Kickoff visit in Chad

In Chad, the introduction phase of the project took place from 2021 September 11 – 17. All CROP4HD consortium members met in Ndjamena, the capital of the country during this period. Beyond strengthening of social ties between parties, this stay allowed to appreciate the agro-ecosystems around the capital, the functioning of the agricultural products market, the involvement of public institutions, that of development partners and that of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in resources governance.

At the weekly market in Koundoul, a prototype of the country’s markets, foodstuffs are sold in such a way that all pockets can access them. In Dombola, a village 30km from N’Djamena, we discovered that sorghum is a key crop in the country and is one of the staple foods. It has several culinary, cultural and traditional uses. Hence the preservation of several local varieties by farmers, despite various programs of distribution of so-called improved varieties by the State or by NGOs. Bambara nuts, okra, beans and peanuts are also quite present in agrarian systems and contribute to shaping the diets of the populations.

The consortium members had to meet with various institutions to introduce the project and identify entry points for the desired changes. Discussions with the Rural Development and Environment Commission of the parliament, the Chadian Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (ITRAD), and the Directorate of Seeds and Plants (DSP) revealed a willingness to revise the texts governing seeds, an openness to cooperation for joint trials, and the existence of a seed certification system (Quality Declared Seed) that is more accessible to farmers and on the basis of which farmer seed systems (FSS) can be promoted. The Programme d’Opérationnalisation de la Filière Semencière (PROFISEM) which was funded by SDC and now by GIZ is also a platform through which CROPS4HD can enter for the desired policy improvements.

Finally, in the context of the Decade of Family Farming, the Platform for Exchanges and Promotion of Public Policies in favor of Family Farming in Chad (PEPAF-Tchad) has turned out to bring together the bulk of CSOs, including the National Council of Rural Producers of Chad (CNCPRT). This is a good entry point for strengthening the movement for agroecology and peasants’ rights.