Innovation in Agroeconomy Grows More than Just Crops

The IIE New Leaders Award for Mutual Understanding was established in 2005 by private donations to provide an award every other year to current or recent Fulbright grantees for projects that promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and another country. The New Leaders Award has helped to lay the groundwork for IIE to enhance the Fulbright program as a life-long experience, inspiring additional private donors to establish the IIE Centennial Fellowships in 2019.

By Edouard Tiendrebeogo, Agroeconomist

From an odd to an even year

I really liked 2019.  It was a year full of actions, joys, excitements, networking, and achievements.  In fact, I participated in a 3-day-training on agroecology in June and that was a great moment to reinforce my skills on the production of natural fertilizers and chemicals.  Most importantly, I made lots of friends during the training and to keep in touch, we created a What’s Up group which goes by the name “Les Agroecologistes”.  Another amazing moment in 2019 was the study tour I organized for the students of Université Saint Thomas D’Acquin.  For one week, I took the students enrolled in plant breeding and animal husbandry to Bagré, the most important agricultural hub of Burkina Faso. This experience allowed them not only to familiarize themselves with agricultural machinery, but also to bridge the gap between theory and practice in terms of cereals and vegetables growing.

Here comes 2020 with plenty of expectations on my side.  First and foremost, I have to make sure that the Bagrépôle Food Cold Hub Project is successful by strategizing in an effective and efficient manner.  Secondly, I must raise adequate amount of fund to invest in technological innovations in the field of agriculture.  Thirdly, it is necessary for me to reinforce my network of collaborators by establishing new partnerships with resource people and organizations active in the areas of innovation, capacity building, international development, etc.  For 2020, my goal is to implement a project that is dear to me but is above all revolutionary.  It consists of collecting, selecting, and multiplying local cereal seeds with high production potential and nutritional value.Students after a study tour of a dairy unit.
This project will have two major outcomes.First, it will permit the production of cereals with less sugar content, thus benefiting people with diabetes.  Second, there will be an increase in quantity and quality of food for the benefit of underfed kids. For some time now, the dairy unit visited by the students (right) and where fresh cow milk is processed has been operating at a sluggish pace and my objective this year is to give a new momentum to it as well.

Edouard at a glance

Edouard in a vegetable fieldAs a Fulbrighter, I am an ambitious person and citizen of Burkina Faso.  I studied economics at University of Ouagadougou and environmental science at State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry and I obtained my master’s degree in both fields.  At present, I am active in the sphere of plant and dairy cow breeding (Edouard in a vegetable field, left).  As a man of action, I really enjoy doing this kind of work and this partly explains why I have decided to design and implement the “Bagrépôle Food Cold Hub Project” in Burkina Faso.  The reason behind this project is to provide farmers with a solar cold facility so that they can keep their vegetable products fresh until prices on the market are good enough for them to sell.  I have initiated the project at Bagrépôle because of the current growing concern about the high rate of food spoilage in this agricultural hub. The project is meaningful and significant to me for various reasons. First, it is going to improve the environmental quality of the ecosystems cultivated by reducing the rate of food spoilage.  Second, the project will increase farmers’ revenue and improve access to quality food for the people living at Bagré. Third, I am planning to share the achievements of the project during workshops and this can motivate other development actors to scale it up in other areas of Burkina Faso.