FAO MULTI-PARTNER PROGRAM IN CÔTE-D’IVOIRE: BENEFICIARIES EQUIPPED WITH CASSAVA PROCESSING TECHNIQUES IN SEVERAL OTHER PRODUCTS IN SONGHAI

In Côte-d’Ivoire, women processors of cassava have benefited from the support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to improve and diversify their production activities. Thanks to the Multi-Partner Programs (FMM) of the organization, they have been equipped with cassavaprocessing techniques in various products and the valorization of by-products derived from this processing. The training provided by Songhai Regional Center is in two phases; a first one on the farm of Songhai Center in Porto-Novo, Benin and the second one in several cities of Côte-d’Ivoire.

At Songhaï Ouando in Benin, seven (07) women, representing different female groups processing cassava into Attiéké in Côte-d'Ivoire, stayed from 21st to 25th August 2017. The stay helped them to learn more on the production process of other cassava-based products such as gari, tapioca, starch, and areas in which cassava flour can be used. They also learned how to use cassava processing by-products in animal nutrition or biogas production, and how to control the acidity in attiéké. Léance Affoué Koffi, as a specialist in Attiéké production in Côte-d'Ivoire, said that she received some more knowledge in this area. The Secretary General of Cassava Women Processors Association of Yamoussoukro knows from now on how to prepare ''mangnan'' (fermented cassava) to control the level of acidity of attiéké. In the same way, Marie-Jeanne Kramo also knows which activity to start first to diversify her sources of income. The manager of the cassava platform of Bouaké is determined to embark on the production of gari and initiate the seventeen (17) villages that she is training in this activity.

During this training, emphasis was placed on the process of industrial production while ensuring quality. The beneficiaries also learnt the use of machines in the cassava processing chain. Whether it is the grinding machine, the double screw press used to press the ''mangnan'' and the Calibrator-reamer to obtain well rolled attiéké grains and the desired size, these different machines have no secret for these women leading various women associations in Côte d'Ivoire. "This training was important for them as they found themselves in an environment that allowed them to broaden their vision, have more entrepreneurial ideas, diversify their sources of income” said the agri-food and nutrition specialist from the FAO headquarters in Rome supervising this program.

The phase in Côte d'Ivoire

Indeed, the goal of FMM projects implemented in eight (08) African countries is to help women involved in the value chain, diversify their production and have access to a wider market, therefore providing them with technical assistance and support for the formulation of policies that reduce the barriers they often encounter. The acquisition of Songhai-made improved cassava processing equipment is also in this line. Thus, after Songhai in Porto-Novo - Benin, a series of other training sessions in several cities in Côte d’Ivoire followed. Therefore two technicians from Songhaï Center stayed from 20th September to 6th October 2017, in Yamoussokro, Grand Lahou, Bouaké, Dabou, Adzopé, San Pédro and Tankesse, to ensure the transfer of technologies to a large number of women processors and a few craftsmen, in the manufacture and use of these machines. Like their heads at Songhai Center in Porto-Novo, these women processors of the above-mentioned cities were also trained and sensitized on management techniques, valorization of cassava by-products and hygiene rules.

"This is a great boost for us," acknowledges LéanceAffoué Koffi, who is already seeing the quality and quantity of production of attiéké multiplied by tenfold in her association. While thanking FAO for its initiative, Marie-Jeanne Kramo Akissi, met on the field in Côte d’Ivoire, wished that, after the machines, FAO also helps them "import" from Songhai the biogas production technology.

AGRICULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: YOUTHS FROM ECOWAS ON TRAINING IN SONGHAI

373 youths from ECOWAS member-countries have been taking since January 13, 2018, a training in agricultural entrepreneurship at Songhai Regional Center in Porto-Novo. It’s an initiative of ECOWAS Youths and Sports Development Center (CDJS), in partnership with Songhai Center, since 2006, for the capacity-building of the youths in agriculture.

73 trainees out of 75 expected, representing 13 of the 15 member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These are the statistics of the 2017 edition of the agricultural entrepreneurship training organized for the benefit of the youths through the Youths and Sports Development Center (CDJS). "An unprecedented mobilization," says the CDJS Youth Program Manager, Gustave Bayi Néya, referring to the number of participants to this 11th edition of the program, noting that the training planned for October 2017 could not be held in time for administrative reasons. For the participants, Gustave Bayi Néya recalled the main objective they should pursue: Learn, understand and learn even more to strengthen the organizational capabilities of their businesses. Any other objective, according to the representative of CDJS, could be a "dangerous deviation" for all the actors involved in the implementation of this program.

To avoid this, the rule imposed on all trainees in Songhai is discipline. The Head of Training recalled it at the official launching of this program, on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Justin Lèkoto told the youths that discipline is the key word of the training in Songhai and that they cannot retain anything concrete to significantly impact development in their country, without complying with this rule. He took the opportunity to unveil the different phases of this training, namely the discovery (of Songhai Center), the specialization (trainees in a given activity), and the defense of the business plans by the trainees, under the coaching of trainers. In short, for the one-month that this 11th edition of the capacity-building program will last, these youths from ECOWAS countries - with the exception of Cape Verde and Sierra Leone who have not been represented - will have mainly to consolidate their knowledge in gardening, fish farming, animal husbandry, agroforestry and agrofood processing. The term of the training is set for Monday, February 12, 2018.

VISIT : REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF GROWAFRICA CONTACTS SONGHAI CENTER

Ibrahim GrowAfricaWhile in Benin in the framework of the launching of the inclusive platform of actors in the pineapple industry in Cotonou, Ibrahim Gourouza-Magagi, regional director of GrowAfrica program, a NEPAD program, in charge of attracting private investment for the development of Agriculture in Africa – paid a visit to Songhai Center. The purpose of his visit on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, was mainly to contact the Center's authorities for future collaborations.

The inclusive platform of actors in the pineapple industry in Benin brings together all stakeholders - including Songhai Center - involved in the process of production, processing, distribution, research, financial services and bankers. It was therefore appropriate that, as part of the launching of activities of this platform, GrowAfrica's West Africa and Central Africa Region Director goes beyond the "room presentations" to get first hand experience of the reality on the field.

Thus in Songhai, although he did not have the opportunity to visit vast fields of pineapple, Ibrahim Gourouza-Magagi was however impressed by the quality of the work that is done in the Center and also by its biodiversity. He would have liked the Center to be much more widely known on a continental scale, for its development model that deserves, according to him, to be duplicated everywhere in Africa.

Finally, the exchanges with the Deputy Director of Songhaï Center, Wilnès Tilus, focused much more on the possibilities of working closely with the NGO for real agricultural development in Africa. Ibrahim Gourouza-Magagi promised to come back for a deeper working session with Songhai authorities, since this first visit is for him, a meeting to make contact.

GrowAfrica program was launched in 2011 by NEPAD, the African Union and the World Economic Forum; it intends to help countries involved to fully unlock their agricultural potential. More than half of the investment commitments made under this initiative come from African companies.

REPLICATION OF SONGHAÏ MODEL IN UGANDA: YOUTHS FROM UGANDA BEING TRAINED IN PORTO-NOVO

Ouganda Nov 2017A group of twelve Ugandan youths sent by their Government are on training in Songhai Center in Porto-Novo since Monday, November 6th. The best of them, who will be empowered after this training, on the site of Songhai Center at Kampiringisa in Uganda.

The replication of Songhai Green Rural City Model in Uganda has indeed entered its active phase. Last August, a mission of Songhaï Center officials was in Uganda for a visit to the site which will host the development model in Kampiringisa in Uganda. A few weeks later, a joint delegation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ugandan Ministry of Labor, carried out a study visit to Songhai in Porto-Novo and Savalou. The discovery of the development model based on agriculture then convinced them very quickly of the need to reproduce it in their country. Madam Mukwaya Janat Baluno, Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Affairs then promised, during her stay in Porto-Novo, to send young Ugandans for training…

Out of thirteen (13), twelve (12) could actually make the trip. They were welcomed by the Training Team and the Project Replication Coordinator in Songhai, who spoke to them about the Center's rules and regulations. Among other principles discussed were discipline, rigor and punctuality, which they will have to follow during the two months that will spend for the training. It was also an opportunity for Charlemagne Sitondji, the project coordinator in Songhai, to remind them of the importance of this training: the best among them will be recruited and empowered on the Songhai-Uganda site to continue the work started by technicians sent from Porto-Novo. Already, two of them were dispatched at the beginning of this month of November to start crop and animal production activities.

VISIT: AFD'S NEW DIRECTOR DISCOVERS SONGHAÏ CENTER

cAdrian Haye, newly appointed head of the French Development Agency in Benin, set out to establish contact with the institutions with which the agency is collaborating. It is in this context that he visited Songhai Center, Ouando in Porto-Novo on Friday 22 September.

He was welcomed by Father Nzamujo with whom he exchanged a lot before the visit of the Center. This visit helped the new director to see firsthand the activities carried out in the Center. Adrien Haye did not fail to exclaim his amazement at the many discoveries he made during the visit. He was very interested in the integrated system, the fish farm complex, the plastic recycling, the foundry ... in short, the dynamism of the Center.

Songhaï is in partnership with the AFD on several projects, including Songhai Leadership Academy, a project for the training of a critical mass of human resources, equipped with moral, technical and organizational skills to face the challenge of development in Africa.

Discover here some pictures of the visit…https://youtu.be/PboC7YmjIW4

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