Friday, October 30, 2015

logo journal de mayotteThe Journal de Mayotte takes on the work of dialogue between farmers

On 28 October, the online newspaper, JDM (Journal de Mayotte), echoed the work of the Farmers Dialogue in Mayotte: 'After the success of the agricultural fair in 2011, Mayotte will once again move to the rhythm of the countryside. From 13 to 15 November, an agricultural exhibition will be held in Mtsapere, alongside an international conference organised by the NGO Farmers’ Dialogue'. The article continues:

'Together, we can popularise individual initiative.' This is the theme of the international conference that will take place in Mayotte at the same time as a new agricultural exhibition piloted by CAPAM. The transformation of the fair in 2011 to an exhibition will also reinforce the international dimension, as the guests of CAPAM will be able to join those from the NGO Farmers’ Dialogue (DEA).

Participants from India, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Kenya, Comoros Islands, UK, Madagascar, Réunion and mainland France will all come to exchange ideas on numerous topics linked to agricultural issues. They will launch ideas and initiatives that will continue on at the next conference in two years’ time.

The three conference days will be each dedicated to a theme. On Friday 13 November it will be 'feed your land, feed the planet' regarding technical and technological inputs. On Saturday 14 November, we will discuss 'transformation and the value of agricultural products' and also talk about commercialisation. And finally, on Sunday 15 November, the theme will be the link between farmers and the environment.

An NGO between words and actions

The NGO Farmers’ Dialogue is not publicly well-known. Since the 1990s, it has been a programme run by Initiatives of Change, an organisation that aims to unite and bring together everyone personally involved 'for the promotion of peace, good governance and a fair and durable economy'.

Farmers’ Dialogue has developed this idea in the agricultural world by 'engaging with farmers in many countries, including on very sensitive cases” explains Didier Genatio, DEA Co-ordinator for the Indian Ocean. By doing this, the DEA leads actions and reflections just as well in Europe and India (on the development of the milk industry) as in Africa (in particular in the Great Lake region).

Acoua in the event

The programme uses representatives in a number of countries to start dialogues and bring forward thoughts in the agricultural field: on the roles of farmers, the safeguarding of the environment, and the eradication of poverty. The choice to host this conference in Mayotte, after Rwanda in 2011 and DRC in 2013, was the decision of the NGO, with the aim to concretely see the main levers in our development. It is also to comprehend how well the Mahorais farmers understand their mission within our regional environment, taking into consideration social demands, economic distortion and issues of the island.

In Mayotte, it’s on the Acoua side where the organisation is based on reviving the 'Grouping of agricultural popularisation' (GVA). Now a long way from its teething period, the GVA provides reflections as well as initiatives. They organise the farmers’ market every second Sunday of the month in the commune and have fully led the operation 'fruit for break' on their own lands.

The challenge of the conference

Obviously, a part of the event will also be taking place in Acoua. After the daytime conferences in Mamoudzou, the evening sessions will be in the north commune – with networking, co-operation, film projections and agricultural games. The International General Assembly of the DEA will also be held in Acoua, including the election of the office and the adoption of the five year programme plan.

This conference, which hopes to lose the « UNESCO conference » label, will be a dry run of the organisation of such an event in our department. The problem of simultaneous translation into English, with all the necessary material and interpreters, is an example of the challenges faced by the DAESA (Agro-Economic and Health Safety Development). With transport and accommodation being inevitably linked with hospitality and sharing, two leading values of the DEA, the challenges for these few days will be just as much in the organisation as in the content.

RR - The  Journal de Mayotte

See the article online

Translation by Claire Shires