He is known as Africa’s culinary ambassador. Based in New York, Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam is an international advocate for West African cuisine. But here in the semi-arid Sahel region of Chad, he realised he has a lot to learn about cooking with sesame, a key ingredient of the dishes here May I taste it? It is good, It has taste of smoke…and almost like chocolate! Chadian farmer Fatimé Saleh is teaching Pierre how to cook the traditional dish Smoked Fish with Sesame and Sorrel Sauce. Although this is a dish that has been cooked regularly in Fatimah’s family, the key ingredient, sesame is now under threat. When I was a child, the rainy seasons were better. The traditional variety of sesame that my parents used to sow Fatimé Saleh – Sesame Farmer
The traditional variety of sesame that my parents used to sow Fatimé Saleh – Sesame Farmer always matured on time. Now there’s a big change.
Fatimé Saleh – Sesame Farmer Fatimé Saleh – Sesame Farmer Sesame production is a crucial activity for me. Without it, we can’t do anything
Fatimé Saleh – Sesame Farmer Sesame production is a crucial activity for me. Without it, we can’t do anything With the bag I sell I can afford soap, the expenses for the kids and to pay for their school. In fact, sesame production is a crucial activity for many women farmers here who depend on it for their livelihoods. But short and late rainy seasons are decimating harvests across the country. Now in this community, a project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program, is helping farmers to find a solution. To deal with the difficulties of climate change that they are facing, the project has innovated with the production of seeds. Joel Kalpelbé Zoumrou – Project Production Manager
the project has innovated with the production of seeds. Joel Kalpelbé Zoumrou – Project Production Manager These seeds have a short cycle which can be completed
Joel Kalpelbé Zoumrou – Project Production Manager These seeds have a short cycle which can be completed even if there is a small amount of rain that falls during the year. These fast-maturing seeds that can be harvested despite the short rainy season are distributed through Farmer Field Schools, where Fatima and others learn about crop rotation, organic farming and how to analyse weather information, which helps them adapt to the changing climate. They then implement these techniques in their own fields. You can see the result, voilà, all the flowers are there, this means that harvest time will be in less than a month. You can even see the sesame capsules are open and the seeds are almost mature. And we can even taste them… …and here is the sesame, it’s ready. It is an extremely important crop here, it’s traditional here, and now with those methods the effects of climate change can be mitigated. This changes everything, it reinforces the food security of this area. There is no price for this! Back in the kitchen, the chefs have the ingredients they need to get to work. I’m going to fry the fish now…. The sesame is cooked and then ground into a paste and mixed with the other ingredients to make a sauce. This is served with sorghum balls, a type of bread made of sorghum flour. Sugar is added to the sesame paste for dessert. What is interesting here is that with only an ingredient like the sesame, she can make a lot of derivative products. She earns money by making oil to sell in the market, and she also makes different dishes. Fatima and almost 4,000 other farmers can now continue to earn money from their sesame production using farming techniques that are more resilient to climate change. They can also continue to prepare and share their traditional meals. What I really love is to eat around a plate in Africa…This is really a spirit of sharing and joy. Honestly, it tastes better like this! -It is good! -Yes, it is good!