16 July 2017

And another trip has ended, I am now back in The Netherlands. This last week was mainly to tie up things around the office and for the LAP.

Cotton starting to grow on a field

Consultants, consultants, consultants!!!!

I have already mentioned in a previous blog that consultants are a major decease in Africa (and elsewhere). Sorry to my friends who are consultants…… I am not talking about real specialists in a particular field with a real added value to their work for a firm. I am talking about people who make feasibility studies or control work based on what the customer wants or needs.

This type of consultants is a plenty in Burkina Faso. I was told once that from the funds of a particular project with the government, only 5% was for the project itself, 95% for feasibility studies (done by friends and families of the particular ministry) and for the ministry itself. This is when more funds need to be asked from the donor to realize the project…

Another type of consultant specializes in using their position or their connections to rob other people. For example, a government fund lending money for small projects presented by people between 20 and 35 years old. The first step is to fill out an application form. For this you could use a paid consultant to make sure the form swill be properly filed. Then you pay the same person to follow up the trajectory of your application with also a percentage of the funds going to this person when your project has been approved.

ASAP farms

We have 2 farms, one of 6- and another of 22 hectares. The first one was started about 12 years ago. It was supposed to be a model farm and a training center. It never succeeded due to lack of control and dishonest employees. The second one was started 7 years ago and was supposed to be the farm of an agricultural social business producing certified seeds for farmers. This also did not go well. The social business was closed down after 3 years of loss. Here also there was a lack of control on the field and farmers who did not pay back their credits.

This year we have changed a bit the objectives of both farms. The new objectives are to keep the farms financially neutral and use them for training of young people.

On the farm of 6 Ha we have 2 trainees. They are coming from an agricultural school in Bobo Dioulasso and need to make a training to get their diploma. Their subject is beans. We got the support of a specialist from INERA (Institut National de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricole). He will supervise the trainees. At the same time the trainees will cultivate soy and peanuts on about 5 hectares. On this farm, we have already planted 200 cashew trees. We will plant another 200 this year. Those last 200 trees will be planted not to produce fruits, but to provide grafts. They have been selected also by INERA and those should give us enough resources in 3 to 4 years to maintain and develop this farm.

Zalissa is the person in charge of the two farms.

On the farm of 22 Ha, 17 are ready for cultivation. In this farm, we have one farmer and 9 students who have a scholarship with us and just got their first diploma in agriculture. We will produce peanuts, soy and sesame. But we will also produce certified seed for beans. This activity is also supervised by a person from INERA. The 9 students who will keep on studying agriculture in October will be able to learn about this production.

Being involved with INERA will enable us to be more “sexy” when we look for funding for these training.

Taking out peanuts from their shell

Winnowing of the peanuts to separate shells and seeds

Seeding the field with peanuts using a one-row mechanical seeder

Seen along the way

There is at least 50cm difference in alignment between the front and rear axle of this bus. It is still going at almost 100 km/h!!!!!!

Citations of the week

Les idées ne sont pas faites pour être pensées, mais pour être vécues.

Ideas are not had to be thought, but to be lived.

André Malraux