New COLEACP collaboration with UNIDO in Guinea – Revival of the pineapple sector (REFILA)
COLEACP’s collaboration in the “Revival of the pineapple sector” (REFILA) project in Guinea has been confirmed. On 1 September COLEACP finalised an agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to provide technical capacity building for the sector through the association’s tried-and-tested interactive training methods, training-of-trainers and individual coaching. The aim is to create a lasting, sustainable training system within each partner company or organisation, rather than simply transmitting knowledge or skills.
COLEACP’s distinctive cascading training system, the result of 20 years’ development, will begin by building up a network of expert trainers in Guinea. This will include training (online and face-to-face): on technical topics specific to the pineapple sector; on the content of COLEACP courses, to ensure consistency; and finally on training skills. These Guinean expert trainers will then be able to offer capacity building and technical support to companies and other stakeholders in the sector. Support to a company or organisation begins with the directors and cascades through customised training for middle management to operational staff. At each level, technical training is accompanied by dedicated train-the-trainers courses. And at all stages the learning journey is enriched through online training, creating potential for continuous learning. The final step consists of customised on-site coaching and support.
COLEACP will also focus on support structures for procedures to ensure compliance with good production and packaging practices. And specific training will be provided for technical officers of Guinea’s smallholder association of pineapple growers (Fédération des Planteurs de la Filière Fruit de la Basse Guinée, FEPAF-BG) on good production practices for organic pineapple, with a focus on the challenges faced by women-led SMEs.
COLEACP will work in synergy with its current activities in Guinea: two EU-funded Fit For Market programmes, and a project to strengthen the country’s phytosanitary control and certification system (FNDC-Government of Guinea via the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa).
“Revival of the pineapple sector” (Relance de la Filière Ananas, REFILA) is the Guinean component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), a partnership initiative between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union.
NExT Kenya programme: Coaching Kenyan flower companies on false codling moth management
In Kenya, the floriculture industry earned €640 million in 2017, €885 million in 2018 and €814 million in 2019 from exports of cut flowers, predominantly roses. The cut flowers sub-sector employs over 200,000 directly and supports over 4 million livelihoods, contributing greatly to the economy. But in addition to the logistical difficulties caused by Covid-19, exports to this market have been faced with a challenge due to quarantine pests being detected in exported consignments, leading to interception of the produce and notification of non-compliance. The leading cause of interception of roses has been Thaumatotibia leucotreta (false codling moth, FCM).
For FCM management, the systems approach can work, if well implemented. Some professional farms have not yet experienced interceptions, and the detailed know-how on FCM management that is available within these companies should be shared with other horticultural companies, so that they can better implement the FCM protocol and bring the number of interceptions down for both flowers and capsicum. The Kenya Flower Council, in collaboration with the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), Fresh Produce Consortium Kenya (FPC-Kenya), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), and COLEACP’s Fit For Market SPS and Next Kenya programmes, have set up a series of regional training/sensitisation forums for all producers across the country, aimed at a common approach across the industry to help drastically reduce interceptions of FCM in Europe. The activities complement ongoing efforts, including the individual farm-based systems approach and fumigation.
The following four-step approach was used to provide horizontal (peer-to-peer) learning for the Kenya flower sector and create a short-term impact on the number of interceptions:
- Sensitisation of the CEOs of Kenyan flower exporting companies (January–February 2020)
- Content development for regional forums for agronomists (February 2020)
- Regional forums for agronomists (peer-to-peer learning) (February 2020)
- Troubleshooting/coaching of the eight to ten flower-exporting companies that have experienced repeated interceptions (ongoing).
In-company coaching for flower companies that have experienced (repeated) interceptions for FCM on roses is taking place in the third week of September. The coaching sessions are organised by a three-person team: an IPM expert, and two trainers who were involved in the peer-to-peer sessions: a member of the KFC technical team and an experienced agronomist from a flower company that has successfully implemented the FCM protocol.
The coaching sessions involve four steps: first, an inception meeting to establish the context, agree expectations and ensure engagement – it is important to explain that this is not an audit, but rather a session to establish together how the protocol implementation can be improved. The second step, troubleshooting, involves physical visits to the production areas, packhouse to understand pre- and post-harvest processes in detail. Third, a session with the company’s technical team discusses gaps identified and potential solutions tailored to the context. And finally, a closing session with senior management creates consensus and commitment within the company team. It is then the responsibility of farm and packhouse senior management to make sure the target staff are trained and the systems are in place for effective FCM management.
According to Johnstone Mulary, advocacy officer at KFC, the farms have been very positive about the coaching and stated this could not have come at a better time considering the severe impacts of FCM. They have committed to put in place the experts’ recommendations and look forward to the review in 2–3 months’ time.
COLEACP’s improved FCM protocol for roses, developed during phase 2 and distributed to all KFC members, was well received, and members have committed to cascade it to staff as a basis for on-farm training materials.
Training in developing Good Practice Guides for the horticulture sector
Building the capacity of ACP partners on good agricultural practice is a core activity of COLEACP’s training unit. In line with this commitment to ensure our members and partners are fully equipped with know-how on good agricultural practices from farm to fork, COLEACP recently launched digital training for the development of Good Practice Guides for the production of specific crops across the ACP regions. Ninety-nine experts – 46 English-speaking, 53 French-speaking – have been enrolled to first take part in the training, and then develop Good Practice Guides.
The training is being coordinated by COLEACP Regional Programme Manager Marie-Hélène Kestemont with COLEACP’s long-time trainer Professor Bruno Schiffers, supported by course administrators David Sodade and Océane Rennotte. The first part of the training, just concluded on 14 September, provided a refresher course including 16 modules on food safety and 5 modules on plant health. Section 2, scheduled to begin 22 September, involves live coaching sessions and concludes with the development of a Good Practice Guide in collaboration with industry partners under the supervision of Professor Schiffers. The training can be accessed from the links below:
French session: https://training.coleacp.org/course/view.php?id=349
English session: https://training.coleacp.org/course/view.php?id=352
Togo: Group training on white fly
In August, COLEACP provided digital training on detection and management of white fly (Bemisia tabaci) for inspectors of Togo’s Plant Protection Directorate (Direction de la Protection des Végétaux, DPV). 28 participants, mostly inspectors working at management level in Lomé, at the port, airport and land border posts, took part in the opening meeting introducing two weeks of interactive work. The Director of the DPV attended to give words of encouragement.
A training course on the same theme, specifically aimed at the technical managers of market garden production companies, took place in parallel to enable the various participants to gain specific knowledge on the management of this pest and to achieve better control in the field, on the station and during inspections at the point of shipment before export.
Togo: Technical Managers’ Skills Incubator
In September, a virtual meeting chaired by Mr Komabou Tozo, General Delegate of GREEN AGRI NOVA and member of COLEACP’s Board of Directors, reviewed progress of the “Technical Managers’ Skills Incubator” project in Togo, and discussed the possibilities for companies to host trainees in the context of Covid-19 restrictions. It was also an opportunity for the trainees to give feedback on past training sessions and share their expectations for future sessions.
Kenya: Fit For Market in action
COLEACP’s Fit For Market programe has recently been working with Wamu Investments Ltd, a Kenyan exporter of French beans and snow peas. Fit For Market is facilitating the implementation of SMETA requirements, a social standard that is commonly requested by European customers, including some of Wamu’s clients. Respecting local Covid-19 measures, COLEACP organised refresher training for Wamu’s team on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code – an internationally recognised code of labour practice founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organization. The training will be followed by customised coaching to adapt implementation requirements to the company’s context.
Nigeria: Digital training for Dangote Farms
In July, extension staff of Dangote Farms Ltd actively participated in online training on crop protection and safe use of pesticides that was customised to fit the company’s tomato sourcing context. The training was organised in five modules and spread across three weeks to allow for an optimal work–training balance. Dangote Farms has several large-scale tomato farms, and sources from thousands of small-scale tomato growers in Kano State, Nigeria.
DRC: Survey on impacts of COLEACP technical training
As part of its Fit For Market programme, COLEACP has initiated a survey among its members and partners based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The survey is aimed at 21 Congolese organisations that have taken part in group training sessions organised by COLEACP on technical subjects (crop protection, safe use of pesticides, sanitary quality management). The intention is to compile information on the impacts of these training sessions on the activities of the companies and organisations involved, to ensure that positive changes in practices are being observed by producers following replication of the training in the field by COLEACP-trained supervisors. This survey, which is currently under way, will also provide information on the current realities and needs of COLEACP members and partners in the DRC, to enable support to be targeted accordingly.
Burundi: meeting with members and partners
In Burundi, COLEACP’s Fit For Market programme focuses on improving fruit and vegetable production for national and regional markets, with the aim of strengthening the capacities of support structures so that they can better carry out their daily work with producers. Activities include training-of-trainers and technical training, mainly on the themes of organic production, integrated crop protection, food quality management, hygiene and traceability. Recently, a mission led by COLEACP in Bujumbura met with COLEACP members and partners (including the EU Delegation and AFD), and held discussions with actors working in Burundi such as ENABEL and the Dutch Embassy.
West African mango on the European market: towards a very positive 2020
Following the entry into force of the new European plant health regulations in December 2019, COLEACP’s Fit For Market SPS programme has helped West African countries to respond effectively by developing mango dossiers detailing integrated fruit fly management measures. The positive results are due to the efforts of the European and African private sector working together with the competent national authorities, mobilised particularly around the control of quality throughout the sector, and of successful operational agility in the global context of Covid-19.
For Mali during the 2020 mango campaign only one lot exported to Europe was intercepted, a remarkable improvement compared with previous years. More than 12,500 tonnes were exported from Mali this year, including nearly 3,000 tonnes by road. Similarly to Mali, Côte d’Ivoire had only four fruit fly-related notifications (compared with 15 last year) on entry to the EU market. Côte d’Ivoire exported 26,000 tonnes of mangoes to Europe. COLEACP support to the competent authorities will continue to maintain this situation and support them to meet future challenges. See a more detailed account here.
Internal mango audit system for West Africa and Madagascar
On 31 August a dynamic Zoom meeting was held with the teams in charge of internal audit in nine national plant protection organisations in West Africa and Madagascar. The meeting, facilitated by COLEACP expert Mr Babacar Samb, concluded support for the implementation of an internal audit system within the framework of the mango 2020 campaign. Results were shared on the implementation of the internal audit; operational difficulties experienced by each team were analysed; and concrete ways were explored to continue to improve the system within each structure. Bringing together the technical teams of nine countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Togo – resulted in a lively and fruitful exchange of experiences.
Zimbabwe: Food safety management
One COLEACP member in Zimbabwe, who received coaching sessions from COLEACP expert Yvonne Dzuda on food safety management, reported that
“The sessions were great, informative and have given me more focus on direction and picture of how we should operate food safety safely. I would like to thank you so much and COLEACP for this valuable experience we were afforded – we embraced it and we should successfully implement it after this guidance. The coaching was presented in a good way that I understood, and very productive. I managed to produce documents for the Food Safety and Management System and tools. […] Much appreciated and I am really motivated for more progress.”
New training-of-trainers on Sustainable Environmental Management
In the new normal of digital training delivery, COLEACP has moved beyond training-of-trainers on innovative approaches to digital training itself, to providing training on specific topics that are central to the association’s activities. COLEACP’s training-of-trainers on Sustainable Environment Management has enrolled 61 experts across different environmental sustainability topics – water, soil, biodiversity, waste management, energy – with a special focus on the horticultural sector in ACP countries. The training has a dual purpose: both to improve technical understanding of the topics, and to build the digital training skills and methods of the experts taking part, who are able to practise giving live presentations that are assessed by the team. The training can be accessed here: https://training.coleacp.org/course/view.php?id=350
Two technical training courses, both starting on 28 September, will be implemented using COLEACP’s newly developed digital training methods: “Implementation of HACCP principles” for Nigerian companies (https://training.coleacp.org/course/view.php?id=356) and “Integrated management measures for false codling moth” in Gambia (https://training.coleacp.org/course/view.php?id=353). Both courses are in English.