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.