Report on the activities of the Collective Torba, by an international TV channel.
Collective celebrates home grown food and small producers
Torba means « fertile ground » in Arabic and that’s the name of their group.
It’s aimed at raising awareness of how fruit and vegetables can be grown on a small scale.
University lecturer Sid Ahmed Boutahraoui is leading this session.
He explains how he’s germinated these seeds that are ready for planting.
The founder of Torba, Karim Rahal wants to change the way people consume food.
On his website he says that 70 percent of Algerians will live in cities by 2030 and he wants these people to be able to grow food at home.
Rahal says urban agriculture can turn balconies, terraces, and even car parks into small scale farms.
He says the key is choosing the right type of plants.
« The important thing for us as environmentalists is to do this with local plants, local varieties. No hybrid at all or even some plants imported from abroad because what we want to favour it (local plants). Especially plants which get used to this local climate here in Algeria. »
The outdoor class continues in Oulet Fayet, a suburb of the capital, Algiers.
Boutahraoui is passionate about biological farming, where the focus is on natural, sustainable ways of using the land.
« The aim of this training is much more to raise awareness among people and to teach them some ways or very simple techniques for them to be able to produce their own vegetables in a very natural way, » he says.
Boutahraoui worries about modern farming practices and what he sees as an over-reliance on chemicals and pesticides.
« In Algeria it is really important to come back to this way of production because in the past, about, I think, 20 years ago, we used to eat – our agricultural production was almost 90 percent biological, » he says.
« People did not use any chemical products, pesticides, chemical fertilisers. Nowadays things have changed. The agricultural sector is flooded by young people who are very motivated by profit and money, so it is a much more intensive agriculture, where, of course, the use of fertilisers and pesticides is really frequent. »
The class of ten takes a seat in a makeshift classroom complete with a black board.
Here, they learn about permaculture and the factors which will determine whether their small scale farms will succeed.
« Climate. So all vegetation will depend on climate, or climate conditions. And on the soil, the ground. So here we have the natural elements of production, » Boutahraoui tells them.
So far, more than 50 people have been involved in the Torba collective’s events.
Their Facebook page, which promotes a world without pesticides, has attracted more than 5,000 followers.