Ferme Agro-Pastoral Wendnongodo

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Ferme Agro-Pastoral Wendnongodo

Burkina Faso
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Born in the capital and frustrated with the lack of employment options there, Rene Christophe moved back to the countryside to try to take control of his future. Recognizing the need for wood products in the city, he launched a tree farm to supply this demand, and convinced other youth from the city and peri-urban areas to join him. In return for their labor, Rene offers them young plants to start their own businesses. In this way, Rene is demonstrating and teaching his contemporaries how a return to working the land can provide real economic possibilities for escaping the endless cycle of unemployment that often results in a series of negative consequences in the city.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Migration from rural inland areas to the Sahel's inland cities has created horizontal expansion in the diameter of city footprints. For example, as recently as the early 1990's the footprint of Ouagadougou measured two miles by two miles. Now that diameter has expanded to more than five miles by five miles. One of the reasons is the creation of a larger seasonal agricultural laborer work force that moves back and forth between the cities and the countryside during the Sahel's inland single growing season, usually September to February. Counter-intuitively, this expansion of the urban footprint has created opportunities for small farmers living in the peri-urban area and the areas immediately beyond that perimeter for a distance of up to 10-15 kilometers. The opportunities have stemmed from two new dynamics: an increased demand for food; but, even more importantly, a demand for wood materials suitable for framing and roofing support materials in the city. Rene Christophe is capitalizing on these new opportunities to create an alternative aimed at young people living on farms in peri-urban areas and the ten to fifteen kilometer belt beyond the cities. Rather than have these young people leave the farms, or pressure their parents to sell the farms, his approach gives young people an incentive to keep farming the existing family farms, and to expand them. He does this very simply, using native tree seedlings as both a form of currency (to encourage adoption) and as a cash crop that can begin to earn significant cash income within three to four years as they are sold to meet the rising needs for wood materials. Beginning two years ago with a demonstration tree nursery and farm that he was able to create with a minimal cash investment, Rene Christophe has built a network of more than two hundred young farmers who are adopting his approach. In the next three years his goal is to create a national network of young farmers using the hybrid "sustainable trees for construction and traditional farming" in Burkina Faso and to spread his idea to young farmers in the inland cities of neighboring countries in Mali, Togo and Niger. Réné Christophe’s new idea is essentially based on a return to working the land in rural area for urbanized youths taking the time needed to nurse trees before using them as money to acquire land, animals, and other material that allow them to become successful and sustainable farmers. He set out teaching young people the concept of investing time and physical work and getting the return later.