Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
On 14 August, a reforestation campaign was launched in the village of Cissin in Burkina Faso's Yatenga Province. The launch was organized by the Association Formation Développement Ruralité (AFDR), the NGO which is leading the reforestation campaign and is one of WFP's partners in the North region. Participants in the reforestation campaign will receive cash transfers from WFP as part of the Cash for Assets programme.
The people of the village of Cissin came out in force for the launch of the 2013 reforestation campaign, which aims to improve soil quality and boost agricultural production. AFDR plans to plant 400,000 trees on about 670 hectares. The species to be planted include acacia and neem, which are adapted to the region's ecological conditions, as well as other trees such as baobab and nere, which bear highly nutritious fruit.
"This reforestation campaign supports the progress made during our previous activities with WFP. The trees will be planted alongside the stone walls built earlier this year to protect them and to counter soil erosion', said the Executive Director of AFDR Hamidou Ouattara. He added WFP has an excellent relationship with AFDR, the local authorities and farmers in the North region.
In 2013, through cash for asset activities, WFP's support will allow 2,448 small scale farmers (1,400 women and 1048 men) to develop 500 hectares of land. For these activities, WFP will distribute more than 110 million CFA (US$ 220,000) in 67 villages of the North region. In addition to Cash for Assets, AFDR is one of WFP's main NGO partners in the North for the Purchase for Progress (P4P) scheme, which aims to increase small scale farmers' production and access to markets. In the past five years, small scale farmers have sold nearly 500 tons of food to WFP, receiving about 200 million CFA (US$ 400,000), according to Hamidou Ouattara.
Dr. Amadou Sidibé, Director of Market Development of agricultural products at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, who is the P4P focal point and co-sponsor of the ceremony, said, "At the beginning, I didn't agree with WFP's approach, which aimed to provide food assistance to people, but today WFP has evolved, reflected in the diversity of activities such as purchasing food from small producers, building stone walls to reduce erosion and increase food production, so congratulations to WFP ". Gilbert Noël Ouedraogo, Mayor of Ouahigouya town, echoed these sentiments and noted his appreciation for the reforestation campaign and underlined its importance in the context of the current environmental problems.
AFDR took the opportunity of the launch to award prizes to the best students of the primary school of the village of Cissin. Mamadou Diouf, WFP Burkina Faso Deputy Director, provided a bicycle to the best girl student, highlighting WFP's commitment for girls' education and gender equality. The campaign's launch was closed by a tree planting by guests and local population who attended the ceremony.