Rebuild, Meet and Move Forward: Together in a Constant Interchange
Let’s rebuild, reconnect and move forward. Let’s exchange our knowledge, experience and visions. And, most importantly, let’s do this on an international level, together. Fortunately, Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet, gives us the tools and resources to do so!
The situation of the African continent, and especially the situation of African youth and women in rural areas, is a promising field where action can be taken and positive changes realized.
African youth are the future of the continent and, in overall terms, the future of humanity. If their location is to be considered in Africa, then it can be seen as a location of low interest, without much attention by the broader public for a long time.
How can we consider the future of our agriculture without educated and well-trained youth? We need to keep young people- in both rural and urban areas- involved in agriculture. Working on the land may be difficult, however it is important for our Agro Ecology and to enrich living-beings on all levels: physical, emotional, psychological, financial, etc.
Women are at the center of our society and families. Female farmers in particular can be viewed as custodians of the Earth and custodians of its Seeds. They work, reconnect, and learn from ancient knowledge. They also farm with good, clean and fair practices and can contribute to the improvement of our earth, humanity, biodiversity, and larger society. As mothers, women understand the importance of Agro Ecology. That is, they understand the importance of maintaining the general welfare of their families, communities and earth. They, and their work, are highly appreciated. Their integrity is one of the main values that contributes to their character and it is seen as essential for managing a family. Their ability to become business leaders has been recognized for millennia and, with Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet, the importance and highly appreciated role of all female farmers, producers and transformers will be emphasized.
In an environment where the yield from Senegalese agricultural land continues to decline every year, and where the demographic structure has rapidly evolved due to a large rural exodus, the need to preserve and restore environmental and socio-economic conditions of rural populations while boosting the economies of urban areas, seems entirely appropriate, if not necessary, to improve the current situation.
“It can be observed that despite significant investments and agrarian reforms made by the government, the objectives focused on increasing productivity, improving market infrastructure and the reorganization of markets have failed to provide sustainable reorientation of Senegalese food chain.” (PNUD (2010), National Human Development Report, Climate change, Food security and human development)[
However, the wind of hope blows, it spreads seeds of good, clean and fair life everywhere; it spreads the hope that each urban or rural household will have its own food garden and each community its own source of good, clean and fair food.
With the enhancement of knowledge and transmission of knowledge by Senegal and other west African ancestors, Jokko, and the organization I am working for, we strive to increase the good life of our people and to promote the connection between rural and urban areas. In so doing, we hope to not only build an intergenerational exchange and foster the coexistence between people and their environment but to also augment the individual and collective health of the Senegalese, of Africans and of the planet.
As the Wolof (a language of Senegal) proverb goes - Is there a better bank than the Earth? - if you give it a seed, it gives you wood, energy, food, water, and life, it will give you back your seed - renewed and refreshed - and it will give you several thousands of other seeds. It will be the same for each seed that you entrust.
I am looking forward to meet you in Milan!
Ciao, Cheikh, Senegal, Co-founder and President of Jokko, and co-founder, President and General Manager of Begue Coco.