With local knowledge, small farmers in Burkina Faso are best equipped to help themselves. Misereor helps them implement their ideas, along with local partner organizations.  


Aminata Compaoré has found a solution to store onions longer. (c) Mellenthin/Misereor

Small farmers in West Africa face many different problems. Cattle, sheep and goats have fallen victim to smallpox. In addition, many of them have problems storing their fresh products. For example, the village of small farmer Aminata Compaoré makes its living from growing and selling vegetables, especially onions. "Earlier, too many onions were rotting during storage", she reports.


International agricultural research is working on ways to circumvent such problems. But the solutions they develop often require very expensive equipment and are tailored to industrial agriculture. For small farmers in West Africa these solutions are neither affordable nor suitable. Therefore, since 1990, Misereor's partner organization DIOBASS has been working on confronting the challenges at the local level. It helps small farmers in Burkina Faso develop innovations on their own which meet the needs of small farmers like them.


„Since then everything is better"


The onions in storage remain fresh for months. Small-scale farmers have earned more since then. (c) Mellenthin/Misereor

Aminata Compaoré is a member of a group of small farmers who take their problems into their own hands. Together with DIOBASS, the group has developed simple but effective solutions. "We carefully observed the cultivation and harvesting process and drew conclusions as to the ideal time to harvest the onions. It comes down to the details", she explains. In this way, the farmers have succeeded in optimizing cultivation and harvesting times. And the onions now have a separate warehouse in which they can be stored for up to ten months without rotting.


For Aminata Compaoré the new knowledge brings many advantages: "In the past we would sell as quickly as possible at a low price. But since we can preserve the onions well now, we earn more and everything is better. The extra money helps us to pay for doctors' visits and tuition for the children."


Trust in your own inventiveness

DIOBASS is convinced that one does not always have to start from scratch and that local knowledge is often best suited to help the farmers. In the town of Tikare, for example, young livestock breeders were facing a particularly severe problem in that their animals were falling victim to smallpox. With the help of a partner organization of Misereor, the farmers used the knowledge of older and more experienced livestock breeders to create a herbal remedy to fight the disease. This remedy was later developed into an ointment, after which it became more effective. Today, infected animals which are treated with this ointment can make a full recovery from smallpox. 
"Our knowledge with regard to preventing and fighting smallpox is now in demand over a large area", a Tikare livestock breeder proudly reports. "This is not just a small side benefit, but a major recognition of our work." This newly gained self-confidence has inspired many groups to develop and implement their own ideas. In West Africa, this model has already found many imitators.

The world is full of good ideas. Sometimes, it just takes a little confidence in one's own inventiveness to let them grow. Misereor helps people in Africa, Asia and Latin America focus on their own problems and seek out solutions together. Misereor's partner organizations help people develop their ideas by providing methodical and professional advice. This strengthens their ability to independently analyze and solve problems. In this way, Misereor is successfully encouraging people to develop ideas and take action.

Back to overview

A Project by



Misereor is the Catholic charity for developmental cooperation. Together with local partners, Misereor supports people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Mehr erfahren