The soybean processing centre at Zogbodomey, located in the Zou-Benin department, has brought the results of its activities to limelight. The centre was recently visited by the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo. The main purpose is to learn more about the results of the research carried out by the Union communale des productrices de Zogbodomey (the Union of Zogbodomey women’s producers) under the leadership of the Project Soybean Afitin Milk (ProSam) of the competitive research fund (CRF) led by Patrice Sèwadé.
While presenting the activities carried out with women processors, Patrice Sèwadé, the Coordinator of Prosam said the project is working on the stabilisation of soy milk and “afitin”. He expressed satisfaction that with the support of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (FAS) and the National Institute for Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB), soy milk can now be preserved for up to six months. He also praised FARA and the technical partners for their support.
It emerged from the intervention of Dr. Yann Madodé, Research Teaching Fellow at FAS that throughout the project, FAS has contributed to improving the different stages of soya processing including processing soybeans into cheese. INRAB was proud of the results achieved by the Centre.
The Chairperson of the women processors, Elise Sondji Houéssoukpè, during the course of presentation, called on FARA to work towards improving production and processing capacities through training programmes geared towards improving the quality of products put on the market. She however noted that women processors should also make efforts to maintain the trust of partners.
In addition, she commended the group and stressed that “we remain at the top in the field of soya processing in Benin”. She spoke of the many challenges they are faced with when carrying out their activities; for instance, the main constraint with milk is its stabilization.
“Some of the products presented to the Executive Director of FARA, were Soy kebab, porridge, milk, cheese and mustard made by the Zogbodomey Soybean Women Processors.”
The Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo expressed his satisfaction with results achieved by Zogbodomey women processors. However, the most important thing remains the “personal development of women processors”- stated Dr. Akinbamijo. “The purpose of the project is to take part in your development” he said.
In this regard, he urged the women processors to think about the future when engaging in the processing activity. To achieve this, he recommended finding an array of markets as he felt that was the best way to benefit from any activity.
Dr. Akinbamijo also addressed the issue of local food consumption. For him, it was unacceptable to see the majority of the population of a country live on imported food hence, local food consumption should be promoted. Taking the example of milk sold on the market, he said that Beninese should change their eating habits in this area.
Besides, the Executive Director of FARA advised women processors to take into account, from now on, all the components of soybean to better benefit from their work. The event ended with a visit of the various stages of soya processing at Zogbodomey for the Prosam project, which has been operating for two years.
The initiative is supported by FARA with funds from the European Union. It should be noted that ProSam is a research project supported by the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research and Development (PAEPARD) which builds joint African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in agricultural research for development (ARD) in order to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).