Last weekend, after three months, I finally harvested my peanut crop. The leaves towards the base of the plant started to turn yellow and dry out which meant it was time to do the pickin. I recruited a few neighborhood women and kids to come help me and we simply yanked the plants out of the ground to get to the peanuts which grow from the roots. Then we tore the peanuts off of the roots and started eating. They tasted like dirt to me but everyone else really seemed to like them. I gave them all away to my friends as well as to the people who helped me plant and harvest, who in fact were working for peanuts. It was a good harvest with a high ratio of plump peanuts though there was an unfortunately low ratio of peanuts with monocles and/or top hats.
For as much as the peanuts flourished, the corn failed furiously. Due to an unusually dry rainy season and my relatively late start in planting there was not enough water for the corn to grow its delicious seeds. I was able to pick a few small but useless cobs off of the stalk but the rest had fallen and browned. Unfortunately, I was not alone in my loss of crop. I have been hearing a lot of stories from all over my region of corn crops not producing. Corn is essentially a staple here in Burkina and a poor corn crop can mean escalating food prices as we go into dry season. By May and June of next year there may be potential for a food crisis. Hopefully, the rest of the country faired better in their crop production to alleviate the deficit and maybe people will shift to more nutritious crops like soy, millet, and sorghum. As my predecessor in the peanut industry, George Washington Carver, said, “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”