Some good news for a happy end to 2011
and a good start of 2012.

In my mail this morning I had a message from a friend telling me “We also have some good news”. A good headline for a Christmas message I found. So much more as I do indeed have some good news to convey (although one swallow does not make a summer).

Madame Gariko, la présidente de l'Union, le président de la chambre d'agriculture de Ouahigouya et le secrétaire de l'Union, Ibrahim Diallo.Vue partielle des participants à l'AG de l'Union des mini laiteriesFirst some news on the National Union of Mini Dairies. Yesterday, Wednesday December 21st, I attended the general conference of the Union, held in Ouahigouya, and noted that it has expanded considerably since it started in 2007. The initial 23 member organisations had risen to 40 on the closing day of the conference yesterday. The Union has been able to attract affiliates which back up the ambition to produce quality. Soon its own label “Burkinalait” should become a reality.

There is also a further item on the good news list: although we do not (yet) have the right to import solar refrigerators duty free and without VAT in general, we have been able to secure delivery of one container-load of solar powered refrigerators as part of a specific support action to help develop the cold chain and marketing line involving small local dairies. We will thus be able todistribute 150 Litre solar powered refrigerators at a price of approximately 900 000 CFA francs. This is beyond the financial means of the member dairies of the Union. But we are at present studying a leasing option.

At the conference I met with a friend who told me that my newsletter on the perverse effects of Jatropha cultivation had raised quite a stir among some officials in the Ministry of Agriculture. So much the better if some of them start having second thoughts on the “benefits” of growing Jatropha for agrifuel and the impact its uncontrolled expansion may have on food security!

aaDe nombreux stands étaient consacrés au riz étuvé !More good news: this time on parboiled rice. During the last days of the promotional sales of foodstuffs in Ouagadougou, it was obvious that parboiled rice is making good progress every year, both as regards quality and quantity. And this is not all. I must inform you that part of the parboiled rice from the Sourou valley (to start with!) will soon be marketed by a company willing to enhance its value and purity and provide improved packaging. There will be an opportunity shortly to give further details on this. It is however already something to feel happy about, as it will guarantee a better income for some hundred women (and many more later on).

To conclude : many of you have responded to my last newsletter “Information comes at a cost”. This is an encouragement we truly appreciate. One of you was even so generous as to allow us to announce that we shall be able to hire the services of a computer expert. Our thanks to all of you!

I end by sending you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012

Koudougou December 22nd 2011
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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