Of the world's 6 billion inhabitants, 1.3 million people are now living under the poverty level (on less than $2/day) and three-quarters of them live in rural areas. Faced with sometimes difficult climates, but above all with a lack of information, credit, market access, infrastructure, and health and education services, small farmers and their families are often forced to leave their villages and find themselves without work in neighborhoods on the outskirts of big cities.
In order to allow them to live on their land with dignity, the development and diversification of agriculture, livestock and sources of revenue, the improvement of nutrition, and the education and health of rural families have been among ESSOR's objectives since its inception.
In this area, we work with rural families (family agriculture as opposed to agri-business practiced by large producers who employ salaried manual labor) and seek to reconcile several objectives in the short, intermediate, and long term:
In the short term, we are working to help farmers identify and put into practice technical solutions that will foster tangible and rapid (in 2-3 years) improvements in production and agricultural revenue.
In the intermediate and long term, ESSOR works to reinforce the ability of farmers and farmers' associations to analyze problems, to elaborate strategies for adapting to new contexts and, finally, to work with the government to establish efficient, lasting support structures for family agriculture.
Agricultural Training and Participatory Experimentation with Innovation
Training is at the heart of all of our missions. It is often long (2 yrs), practical and theoretical, and always participatory. Our pedagogical method is based on dialogues between farmers and technicians and on the comparison between traditional know-how and the technical contributions of agronomic research.
Groups of farmers meet several times a month in their village, with the support of a technician, to analyse problems and research their causes, then search for solutions that will be attempted on one of the group member's parcels.
Alternating agricultural schools based on the model of rural family houses are set up to allow young people to reconcile basic education, agricultural training, and work on the family plot.
Diversification of Production
By combining training, experimentation, and support (often in the form of micro credit) for obtaining necessary primary ingredients, ESSOR facilitates the development of apiculture, pisciculture, fruit and vegetable production, and poultry farming.
Transformation and Commercialisation of Products
By creating small units of transformation (honey, jam, fruit juice) and by supporting cooperatives in search of a market, ESSOR's activities work to increase the added value of agricultural products.