Four cities for dev  


4Cities4Dev is funded by the European Union. The partners are four European cities led by Turin, and Slow Food.



Seven case studies in different African countries were identified as representative of the Slow Food approach, and they have been twinned with the partner cities.



Within the 4Cities4Dev project, the Dogon Somè Presidium community in Mali is supported by the city of Turin. A delegation from the city will visit the Presidium in 2012, and members of the community will attend Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre in Turin in October 2012.


The Presidium brings together several villages and involves the whole production chain, from cultivation, harvesting and processing through to packaging. Dogon shallots are one of the main ingredients of traditional Dogon somè, together with gangadjou, oroupounnà and pourkamà.

The cultivation phases will involve selecting the most suitable land and using native self-produced seeds and sustainable methods (manual weeding, organic fertilizers).

Processing will be carried out carefully and hygienically. Packaging will be adapted to different local, regional, or international markets.

Work on the production chain will be accompanied by promotional activities, communication and education to inform shopkeepers, families, cooks and restaurants about the use of traditional seasonings.



The Dogon, an ancient ethnic group, have lived in the harsh, awe-inspiring environment of the Bandiagarà escarpment for thousands of years. The Dogon have dug their houses out of the rock and built low mud huts along the escarpment, a chain of red sandstone cliffs running from north to south across the Mali plain between Mopti and Timbuktu. 

The fields are located by the barrages, small dams built in the 1980s to provide more water and increase the production of shallots, the only product sold in any quantity. Sold fresh and dried, Dogon shallots are renowned throughout Mali for the unique sweetness and flavor they acquire from the rocky land.

Drying can be carried out using a traditional method that involves grinding the shallots in a stone mortar, shaping the resulting paste into balls and drying them in the sun. More modern methods (introduced by various NGOs, particularly Re.Te from Piedmont), involve cutting the shallots into thin slices and drying them on racks in the sun for one or two weeks.

Traditional food gardens have fruit trees (mango, orange, shea), an area for grains (rice, corn, millet, fonio) and peanuts, and another for vegetables and legumes. The women process the flowers, fruit and leaves of each plant (whether wild like baobab, or cultivated) into seasonings called somè in the Dogon language.

The Dogon Somè Presidium includes several products: kamà (ground dried sorrel leaves), pourkamà (the ground dried leaves of nerè, a local tree), djabà pounan (a powder obtained by grinding dried shallots and slightly toasting them in peanut oil), gangadjou pouna (dried okra powder), oroupounnà (baobab leaf powder) and wangue-somè (ground local chili, garlic and salt). These seasonings are the base of Dogon cuisine, used in sauces and soups and on vegetables or meat.


The 4Cities4Dev films about Slow Food Presidia

Pokot Ash Yoghurt - Kenya

Harenna Forest Wild Coffee - Ethiopia

Fadiouth Island Salted Millet Couscous - Senegal


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