One of the most important goals of Adult Education is to assist people in their efforts to adapt their traditional ways of life and work to present day conditions in order to improve and secure their livelihoods. A case in point is a project with farmers in the Guinean province of Boke who have traditionally worked with peanuts as one of their staple crops. Assisted by one of the partners of DVV International’s work in West Africa, the Guinean non-governmental organisation Club des Amis du Monde (CAM), they learn how to improve their harvests and achieve higher income by joining in cooperatives and organising better marketing opportunities. Mamadou Aliou Bah, specialist in informal education who has for many years worked with DVV International in Guinea, describes this project which was funded by the European Union.
Peanuts are one of the main crops in the realm of Guinea’s economy and nutrition. It is one of the cash crops of the country, occupying 16.41 % (160,632 ha) of land planted for food crops (978,662 ha).
During the First Republic (1958-1984), agricultural policy in Guinea was characterised by strong collectivisation of the means of production, with fixed and state controlled food prices at all levels of distribution. The tax was paid in kind (marketing standards).
Even though the peanut production was not exported, because of the nationalisation of the production, processing, transportation and marketing, it still managed to remain a very important industry.
After the change in the political direction of Guinea in 1984, and learning from the prevalent situation, the new government initiated profound political, economic and social reforms. This has led to very marked liberalisation measures:
In the domain of agriculture, the main objective of the Guinean government is to ensure food security for all people in the country and to offer competitive products for export on foreign markets with policies for quality, standards, quantity and price.
This objective aims to support the expansion of peanut production through the development of processing and manual harvesting. This is one of the major Guinean crops, important both in terms of nutrition and the economy.
Peanut ranks fourth after rice, cassava, and maize. According to statistics from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (SNSA), peanut production rose from 206,000 tons in 2000 to 300,000 tons in 2004, an increase of about 36 % in 5 years. It is one of the most important crops in terms of contribution to food security and farm income generated by sales.
Peanuts are a production that is the subject of active trade and contributes to monetary income for families in Guinea. This is a crop grown throughout the country. It is traded on assembly and consumer markets, on most markets in Guinea (Boké, Labe, Conakry, Guéckédou) and the markets of neighbouring countries (Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia).
The international environment has been unfavourable for the Guinean economy in recent years. The terms of trade have deteriorated markedly. Prices of raw materials exported by Guinea (bauxite, but also coffee, cocoa and cotton in particular) have been trending down.
The regional environment of Guinea was also marked in the past two decades by political instability in some neighbouring countries, an inhibiting factor for regional trade. Guinea therefore has had to cope with a sluggish regional environment. However, regarding peanuts, the export volume to neighbouring countries has increased significantly, which can be seen even in the absence of numbers.
The drastic devaluation and the steady depreciation of the Guinean Franc (national currency) compared to foreign currencies account for the run on Guinean peanuts and their export to neighbouring countries.
International exports may be limited by the inability to meet international standards. However, though Guinea is not currently equipped to meet the quality standards required in the global market, it should set its aim in the short term on the sub-regional market, without losing sight of the fact that markets at regional and international levels are governed by provisions in respect of quality standards for products destined for export.
The socio-economic conditions of the prefecture of Boké (located on the coast in the region of Lower Guinea) are influenced by two predominant aspects: agriculture and mining at the bauxite reserves. Boké has a population of about 401,296 people who engage in agriculture, raising livestock and fishing.
In the Boké region, agriculture remains the most important economic sector for the population. It employs 785,800 people of which 404,841 are women. However, this is subsistence agriculture characterised by low yields. All agricultural production together unfortunately only provides food security for seven months out of twelve.
Mamadou Aliou Bah
However, the production and sale of peanuts is an important activity. Over 50 % of Boké households are involved and benefit directly or indirectly from the peanut sector – way ahead of the extraction and sale of red oil, and fishing activities and fish smoking.
The predominance of peanut cultivation (more than 14,000 tonnes/year), is more pronounced in the Boké area (area covered by the project). In this zone, peanut cultivation – in terms of surface area – comes second only to rice cultivation and ranks first among the leguminous pulses that are cultivated there.
Peanut cultivation is practiced in almost all of the farms in the area. It also has an important place in terms of the number of people practicing it. The peanut, in addition to its important role in the diet (pure sauce and peanut-based sauce), is one of the most important cash crops in the area.
The formulation of the project to support the Boké (AFAB) peanut sector, is based on the findings of prospective studies and field observations, based on
The overall objective of the AFAB project is to help improve economic conditions for the peanut producers of Boké. More specifically, it aims to improve the income from the production of peanuts by strengthening the capacities of stakeholders.
In its strategy, the project targeted groups of peanut farmers as direct beneficiaries of these capacity enhancements leading to improved income from production.
Most of these groups are usually created in order to access the best available support for a group of beneficiaries – without adequate structuring (conforming to law L/14, which governs the organisation and functioning of economic interest groups in Guinea) or knowledge of the necessary spirit or cooperative principles, to which is added a lack of organisational development and promotion of economic interests of members of these groups, an objective which a self-financing and self-managed company could reach. These producer groups are usually affiliated with local umbrella organisations (unions and federations) very dysfunctional and uninitiated in the organisation and management of industry, but who can mobilise and bring together all those active in the industry.
Source: Mamadou Aliou Bah
Producer groups targeted by the AFAB project grow mainly rice, maize and peanuts as the main cash crop. Their summary assessment, which preceded the formulation of the project, was able to identify several constraints:
The problem of illiteracy is general in Guinea and even in the sub-region of West Africa. It is estimated that the illiteracy rate is 65 % in Guinea and 75.5 % for the Boké region.2
The organisational level of a group is closely linked to the reading, writing and calculation skills of its members. Without an acceptable level of literacy for its leaders, opportunities for growth and an increase of income for the group are very limited.
In addition, the growth of mining in this area leads to population growth and development of other economic sectors that have an effect on health and development of the population, particularly regarding:
Faced with these realities, the Support Project for the Peanut Industry of Boké (AFAB) is an alternative that assumes that some intermediaries may play a role and have the potential to assist the industry in a more equitable way. In this context, the development of business links between producers and intermediaries, supported by the reenforcement of organisational capacities and the development of the provision of integrated services to the industry (supply, training, equipment and tools, marketing, etc.) through intermediary umbrella organisations, would favour the organisation and functioning of the industry, all while increasing revenues from peanut production.
In addition, cross-cutting activities such as literacy, prevention and awareness of STIHIV/AIDS and sensitisation to the exploitation and trafficking of children will help:
These activities resulted in a project proposal which was submitted by DVV International as a request for a subsidy to be delegated by the European Union as part of the 2009 tenders (EuropeAid: 128155/L/ACT/GN). The duration of the proposed project was two (2) years, with a total cost of € 210,500, that is, with € 157 875 (75 %) as a grant by the EU and € 52,625 (25 %) as a contribution by DVV International (through funding from the BMZ).
Support for the development of the industry represents a first such action in the Boké region where the cultivation of peanuts and its value chain occupies a prominent place in economic activity. As a consequence, the increase in production and productivity on the one hand and the improvement of processing and marketing on the other is consistent with the expectations of beneficiaries, which helps to generate cash income and has an effect on improving the living conditions of the people (access to health care, schooling for children, reduction in child trafficking, protection against STIs-HIV/AIDS, the fight against malnutrition, housing modernisation, etc.) – especially since the incidence of AIDS in the region is growing at an alarming rate, the prevalence rate rising from 1.9 in 2001 to 4.7 in 2004.3
The Support Project for the Peanut Industry of Boké (AFAB) is thus built into a dynamic of promotion and development of an industry which is supportive and sustainable and of great interest to rural and urban women. Given that poverty has a greater effect on women, the action contributes to increased income and even the economic independence of women, which is one of the priorities of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to which the Republic of Guinea subscribed.
The REFLECT (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) approach is rooted in the work Kurt Lewin conducted with disadvantaged groups in the United States in the nineteen-forties. In the Third World, it was transformed into participatory action research, a participatory approach to Adult Education combining the philosophy of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire with the methodology of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) carried out through the use of the Accelerated Participatory Research Method (APRM)4.
The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire combined these two approaches to make literacy more functional, basing it on the concrete (use and symbol), then on the semi-concrete (drawing of the symbol) and finally on the abstract (the name the written symbol) to teach adults to read, write and count.
The STAR (Stepping Stone And Reflect) approach is an approach based on education about HIV/AIDS, launched for the first time in Uganda by ActionAid International. It is associated with the REFLECT approach to deal flexibly with certain taboo aspects related to culture and the tradition of the African people, including love, sex, sexuality (which are phenomena experienced daily by the target audience and the origin of many contagious diseases).
The choice and the valuation of these two approaches (REFLECT and STAR) in the AFAB project takes account of their flexible and participatory nature as regards:
Thus, using both approaches, REFLECT-STAR circles were created to ensure literacy and awareness for the actors in the industry about STI-HIV/AIDS and the exploitation and trafficking of children. These circles are run by indigenous facilitators who have benefited from the national network of practitioners of REFLECT (PAMOJA Guinea), and transfer their powers through the animation of REFLECT-STAR circles to ensure continuity and guarantee the sustainability of REFLECT-STAR practices as a result of the project.
During the two years of its implementation (2010-2011), the AFAB project supported 24 peanut producer groups in the four (4) rural communes (RC) of Boké and its surroundings. It directly reached 912 people, 622 of them women, and indirectly, 92 intermediaries (specialised dealers and female peanut processors) working with the 24 economic interest groups (EIGs). For a total of final beneficiaries estimated at about 64,323 persons (16 % of the population), consisting of village collectors, storekeepers, transporters, peanut dealers and female processors who derive a portion of their income from the peanut industry sector.
The intervention strategy of the project has encouraged the active involvement of all stakeholders: DVV International and the Club des Amis du Monde (CAM), for strategic and operational management of the project; the decentralised technical services of the state: the national agency for promotion and consulting for agricultural, the prefectural directorate for literacy, the prefectural directorate for health and the prefectural section for social affairs, for the support of women and children, for the popularisation and advise about agriculture, for the monitoring and evaluation of literacy activities, the fight against HIV-AIDS and child trafficking; the umbrella organisations: the Union of agricultural Producers of Kakandé, the Federation of Peasant Organisations of Lower Guinea, affiliated with the National Confederation of Peasant Organisations of Guinea for the support to the organisation and operation of the peanut industry of Boké.
Transport of peanuts to the market, Source: Mamadou Aliou Bah
Presenting CAM, the NGO
The Club des Amis du Monde (CAM) is a Guinean national NGO founded in 1996 which has set itself the task of contributing to improving the lives of people at the grassroots level through capacity building and the mobilisation of resources in the areas of education on the environment, basic education, literacy, reproductive health and STI-HIV/AIDS.
The CAM NGO has 68 members and is headquartered in the region of Labe, with four branches in four other administrative regions of the country.
From 2000 to the present day (2012), the CAM NGO has implemented several development projects in the areas of basic education, literacy, environmental education and health in partnership with several international institutions operating in Guinea, notably: DVV International, World Education, Save the Children, Population Services International, etc.
CAM has extensive experience in designing and implementing projects on the one hand and collaboration with local authorities on the other. Also, the NGO has been involved in Boké for many years and therefore knows the area well.
Its partnership with DVV International began in 2008 through an education project on the environment in Sangaredi and from which the needs for support for the peanut industry were identified, which led to the development of the Support Project for the Peanut Industry in Boké (AFAB).
From the beginning of the action, the strengthening of the organisational capacity of producer groups was secured around three key areas:
Improved important basic capabilities (reading, writing and arithmetic) and skills useful in everyday life (life skills) was performed from actions revolving around two key areas:
The collection and interpretation of these results were made on the basis of documenting follow-ups and evaluating performance indicators designed for this purpose. That document includes data collection sheets by indicators and an operational table that defines the information to be collected, the frequency and method of collection and interpretation of each of the objectively verifiable indicators.
Depending on the nature of the information, collecting data on the indicators was done semi-annually and annually.
The effects that cause success had previously not been precisely defined but occurred following the actions implemented by the project. These successes include:
Monitoring of the peanut collection market (sold at harvest) by producer groups
The free initiative of the producers was supported by a business strategy of “sales bundling” which consisted of a combination of all quantities of peanuts produced by the areas (by members and non-members of cooperative groups), whose total sales was entrusted to those elected by the groups supported by the project in most of the localities. Because the supported farmers acquired the spirit of entrepreneurship, they were able to completely control the peanut collection market while focusing on the win-win spirit between themselves and the intermediaries.
This reversal of tendencies in this market has significantly reduced the normal profit margin of the intermediaries and led them to organise themselves by creating, in the month of February 2011, an association of intermediaries in the Boké peanut industry (survival instinct).
In addition, the fact of conducting sales through contract has allowed producers to overcome a cultural barrier that had them believing that in our cultural traditions (where trust is based on morality) the requirement of a written commercial agreement in advance is a significant indication of lack of confidence in the other party.
An argument often put forward to exploit the weak.
The organisation of community discussions through the REFLECT-STAR approach around culturally taboo issues of concern
The promotion of REFLECT-STAR sessions designed to instruct and sensitise producers to issues of STI-HIV/AIDS and child trafficking has not only made it possible to open community discussions in the project area around culturally taboo topics (early and forced marriage, love, sexuality, exploitation and trafficking of children, etc.), but has also enabled the vulnerable or victims who are women and children subject to exploitation, especially domestic servants, to speak out.
Strengthening indigenous capabilities (village facilitators) in the promotion of the REFLECT-STAR information sessions, educating and communicating on these culturally taboo subjects, has permitted the formalisation of interactive areas and initiated a beginning of inclusive dialogue and an ability by the vulnerable to speak out about things experienced by people daily which are responsible for diseases and human rights violations against women and children. Thus very poignant testimonies by victims are collected and disseminated by Boké rural radio during their interactive programs dedicated to topics concerning the skills needed in everyday life to which the AFAB project is dedicated.
The beginning of taking charge of the provision of support services to enterprises in the industry by the umbrella organisation (Union of Agricultural Producers Kakandé)
The process of identifying needs and providing support services to enterprises controlled by the umbrella organisations of producers has led to the establishment within the Union of Agricultural Producers Kakandé (UPAK) of a database about the industry (different support service providers for businesses and rates they charge, the annual quantities of production and sale of peanuts, etc.) which is directly managed by UPAK. In addition, all activities of facilitation/mediation conducted by the AFAB project were conducted in collaboration with UPAK and coordinated by the Federation of Peasant Organisations of Lower Guinea, affiliated with the National Confederation of Peasant Organisations of Guinea. This has resulted in the affiliation of the 24 EIGs supported by UPAK, the recognition of the peanut industry by the Federation of farmer organisations of Lower Guinea (FOPBG) and the relaunch of the associations of processors and collectors through elections and the renewal of members of the executive offices.
Thanks to the industry’s approach to the AFAB project, there is today a beginning of autonomous empowerment of the actors and an organisation of the peanut industry of Boké (by the cash crop system, the focus of national priority, by strategic documents in the struggle against poverty and the National Policy for Agricultural Development vision 2015).
Experimentation and adoption of two new varieties of improved seeds (AK 10 and Flower 11)
Peanut producers of the project area are often faced with the problem of supplies of certified seed, which leads them to use only locally available seed varieties: the DIAKHABA.
During the evaluation of returns of the 2010 crop year, project staff found a significant difference between the harvest of one producer from Daramagnaki (Mr. Ibrahima Danedjo BAH) and the harvest of others. By looking at the case, they discovered that this producer used a seed variety (AK 10) different from the Diakhaba, which he had received as a sample from the old Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP) which had been implemented in the area.
After deepening the research around this variety of seed, the team learned, through theory, that this was a previously improved version which had good success in the project area and that, in addition, another variety (Flower 11) with the same characteristics as the AK 10 had been introduced in the area.
That is why the project led efforts to obtain, from the Télémélé centre (through the intervention of technicians of the National Advisory Agency for the Promotion of Rural Farming [ANPROCA]) an amount of 110 kg of AK 10 seed and 68 kg of Flower 11, to be distributed to the 24 groups for an experiment, which then became a reality through the following activities:
This experimental process was supervised by technicians of the decentralised technical services of the State (from the National Agency for Rural Promotion and the Agricultural Advisory Council). At the conclusion, the results were:
AFAB Reflect Circle, Source: Mamadou Aliou Bah
Given the results, the adoption of these new varieties by producer groups was automatic and complete, to the extent that no group wanted to sell the products of these two varieties, all of whom kept their crops from these two varieties as seed for the next crop. In addition, most have sought the support of the project or UPAK to supply a large quantity of these seeds for crops in the year 2012.
With regard to the difficulties in the supply of quality seed which producers regularly face, the project has both identified and trained in a practical manner and in each locality two relay seed producers who received the new varieties of seed and benefited from the support of the use of agricultural equipment and supervision of the production process of peanut seed by technicians from ANPROCA. This will obviously and undoubtedly favour the multiplication of the AK 10 and Flower 11 peanut seeds to the benefit of producers in other localities.
Introduction and adoption of appropriate technologies for the utilisation of peanut by-products
As part of the study tours provided by the project, two peanut production areas (Dabola and Koundara) were targeted for exchange visits. The selected areas of interest for the study tours were the methods of growing, processing and marketing of peanuts.
Following the preparatory visits of project staff to these two localities, two new technologies for the recovery of peanut by-products which could be beneficial to actors in the peanut industry of Boké were identified. They are:
During their study tour, participants had the opportunity to practice making soap from decayed peanut kernels; on their return, each representative organised a practical session on soap-making as the intention of the group, which currently has the result that women from the groups manufacture soap for household use from peanut residue which is usually discarded.
As for the introduction of appropriate technology for the extraction of peanut oil, the project brought two local experts from the Gaoual-Koundara area. The first, from Koundara, is a blacksmith who makes oil presses. He trained three local blacksmiths in the process of manufacturing an oil press, and the training was concluded by the production of a model press by the beneficiary blacksmiths.
The second, who came from Gaoual, trained fifteen peanut producers from the Boké area in the extraction of peanut oil using the press made by the local blacksmiths, which is what they do today – these oil press models are in the process of serial production and distribution in the AFAB project intervention area in Boké and Télémélé.
Following the completion of the project, some participants wanted to relate their impressions on the implementation of the Support Project for the Peanut Industry of Boké (AFAB):
Mr. Abdoulaye BAH, president of the Samba Foula group from Mobhi-Sangaredi.
“Thanks to the increase in our revenues due to the support by the AFAB project, our group has funded the building of a small bridge for motorcycles that connects the two parts of our village, divided by a creek. In addition, this year we contributed 7 million Guinean Francs (GNF) for the financing of the mosque in our village, which was of concern to all the villagers.”
Mr. Ibrahima DIAKHABY, supervisor of ANPROCA in the Sangaredi area
“Since 1984 I have been part of the intervention in the Sangaredi area. This is the first time I have seen a project which has fully taken into account, in a methodical way, the real concerns of the producers in all stages of the agricultural process: from the resolution of supply problems to support in mastering farming and post-harvest techniques, through to the establishment of sustainable commercial linkages, the literacy of producers and the management of farm income.”
“In my case, the two-year AFAB project allowed me to be active in the field and fully play my part as agricultural adviser to the farmers of the Sangaredi area.”
Mr. Mamadou Lamarana DIALLO, vice-president of the Sangaredi Chamber of Commerce
“This initiative is a first in our area. It is the first time I have seen producers and buyers meet to discuss prices and sign contracts in advance. This practice has reduced conflict between producers and intermediaries, which we at the Chamber of Commerce were faced with each year – for arbitration in regard to an outstanding loan, or for a refusal to pay a debt on the grounds that the delivered product was half spoiled.”
Mr. Moussa SACKO, administrative secretary of UPAK Boké
“The strengthening of the capacity of UPAK which resulted from the AFAB project through training about structure, the provision of equipment and management tools has made our union functional. Above all, our participation in the facilitation of services to industry actors and to the organisation of roundtables for the development of sales contracts between producers and intermediaries has put us on the path of our vocation as an umbrella organisation.”
Mr. Saala BAH, final consultant-evaluator for the AFAB project
“This project to support the development of the industry represents a first action of its kind in an area where the cultivation of the peanut and its value chain occupies a prominent place in economic activity. Therefore, the increase in production and productivity on the one hand and the improvement of processing and marketing on the other are consistent with the expectations of the beneficiaries.”
“The development of commercial agreements between producers through their EIGs and the buyers of the collectors under the leadership of the UPAK and the Chamber of Commerce has become a reality.”
AFAB Reflect Circle
Mamadou Aliou Bah
1 Sources: diagnostic study of the of the peanut industry in Guinea, in December 2006 and the study of the peanut industry in Boké, in February 2010.
2 Source: Document de Stratégie de Réduction de la Pauvreté (DSRP) Boké 2006.
3 Sentinel survey on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Kamsar-Sangared corridor.
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