Monday, July 18, 2016

BMZ-AfricaRice Green Innovation Center transforms young professionals into agricultural service providers



Forty-three young agricultural professionals attended a training course in the delivery of advisory and technical services in Bohicon, Benin, from 27 June to 1 July 2016.

The training was organized by a project of the ‘Green Innovation Center’ set up at AfricaRice research station in Benin with support from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of its special initiative ‘One World, No Hunger’.

The trainees are among the first batches of young service providers, who will help the project to collaborate with 266 farmer groups from 173 districts across Benin. The project expects to benefit about 50,000 farming families through these service providers.

The project has three main objectives:
  1. To make agricultural innovations available to rural farming communities
  2. To train and then employ young, unemployed persons to transfer innovation, knowledge and know-how within the rural communities
  3. To help the country’s agricultural colleges to provide training to young people and improve colleges’ access to innovations and training material

The trained service providers will be paid for the different agricultural services that they will provide to rural communities. They will help collect data and identify agricultural best practice as well as opportunities for innovation. In the process, the service providers will learn to run their own rural enterprises.

The data collected by service providers will indicate the need for other services responding to farmers’ needs, such as training courses and technology transfers from research to farmers to improve their livelihoods. In this way, the project will improve the interaction between farmers and researchers and will ensure that solutions provided by researchers will meet farmers’ needs

The training in Bohicon included hands-on session on computers, discussions and field visits to test innovations, data collection tools and procedures. At the end of the course, each trainee received a certificate.

The feedback on the training session was quite positive. For example, Isabelle Lissava, one of the trainees, commented, “The training corresponds well to the reality of the field.” Donan G E Kossou felt that there was total mastery of the various parameters of the training and Casimir O D Guidigan observed that the training had significantly strengthened his ability to collect data.

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