Boosting farm co-ops in the Central African Republic
Giving new skills to trainers creates a sustainable support network for farmers to tap into the country’s rich agricultural potential.
Farms in the Central African Republic (CAR) have enormous potential, with a fledgling network of cooperatives that collectively support some 200,000 people.
As part of the Promotion of Urban and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme (PAPEUR), a two-week workshop showed 20 trainers from government and academia how to use new techniques for helping cooperatives improve their management, production and marketing.
‘Our goal is to train capable staff, working in all sectors and regions of the country. That’s how we hope to actively contribute to the development of the cooperative movement in the Central African Republic,’ said Désiré Yassigao, president of the Chamber of Agriculture and Tourism (CAT).
The participants work in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Health, and the African University for Cooperative Development.
The PAPEUR programme, run by the International Trade Centre (ITC), has already helped create 35 cooperatives that grow maize and raise poultry in the prefectures of Lobaye, l’Ombella-Mpoko and Kémo.
The training, which ran 15-27 May, included a component where the team left the capital Bangui to visit one of the cooperatives, so that participants could immerse themselves in the daily reality of farm life.
‘The trainer's clear, illustrated explanations enabled me to acquire a wealth of knowledge about managing agricultural cooperatives,’ said Dongo Konou Graziella, a teacher at the university.
The goal was to help the trainers better support cooperatives in their management, technical, commercial and finance skills.
The workshop used online platforms from the International Labour Office (ILO) to provide the new trainers with techniques for teaching collective entrepreneurship, cooperative services, business plans and marketing.
“The participants learned skills needed to evaluate existing cooperatives and to develop programmes and action plans to accompany them, thanks to this training,” said ILO trainer Dissou Zomahoun.
The PAPEUR programme is funded by the European Union through its Békou Fund.
About the programme
ITC's PAPEUR Rural project provides technical assistance to the entire agricultural value chain in three selected sectors: corn, village palm oil and poultry. ITC works with young and small-scale farmers on three levels, production, processing and marketing, to improve the productivity and competitiveness of all economic actors involved.