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The Italian NGO Mani Tese is trying to reduce migration due to poverty through projects fostering food sovereignty in migrants' countries of origin.

The key to stem migration due to poverty and hunger is to create work opportunities in agriculture and livestock raising. In the eyes of the Italian NGO Mani Tese, this can create food sovereignty in the countries of origin.

The NGO believes that this is how to best stop people from fleeing Africa and to help their home countries in building up their economy and rural development. The conviction is based on previous experience in projects the NGO has successfully implemented, such as poultry raising in Guinea-Bissau.

Food sovereignty to fight poverty

“Three quarters of those under the poverty threshold - and thus potentially migrants - live off agriculture. Creating conditions that enable the young living in rural areas to stay in their countries is a crucial component for dealing with this challenge,'' the NGO said. Mani Tese noted that rural development, if based on the principles of ''food sovereignty'', by which the association means ''the population's right to nutritious food that is culturally adequate, accessible and produced in a sustainable, environmentally-sound way, as well as the right to decide their own food production system'' can make the difference by creating job opportunities. Investing in food sovereignty means ''offering an alternative to migration, putting the right to leave next to that of the right to stay''.

Poultry raising in Guinea-Bissau

The association says that it learned from its experience in Guinea-Bissau. The country, ''despite the wealth of natural resources favorable to agriculture, livestock raising and fisheries, has a subsistence-based economy'', it added, stressing that the state ''is dominated by cashew production'', which ''makes the country not-sovereign from the food point of view, forcing it to import a large part of its basic food products'', such as eggs and chicken meat, mainly from Brazil, Portugal and Senegal.

In order to change this situation, the Guinean Alfredo Cà has decided to produce chickens and eggs in the country. Alongside the Asas de Socorro and Mani Tese associations, thus, there was a trial project of chicken-raising for Befata' detainees in 2014 and then a social-oriented company, CEDAVES, which currently sells 2,000 chicks, 10,000 eggs and 20 tonnes of animal feed every month, ''fostering local production''.

CEDAVES led to other chicken-raising projects and in 2017, Mani Tese started one to give youths opportunities in Gabu, Pitche and Pirada and thereby reduce the need to migrate. The initiative has been successful thus far, offering an alternative to migration for people like Fabiam, 42.

''My family's financial state has improved a great deal and now I work mostly on raising young hens,'' she said, according to Mani Tese. Segunda, 43, is also enthusiastic about the opportunity, noting that ''the project helped me. I now want to increase my activity because I have to provide for my children.''

 

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