Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Beninese organic farm bids to weed out Africa’s social ills

The farm founded by a priest to fight poverty and famine has grown into a pilot project for the continent that tackles its problems by teaching farmers to maximize yields and promote farming among youths

By Cecile De Comarmond  /  AFP, PORTO-NOVO

“My parents use traditional, archaic methods, while at Songhai we learn the modern way, albeit makeshift,” he said. “What we used to do in two days, now we do in two hours.”

The apprentices are sent to villages where they apply what they have learned. Once in charge of a farm, they join the Songhai network and are checked on regularly.

Songhai also welcomes interns who pay for their own training.

They include Abua Eucharia Nchinor, a Nigerian in his 30s, and Kemajou Nathanael, a 39-year-old former salesman from Cameroon, who both want to open an organic farm in their respective countries.

Nzamujo said Songhai is not a cure-all for Africa’s problems but does tackle their root causes.

“Imagine if all the young people who hang around big cities did their training here and we equip them... Imagine the productivity of Africa today,” he said.

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