- Title: MALI: Farmers turn to garlic to feed their growing families
- Date: 18th February 2009
- Summary: BORKO VILLAGE, MALI (RECENT) (REUTERS) VIEW OF THE NORTHERN DOGON CLIFF SIGNPOST FOR BORKO VILLAGE IRRIGATED GARLIC FIELDS FARMER PASSES RIDING A DONKEY TERRACED FIELDS OF GARLIC FARMER RIDING A DONKEY BOY WASHING CLOTHES IN A WALLED WELL VARIOUS OF MILLET FIELDS AFTER THE HARVEST VARIOUS OF YOUNG MEN PLANTING GARLIC (SOUNDBITE) (Bambara) SEYDOU KASSAMBARA, FARMER, SAYING: "In the rainy season we cultivate millet, but due to the lack of soil we don't harvest enough. This is why we cultivate garlic in the dry season and with the profits we buy cereal." VARIOUS OF FARMERS USING NETS TO SEPARATE GARLIC SEEDS FROM CHAFF VARIOUS OF FARMERS CLEANING GARLIC FOR SALE AT THE MARKET PLACE (SOUNDBITE) (French) SOULEYMAN KASSAMBARA, MAYOR'S ASSISTANT, SAYING: "1000 Francs (2 U.S. dollars). We have seen, we have lived for 3 or 4 years, at a time when the price was as high as 1000 FCFA (2 U.S. dollars). Nowadays the lowest price is 400 FCFA (80 U.S. cents)." FARMERS WITH FULL SACKS OF GARLIC BAMAKO, MALI (RECENT) (REUTERS) MEDINE MARKET ROAD SIDE SELLER WITH SACK OF GARLIC HAND, HOLDING IMPORTED CHINESE GARLIC IN THE RIGHT AND BORKO GARLIC IN THE LEFT ONION AND GARLIC SELLER, BILMOLI TEMBELI, SITTING IN FRONT OF CHINESE IMPORTED GARLIC (SOUNDBITE) (Bambara) BILMOLI TEMBELI, DEALER OF ONIONS AND GARLIC, SAYING "The price of garlic varies according to demand in Bamako. If there is a lack of garlic from Senegal (China) the price of garlic from Borko increases. If there is little garlic from Borko the price for imported garlic goes up." ONION AND GARLIC SELLER
- Embargoed: 5th March 2009 12:00
- Location: Mali
- Country: Mali
- Topics: General,Economic News
- Reuters ID: LVAUJ9MLL0P70YFCMD8DQVUBP61
- Story Text: Borko village, nestled in the Dogon valley in Mali, has become famous for its garlic over recent years and is now the nation's biggest producer of the crop.
Farmers use traditional methods to grow their crops, watering their fields from a series of wells and an irrigation system which takes water from the small streams that criss-cross the valley.
Millet is still the most important crop to the 3,000 residents of Borko, but local farmers have mostly rocky soil to deal with and they cannot keep up with the rapid population growth, so they turn to garlic production in the dry season and use the profits to buy cereal.
"In the rainy season we cultivate millet, but due to the lack of soil we don't harvest enough. This is why we cultivate garlic in the dry season and with the profits we buy cereal," Seydou Kassambara, a local garlic farmer, explained.
Before planting can begin, the farmers use nets to separate the seeds from the chaff of the garlic.
The garlic crop also has to be cleaned before it is sent to Mali's capital, Bamako, for sale.
Each farmer markets his own crop, selling between 1 and 4 tons after harvest.
Many of Borko's farmers feel they are being cheated when their garlic sells for less than a dollar, but they have no other way to sell their crop.
"1000 Francs (2 U.S. dollars). We have seen, we have lived for 3 or 4 years, at a time when the price was as high as 1000 FCFA (2 U.S.
dollars). Nowadays the lowest price is 400 FCFA (80 U.S. cents),"
Souleyman Kassambara, the Borko mayor's assistant said.
Medine market is located in central Bamako, and this is where most of Borko's garlic goes on sale.
But here, Borko's garlic is in direct competition with garlic imported from China, which arrives via Senegal.
Bilmoli Tembeli has been trading garlic in Medine market for several years.
"The price of garlic varies according to demand in Bamako. If there is a lack of garlic from Senegal (China) the price of garlic from Borko increases. If there is little garlic from Borko the price for imported garlic goes up," Tembeli said.
But regardless of the price, Borko garlic nearly always sells at the market.
Its fans claim that it is more aromatic than the imported garlic and the only disadvantage is that the cloves are smaller which makes peeling a little more time consuming.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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