Last weekend, Cordaid and Caritas Bozoum organized the foire agricole or farmers’ market in Bozoum for the second year in a row. It was quite a spectacle: 140 small farmer cooperatives came together to sell their wares in a small town in the Central African Republic.
It was a very welcome economic opportunity in a country where the precarious political situation and the insecurity give farmers and traders such a hard time.
Violence or no violence, farmers must continue, otherwise there is no food.
End of the harvesting season
As it’s the end of the harvesting season, it is now or never for farmers in and around Bozoum to sell their fruits and vegetables. But in a country that continues to be scarred by armed violence and political instability, this is not the easiest thing to do.
Yet, violence or no violence, farmers must continue, otherwise there is no food. And for that they depend on markets and opportunities to sell their produce.
Boosting local trade and food production
Volkert Doop, Cordaid’s emergency coordinator in the CAR was involved in the organization of the Bozoum fair and explains: “40 of the 140 farmer cooperatives that were at the market, are supported by Cordaid. The aim of this support and this market is to boost local trade and economy. Looking at the buzzing activity, we succeeded in doing that.”
Insecurity on the roads
The market in Bozoum is an annual phenomenon. Or it should be. There were years the armed conflict made it impossible for farmers to come together. A financial blow for many farming families. Volkert: “It is very difficult for farmers to sell their products. Insecurity is high on national roads and the costs of transport and fuel continue to go up. Markets like this are a phenomenon where hundreds of farmers in the region are eager to be part of.”
Apart from being a phenomenon, it is also an economic success. Volkert: “The proceeds of the sold merchandise of this weekend is estimated at 45,000 euros.”
Read about last years edition of the market in Bozoum. Or learn more about Cordaid’s other initiatives in the Central African Republic.
Photo gallery (by Volkert Doop):
Just before the official opening.
Cooperative of women entrpreneurs entering the market.
Lettuce, fresh from the field.
Everything nicely displayed. Where are the buyers?
Prizes for farmers whose produce was most fresh.
Volkert Doop was a guest at the market.
Coming and going of – mostly female – farmers.
The small plots of land where all the market ware comes from.