Supporting a dried moringa production cooperative towards organic and fair trade certification
Since 2012, Kinomé has been working in Togo in collaboration with local partners on the establishment of a “dried Moringa leaves” sector.
Moringa oleifera is a plant native to India that is commonly found in the West African countryside. In Togo, its cuttings are used to make living plant barriers. Its leaves are also used as basic ingredients in sauces to accompany the corn paste commonly consumed in Togo.
Moringa oleifera has two extraordinary qualities:
- Figure 1: composition of fresh Moringa leaves
- Its leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for human beings
- When it is sown in the ground, the plant develops a root bulb which serves as a reserve during the dry seasons: thus, the Moringa resists very well to drought.
With the support of its partner INADES-Formation, Kinomé has been supporting since 2016 the PROSCOMO cooperative (Producteurs en Société Coopérative de Moringa), located in Sévénokopé, 30 minutes by motorcycle cab from Kpalimé, with the will to produce Moringa, transform it into dried powder to sell it on local and international markets.
The project encountered several difficulties that made the launch of the activity take longer than expected. However, this allowed the project to produce scientific studies on Moringa plant production, to understand the challenges of processing a quality finished product and to identify the best solutions to ensure the sustainability of PROSCOMO’s activity.
Thus, in 2020, financed by the company ORESYS, Kinomé proposed to PROSCOMO to certify its production activity under the labels of organic agriculture and fair trade in order to
- Guarantee the quality of the finished product
- Reduce the negative impacts of the production on the environment
- Ensure a purchase price for producers that values their work and allows them to make a decent living from their activity.
ORESYS finances this project at the same time as the Moringa oleifera plantation within the framework of its carbon offset program. Kinomé accompanies it in this program. The objective being to ensure that the planted trees can have a financial interest for the planters and participate in the improvement of their basic needs.
PROSCOMO having accepted, Kinomé charged in early December 2020 a junior consultant to accompany the cooperative in collaboration with a trainer from INADES-Formation until April 2021.
Several activities have been carried out:
- Refurbishment of an old processing unit to meet health standards;
- Official creation of the PROSCOMO cooperative: the producers had met but did not know the issues related to the creation of the cooperative nor the administrative steps to be taken;
- Production of technical information sheets: These sheets concern the production, processing as well as the organic and fair trade certification of Moringa.
- Training in the transformation of a dried Moringa powder of “Export” quality:
- Election of a team in charge of the transformation: the EGUM (Management Team of the Moringa Unit);
– Control of the sanitary hygiene of the processing unit and the equipment;
– Mastery of the processing steps and HACCP measures.
- Training in AB organic certification from Ecocert:
- Introduction to the certification standards;
– Training of EGUM to the Internal Control System;
– Creation and training of the farmers’ cultivation books (listing all their activities related to the cultivation of Moringa);
– Training in traceability.
- Training in Ecocert Fair For Life certification:
- Introduction to certification standards;
– Presentation of the objectives of a fair trade contract;
– Reflection on the use of the development fund;
– Research by Kinomé of buyers ready to engage in a fair trade approach
- Initiation to the Global Vision thanks to the Vision&Strategy of Ethical Leadership © scheme
The implementation of a certification process requiring a certain amount of time and Kinomé wanting to ensure the quality of its support to PROSCOMO, the junior consultant will leave in July 2021 to continue the accompaniment towards the certification (while following PROSCOMO at a distance).
Thanks to the dynamic launched and the joy present between the actors, the certification audit by Ecocert is planned for the end of 2021 !
2. Characterisation of Togo’s agroforestry systems and their supply of plant material
As Togo has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world (annual rate of 4.5% recorded in 2007 by the FAO (Foresti, 2011)), Kinomé and one of its local Togolese partners, the Unité Technique Café Cacao (UTCC), decided to initiate in 2017 the project “Optimization of Agroforestry Production by Supporting the Improvement of Ecosystem Services in Togo’s Forest Area” (OPASASE-TOGO). The overall objective of this project is to support ecosystem services in cocoa and coffee agroforests in terms of production of goods, biodiversity and carbon storage.
To achieve this objective, the project subsidizes the provision of free agroforestry seedlings for farmers. Support is also provided to farmers in their agroforestry practices to boost the reforestation process in the region.
In this context, an end-of-study intern from the ISTOM engineering school was recruited between December 2020 and April 2021 in order to conduct an agronomic diagnosis focused on agroforestry systems and the supply of plant material. The objective of the internship was also to highlight the strengths and limitations of the OPASASE-Togo strategy in order to make recommendations on how to improve the project. This always with the aim of impacting as positively as possible the agroforestry and reforestation dynamics of the region.
Since the requested study is particularly focused on improving the supply of plant material for agroforestry systems with a reforestation objective, the following problematic was chosen: What limits to reforestation by agroforestry systems ?
To address this issue, study areas were selected in the Wawa prefecture, which is the main coffee and cocoa producing area of Togo. Four localities were identified: Ounabè, Ikavi-Kope (near Klabe Efoukpa), Tomegbe and Kessibo.
Following the agrarian diagnosis method, the methodology focused its field data collection on historical semi-directive interviews of the study areas, grouped semi-directive interviews on the management of an agroforestry system and the supply of seedlings, and technical-economic questionnaires with producers and nurserymen. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with stakeholders in the supply of plant material and with resource persons.
The data and information collected in the field were then cross-referenced with existing literature. This analysis made it possible to produce :
- A historical analysis of cocoa and coffee cultivation and deforestation factors in different localities of the prefecture;
- A characterization of the agroforestry systems in the different localities at the agronomic and technico-economic level;
- A diagnosis of the diversity of seedling supply accompanied by a presentation of some of the actors in the supply of plant material;
- A global diagnosis of reforestation through agroforestry systems from an interdisciplinary perspective (systemic vision) to open up potential improvements to the OPASASE-TOGO project.
The final thesis of this internship is currently being written. The results will soon be published on Kinomé’s website so keep following us!