COOPERATION TECHNOSERVE - FAGACE: SIGNING OF A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT FOR THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA.
On Thursday, July 8, 2021, the premises of the African Guarantee and Economic Cooperation Fund (FAGACE) served as the setting for the official signing ceremony of a partnership agreement between TechnoServe and FAGACE. This agreement aims to define the framework, conditions and terms of cooperation between the two institutions in order to pool their skills, know-how and financial resources for the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives in Africa. The missions of the two institutions are similar in terms of their contribution to the economic and social development of the countries where they operate in Africa.
TechnoServe is an American international non-profit organization that works with entrepreneurs in developing countries to create competitive farms, businesses and industries. Working in 29 countries around the world, TechnoServe is the leading institution in its efforts to leverage the private sector's ability to mobilize resources to help people lift themselves out of poverty. By facilitating their access to information, technology, capital and markets, it has helped millions of them secure sustainable prosperity for their families and communities. With more than 50 years of proven results in agriculture, coffee, cashew, entrepreneurship, food preparation, and microenterprise, TechnoServe's global impact includes 298,000 beneficiaries reached, 39% of whom are women; $188 million in increased income and wages generated as a result of its work; and facilitating the mobilization of $27 million in loans and equity provided to farmers and businesses by financial institutions....
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The "Farmer Support" component of BeninCajù project, financed by the USDA and implemented by TechnoServe Bénin in partnership with CRS, has been conducting awareness sessions on "cooperative life, marketing and organic farming" for cashew nut producers since March 2021. To date, more than 16,900 producers have been reached during the various awareness sessions, with 51.68% of the sensitized producers joining. These producers are committed to the process of forming efficient and viable cooperative companies that should be grouped together for the 2021 marketing year, zoned by village and district, in order to be connected to buyers for the sale of raw conventional cashew nuts.
To this end, communal exchange and networking workshops were organized during the month of April 2021, to contribute to the development of commercial links between the groups of producers voluntarily brought together and the partner buyers. At the end of these workshops, a collection of forecasts of conventional cashew nuts was made with the individual producers sensitized. The sales forecasts thus collected are made available and shared with interested buyers as they come in. Also, each of the buyers, according to their chosen area of preference, is connected to the producers and producer groups. BeninCajù's Coach Trainers have significantly facilitated this connection by collecting 1076 tons of cashew nut forecasts that are communicated to interested buyers. The team is more than proud of this. Read more here.
Françoise, a woman in her thirties, was born in Savè, 253 km from Cotonou. She comes from a family of farmers and went to school until the 4th grade. She is married and has 4 children. Very willing, she started the production of cashew seedlings in 2017 by following the steps of her husband who has been doing it since 2016 and who was reluctant to have her kill the plants. She started with plating, which was very difficult. "At first, I grafted 19 plants, 17 of which held up. It was from there that my husband understood that I am a pruning hand. So I launched myself and I had made 6000 plants. I knew the BeninCajù project in 2018. BeninCajù trained us on grafting techniques (veneer and terminal slit) and on the manufacture of efficient plant material, the bokashi which is an organic substrate to obtain rich, green plants in large quantities; this allowed me to realize 14 000 plants in 2020. I also benefited from equipment (watering cans, sieves, sprayers, pots, shovel)." Françoise PELEBE YABI.
In order to accompany the nurserymen and women to increase their production of cashew seedlings and by ricochet, the orchards, BeninCajù financed the intervention of two international experts who taught them the techniques of manufacture of Bokashi, a very powerful plant material which favors the production. In addition to the training on grafting techniques and bokashi, BeninCajù has initiated a professionalization program for cashew tree nurserymen. This program consists in training them on modules related to the growth of their enterprise, how to determine their production costs, calculate their profit and increase their income; the adapted management tools (journal: bank, expenses, sales); the suppliers' account, the customers' account); marketing and financial projection; the growth plan and the financing of the growth plan. The Covid-19 pandemic that appeared in March 2020 in Benin affected Françoise's daily life and activities. Contrary to her habits, it was rather her husband who made all the trips to the markets for supplies in order to preserve Françoise and their children. Read more here.
Françoise in full preparation of the Bokashi
COOPERATION BETWEEN TECHNOSERVE AND BENIN: LARRY UMUNNA AT THE CABINETS OF THE MINISTERS OF SMES, MIT AND MALF
Mr. Larry UMUNNA, Regional Director of TechnoServe for West Africa was received respectively on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 by the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Employment Promotion, Modeste KEREKOU, on Thursday, May 20, 2021 by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Shadiya ASSOUMAN, and on Friday, May 21, 2021 by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Gaston DOSSOUHOUI.
Mr. UMUNNA and Minister KEREKOU exchanged on the interventions and the perspectives of cooperation between TechnoServe and the MSME. The Regional Director of TechnoServe for West Africa told the Authority that he was in Benin to follow up on TechnoServe's actions and wished to exchange with the Minister in order to benefit from his valuable advice for the definition and implementation of an appropriate development strategy for TechnoServe's actions for sustainable economic growth and the fight against poverty for the well-being of the target populations. Exchanges between the Minister and his host focused on the BeniBiz project, implemented by TechnoServe Benin for several years for the benefit of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in various sectors, including handicrafts, in order to support them in their transformation and growth.
The Minister was presented with an update on a new project component being implemented in some communes to support initiatives related to youth employability in high-risk areas to prevent radicalization and violent extremism. The Minister praised TechnoServe's leadership and said how much the Government appreciates the quality of the interventions, corroborating the interest of the signing of the Host Agreement since May 28th, 2018, which thus offers the opportunity for the facilitation of the conditions for the execution of all TechnoServe programs in Benin.
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Native of the commune of Djidja, 149 km from Cotonou, Emilienne, 33 years old, was born from farmer parents and merchant mother whom she helped. Married and mother of 3 children, she sells various foodstuffs (soybeans, peanuts) that she grows herself. For the past 5 years, she has mainly been running the family cashew plantation of almost 2 hectares. She started her collaboration with the BeninCajù project almost 2 years ago. "Before, I just knew how to plant and leave my orchard uncultivated; I did not do any maintenance of my plantation; I worked without any precise harvesting objective. I harvested 100Kg of cashew nuts per season. BeninCajù trained me on the good practices of planting, maintenance, harvesting and post-harvest (pruning, spacing, etc. ... For this year's campaign, I harvested 300Kg of nuts. "Emilienne GBEWA.
Emilienne's income has increased significantly with the increase in her production. She supports her husband with household expenses, schooling and supplies for their children. She even manages to help some of the needy in her community with medical care and food.
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The Government of Benin is paying particular attention to the cashew sector, which it aims to increase from 150,000 to 300,000 tons of production through the planting of 60,000 hectares of new cashew orchards and the local processing of at least 50% of the national cashew production. This is a noble ambition that accompanies the BeninCajù project financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by TechnoServe Benin and CRS for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in Benin. Indeed, the Sectoral Policy and Institutional Support (SPIS) component of the BeninCajù project provides, among other things, technical assistance to public institutions in the sector, training for cashew seedling nurserymen on entrepreneurial management, and targeted support for cashew nut production techniques. Thus, as part of the professionalization program for agricultural enterprises producing and distributing certified cashew seedlings, conducted jointly with ATDA4 and FeNaPAC Benin, BeninCajù organized several capacity-building activities on the production techniques of certified cashew seedlings.
Downstream, a post-training follow-up mission was carried out in January 2021 coupled with the coaching of ATDA4 Advisors. It allowed to visit the nurseries installed in the municipalities visited, to assess the 2020 campaign and to evaluate the progress of the wood yards. More details here.
CASHEW INDUSTRY IN BENIN: TOLARO GLOBAL PLANT RECEIVES FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM BENINCAJU GRANT FUND (FIDE)
In 2016, the BeninCajù project for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in BENIN, funded by the USDA and implemented by TechnoServe in partnership with CRS was launched. With producers, processors, cashew industry professional associations, and public structures concerned with cashew industry development as beneficiaries, the overall objective of BeninCajù is to strengthen and expand the cashew industry and make it a more productive and profitable sector for Benin's socio-economic development. The results of BeninCajù's activities will be an increase in the volume of cashew nuts processed, an increase in the volume of sales of cashew products, an improvement in the yield and income of producers, large-scale job creation, and maximum value added from cashew by all stakeholders. The Access to Finance component builds the capacity of small and large financing institutions, as well as the capacity of stakeholders in financial management and education, in order to prepare them to receive financing and manage it well, and to link stakeholders with financing institutions.
As such, the company TOLARO GLOBAL is a beneficiary of the Fund for Innovation and Enterprise Development (FIDE) through the project BeninCajù following a call for projects under the second cohort. It was selected by BeninCajù for its project of acquisition of several equipments among which a line of dry roasting and a line of packaging for flours and cashew butter. These equipments will allow TOLARO GLOBAL to valorize the unprofitable broken almonds, which are less sold than the whole ones, into cashew flour and cashew leg/butter beyond the traditional transformation and to answer to existing needs, which were ignored until now.
BeninCajù has contributed to the acquisition of this equipment to the tune of CFA francs 125 million. On December 8, 2020, these materials were officially received at the TOLARO factory in the presence of various officials of the project and the factory including the General Manager, Mr. Serge KPONOU.... More details here.
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE - ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS - GENDER: BENINCAJU INSTRUCTS AGRICULTURAL TECHNICIANS OF NASSARA COMPANY
In its implementation, the BeninCajù project for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in Benin, funded by the USDA and executed by TechnoServe Benin and CRS, includes a Fund for Innovation and Enterprise Development (FIDE). This fund is intended to complement ongoing interventions of the BeninCajù project to promote and accelerate innovation and adoption of improved technologies, and to fill short-term gaps in cashew sector investment financing.
Nassara, a pioneer in Benin in the production, processing and export of organic and fair trade certified cashew nuts, and promoter of a factory processing organic cashew nuts into white almonds, is a beneficiary of the FIDE to secure its supply chain from producer cooperatives.
As such, several activities are conducted including training organized for the benefit of women and men technicians of the Company. During the month of November 2020 and for 9 days, they participated in training sessions on five major topics: the basic principles of organic agriculture and the specificities of organic and fair trade certification standards; the deployment of Farmforce software; the gender approach; contractualization, and the organizational dynamics of cooperative societies. Read more here.
Native of the town of Bohicon, 125 km from Cotonou, Melanie, 32 years old, was born into a family of farmers. She studied in primary and secondary schools, then obtained a university degree in Marketing and Commercial Action. Passionate about mathematics and with her scientific baccalaureate, she taught this subject for two years.
" I was doing the shift work and it was very difficult to find hours to teach. I had to deal with several unknowns including the uncertainty of having a contract during the school year, and the lack of income during vacations and vacations." Melanie AKOHA.
Married and mother of 3 children, Melanie lives with her small family in Bohicon. She knew about the BeninCajù, project in 2015, when one of the Managers informed her that the Fludor processing plant was recruiting. It was the first factory created in the area. Curious and interested, she submitted her application, passed the test and was selected. Today she manages the cutting section of the factory with more than 200 women under her supervision.
" As soon as I joined the cashew factory thanks to the project, BeninCajù trained us for two months on the whole cashew transformation process. I have gained a lot of experience since then and I master all the steps, especially in the "shelling" section that I manage. The factory is located not far from my home and the benefits are better than in the vacation. Today, I work in a secure professional environment. I have a regular monthly income and there are periodic increases. This allows me to easily support myself and my family. I am very proud and comforted by my financial freedom. " Melanie AKOHA.... Read more here.