is in this context that Jean-Pascal Jarry, a farmer from Champagne, former president of the Coopérative d’Esternay, and member of Accir, came to Burkina Faso to exchange and share his experience as a professional agricultural manager with elected officials in Burkina Faso. He was accompanied by an Accir administrator, Jean-Louis Garnotel, a former technician of the Champagne Céréales Cooperative (now Vivescia) who long followed the action carried out in Burkina Faso for Accir.

In the field with the managers and advisors of the Fert team in Burkina Faso, for this first mission, Jean-Pascal Jarry was able to discover the accompanied farmers’ organizations, member producers, local agriculture, the activities carried out but also the producers’ organizations, elected officials, their means, the services set up and more widely exchange on their problems related to governance and the roles of elected officials.
Two days were specifically dedicated to exchanges between Burkinabe and French leaders. First, Jean-Pascal Jarry was able to share his experience within his cooperative, the satisfactions and difficulties he encountered, before an exchange between farmer leaders took place.
The discussions and questions focused on three main themes:


number of people, lifetime of the cooperative, sharing of results, possibility of resigning, what happens in case of dissolution? etc…


with the definition of the shares (value and nature), the share of external support, credits….


what advantages for us, producers? involvement of women, how to motivate young people? etc…

Currently, Burkina Faso’s elected officials are questioning the transformation of their organizations into cooperatives in order to comply with the OHADA (Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) uniform act. The exchanges on social shares, their importance, their links with production were rich. By providing his testimony, and an outside professional perspective, Jean-Pascal Jarry contributed to nourishing the reflections of elected officials by raising a number of complementary ideas and questions.
Fert and Accir, two agri-agencies, have strong links with the agricultural professional community from which the two associations originate. Fert and Accir wish, as part of their partnership, to continue to support Burkina Faso’s POs and, where relevant, to mobilize the agricultural profession. The objective is to promote interactions between farmers but also between organisations and this in both directions.
Also, another mission to promote this type of exchange will be conducted in 2019. Jean-Pascal Jarry has already expressed his interest and availability to meet the needs and possible requests of Burkina Faso’s elected officials. But the question of Leaders’ Training can also be answered through exchanges of elected officials and technicians in France with French elected officials and specialized structures for this type of dedicated training. The objective is to initiate more broadly and in various forms, capacity building, exchanges, training of farmer leaders in order to support producers in strengthening their organizations.