In the production chain at Songhai Ouando Centre in Porto Novo, there is a section as important as others, the foundry section. The importance of such a section within a farm may not be seen at first sight! But when we relate Songhai system of operation, which is the integration, to the vision to make African workers-creators, we understand better.

The Songhai foundry section was created to strengthen the Mechanical-Manufacturing unit. This is the unit of manufacturing and repair of agricultural machinery; they are essential tools for agricultural entrepreneurs to increase productivity and profitability in the sector. The founders at Songhai therefore are essentially in charge of manufacturing the various parts necessary for the assembly of agricultural machinery, but also spare parts for machinery and equipment. “When we arrive in the morning, the first thing we do is to manufacture the various parts required for the agricultural machinery, then spare parts for machines used in factories of the center and finally customer orders” said Guy N. Tandjiekpon, one of the two technicians assigned to the foundry. “We work primarily with metals: iron, aluminum, sheet metal, bronze which we recycle,” said the technician who explains that his job was to melt the recycled metal, under intense fire so as to obtain a liquid, which is then poured into the mold; the model of the object to be manufactured. The parts that are frequently made are pulleys, cogs, pumps, burners, incubators parts, refrigerator fan, … and especially the bronze or iron bars, which are highly demanded by customers. As for the recycling of raw materials, Guy N. Tandjiekpon said that they are collected from the cleaning staff of the centre, or from auto mechanics, mopeds and others outside the center.

At Songhai for over a decade (since 1999 for Guy T. and 2002 for Musa Raheem), the two technicians assigned to the foundry section, indicated that they were more than four before. But the demands of the trade have driven their colleagues who eventually resigned. “We work in the heat, with a high temperature,” says Musa. “But we must say that we love the job and are versatile,” added Guy N. Tandjiekpon testifying that he had reached Songhai as a technician for the manufacture of machines, but was later sent to the foundry. “I am working in both sections,” concludes the technician while expressing the wish that Songhai management should do more to make people know that we manufacture spare parts for machines. According to him, many companies and industries of the country are not aware that the center offers such services



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