The Neer-Tamba project offers grants toward small businesses in rural communities to complement their sustainable land management activities and increase the overall resilience of smallholder farmers.
In the Northern region of Burkina Faso, 90% of households are smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are highly dependent on the land around them. However, population growth and a lack of support to invest in sustainable agricultural practices have been putting pressure on cultivable and grazing land, and increasing demand for forest products. To reverse this trend, the Government of Burkina Faso launched the Participatory Natural Resource Management and Rural Development Project (Neer-Tamba Project), led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The Neer-Tamba project is scaling sustainable land management (SLM) practices to mitigate land conflicts and increase the resilience of rural populations. The project has facilitated community-led groups that scale sustainable land management practices and work together to mainstream their needs into national plans. It has also raised awareness of land tenure policies among rural people to foster an enabling environment for scaling SLM.
But, there is a saying in Burkina Faso that “many streams make a great river,” so the Neer-Tamba project also offers targeted funding to support business development plans to expand the income opportunities for smallholder farmers.
The criteria for funding favours the participation of women and youth, and the project has offered funding from the Project Investment Fund to 900 businesses focusing on the sustainable use of non-timber forest products, including 120 for renewable energy products. These businesses support the SLM activities being carried out in the project area.
Another stream flowing into the Neer-Tamba River is funding small businesses that contribute to overall livelihood improvement, and improved traditional poultry farming is one such initiative that has benefitted several farmers.
Augustine Godo was always interested in poultry farming so when the Neer-Tamba project came to her village of Bolsa in the North-Central Region in 2017, she signed right up. Augustine received a grant of 962 5000 Central African Francs and training in poultry farming and financial management. She then set herself up with 400 heads of chicken and got to work.
“I wasn’t even sure of myself, [sure] that I could handle that money,” remembers Augustine of when she started. But after taking part in financial management training and starting up, she says “immediately I was able to multiply it in two, in three, right now I’m even multiplying it in four.”
Kadre Dianda from Arbole in the North Region also started off with a grant in 2017 and has since scaled his business up and up. “There is a big change since I benefited from the Support Fund,” he shared. “Currently, my activity allows me to cover for my needs and those of my family, such as food and health care.”
Kadre Dianda was also approached by Anipole Faso, a private-sector agricultural company focusing on livestock, who were so impressed by his efforts, they engaged him to raise chicks in partnership.
Truly sustainable food systems are built from a culmination of efforts from the landscape to the household level, starting with farmers whose needs are being met. The investments from the Neer-Tamba project, coupled with technical support, are practical and effective ways of getting folks set up toward their resilient food futures.
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