Through its main contact in Western Africa, Oumar Diabate, also a member of the International Committee, Urgenci has been running project called Supporting Family Farming in Mali by training producers and informing consumers. Oumar is a well recognised trainer in agroecology, who has also been trying to operate a kind of Community Supported Agriculture model. After this initial attempt, which gave birth to still slowly blossoming Malian AMAP (the French version of CSA, and the model Oumar is referring to), Oumar started to think of a Western African model.
With fellow farmers and consumers from the international network Urgenci, he started a reflection triggered by Olivier de Schutter’s reports. The Rapporteur on the Right to Food to the United Nations puts particular emphasis on access to market for small scale family farmers as the key issue to make it possible for agroecology –based farming to feed 9 billion humans. Together, they came up with the idea of local food kiosks. Kiosk means both a small space dedicated to direct sales by local producers, and a place where information (newspapers, reviews) can be shared. The idea is to set up a specific kiosk where the meeting between farmers implementing agroecology practices and the conscious consumers would be facilitated.
After 2 years of project, 18 farmers, including 9 women, have been trained in agroecological techniques, and are now able to produce without any use of chemicals. These farmers were granted some plots of land (one for 2, to be shared) through a partnership with the local authorities.
2 kiosks have been set up, but one only is functioning. However, after the third year, there should be 5 of them altogether, where up to 180 families should be purchasing vegetables on a regular basis, thus contributing to a 25% increase of the producers’ incomes.