Burkina Faso at Terra Madre: From Cinema to Slow Food Presidia

Red Rice from Burkino Faso to Piedmont. This title is one of the Taste Workshops organized in the #foodforchange Seed space that will compare varieties and recipes from Piedmont and Burkina Faso.

It is here that we bring you, to deepen your knowledge of the first two Slow Food Presidia created on site.

Red Rice of Comoé

Found only in Africa, for at least 4,000 years,  is a unique and distinct rice species, the Oryza glaberrima, native to the  Niger Delta and characterized by the red color of the covering the grains. In the province of Comoé, in the south of Burkina Faso, on the border with the Ivory Coast, a traditional variety of red rice grows, named in the local cyrical language “Cira-Mahingou”, the red rice of Comoé.

The Comoé territory is exceptional, and its attractions include the protected Comoé forest (named after the river that runs through it), rich in biodiversity: a profusion of trees and berries, migratory birds, antelopes, elephants. Unfortunately, many animal species and plant varieties – not just wild – are threatened with extinction. These include the Comoé red rice. There are still some women who cultivate it, for family use and preparation of Gouin ceremonial meals.

To protect the role of women farmers, who also are met with the problem of access to land, Slow Food has established a Presidium that also has a clear social function: a product that protects biodiversity strengthens the role and income of women and cultural identity of the territory.
The Presidium is the result of the collaboration between the Piedmont Region, the Slow Food Foundation for Diversity, Coldiretti Piemonte, the Piedmontese Ong consortium, the Province of Vercelli and the Comoé-Léraba Association for the Management of Natural Resources and Wildlife. To honor the partnership between Comoé and Vercelli, two territories famous for their red rice, you will have the pleasure of tasting red rice Comoé in sesame sauce, a traditional recipe for Gouin ceremonies and red Ermes rice with pumpkin and chestnuts.


Arbollé Yams

Burkina Faso also is home in another interesting product, Arbollé yam, which will have its moment at Salone del Gusto in the Terra Madre Kitchens

The yam is a tuber grown in seven villages, 50 kilometers from the capital Ouagadougou. It is a drought-resistant variety, but cultivation is threatened by several other causes: the abandonment of agriculture by young people, declining arable land and, finally, the introduction of more profitable crops.

The objective of the Presidium, supported by the Foundations for Africa Burkina Faso, is to promote this exceptional product and enhance the territory in which it is grown. Already in 2017, the yam benefited from a certain notoriety, during the fourth edition of the Koudou du Faso, a gastronomic event for the promotion of local products and regional gastronomy, where it received an award for the best-unprocessed product. In the same event, the chef Franceline Tarnagda, who has been collaborating with Slow Food for several years, has been awarded. President of the Femmes d’Avenir Association, Franceline has found many points of contact between her goals and the philosophy of Slow Food, and Terra Madre will bring the ragout of Arbollé yam, cooking it together with Safietta Nabaloum, another local chef.


Film burkinabé: the documentary by Iara Lee

 For those who want to further deepen their knowledge of this country, on Sunday September 23 at 6 pm, in Sala Rossa, there is a  screening of the film Burkinabé Bounty, in the presence of the director Iara Lee.

“Often, when people think of Slow Food they think of people in rich countries who enjoy elaborate meals in expensive restaurants. But Slow Food’s work in Africa has shown that it is indeed a basic movement. Slow Food is fighting for food sovereignty, defending local food traditions, rejecting industrial agriculture and adopting an agroecological perspective ». At the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018 the documentary Burkinabe Bounty directed by Iara Lee will be presented to the public, it describes how agroecology in Burkina Faso is reclaiming its land and intends to defend its traditions in a context of intrusion of the food industry. The documentary presents people who have embraced the philosophy of Slow Food from different backgrounds, be they farmers, students, artists or leaders of the movement, who share the commitment and militancy in favor of food sovereignty.

The documentary illustrates, in particular, the initiatives of the communities to reclaim their lands, seeds and the future. Women who earn their independence by selling Dolo craft beer, young people protesting in the streets to express their strong opposition against the multinationals … Combining art, music, culture, and agriculture to create a common resistance against large industrial groups and import products, these people believe that agroecology will have an impact on our world because it nourishes us and can allow us to live in full health and with dignity.

The director is not new to Slow Food. A member since 2004, Iara has received numerous awards and supported the 10,000 gardens in Africa project. Her interest in Burkina Faso intensified during the 2014 uprising when she decided to follow Slow Food’s activities more closely on the African continent. After her trip in 2016, the film Burkinabè Rising was born, and later Burkinabè Bounty. She says that the work of Slow Food is an example to follow, especially in Africa, where the organization has the power to help revitalize the territory, cultures and traditions from the heritage of this people.


by Emilie Broc, e.broc@slowfood.it


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