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Production and processing of moringa: 16 producers from Niger are cross-learning from the experience of the Koukouldi women group in Burkina Faso.

From  May 30 to June 3 2016, a study tour took place in Koukouldi, Centre-Ouest region of Burkina Faso, for the benefit of 16 future moringa producers from the Doutchi region of Niger.  The group of farmers from Doutchi visit was funded by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).  Through this study tour, CAFOD aimed to help these producers learn about moringa production and processing from the experience of a group of women created with the support of USAID WA-WASH in Koukouldi.

Nicknamed "tree of paradise" in many local languages in Africa, moringa is a plant with multiple nutritional and therapeutic properties.  In some West African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Niger, people are interested in moringa because of the various income-generating activities that they can develop from this plant. 

The 16 producers (eight men and eight women) were able to familiarize themselves with the moringa production and processing practiced by the women’s group of Koukouldi who benefited from the support of USAID WA-WASH.

The support of USAID WA-WASH to the Koukouldi women's group began in 2013, with the introduction of the approach of water  Multiple Uses Services (MUS.  In addition to providing drinking water to populations, the MUS approach has the advantage of providing water for other domestic and productive uses such as irrigation.

The MUS approach helped 97 members of the Koukouldi women’s group to turn moringa production into an income generating activity.  Under the direction of Mrs. Pauline Kangoro (President), members of this group specialized in the production and processing of moringa.  Today, they produce various products derived from the Moringa tree. "In addition to seeds, dried leaves, and moringa powder, our group produced soap, creams, and ointments the sale of which generate revenues for our members," says Pauline Kangoro.

Mr. Zakari Saley Bana, who is in charge of the food security program at CAFOD, gives the reasons that motivated the organization of this study trip for the benefit of these 16 producers: "Moringa is a plant much prized in Niger. As part of the integrated food security project (PISA in French) implemented by CAFOD in the Doutchi region, we intend to introduce the cultivation of moringa to improve food security and help develop the income-generating activities through the production and processing of moringa in eight communities in this region.  We initiated this study tour so that producers in this region can draw on the experience of the USAID WA-WASH women's group of Koukouldi.”

It is the lessons learned and overall experience of USAID WA-WASH that CAFOD intended to share with the study tour participants.  Visits to fields of moringa, as well as exchanges and demonstration sessions, allowed them to become familiar with the various steps relating to the production and processing of moringa.

Like Mrs. Bibata Mata from the village of Doroji (Kieche municipality of Niger), participants in the study tour were delighted to have acquired new knowledge that they are going to share with their community members “I am pleasantly surprised by the good work done by the women of Koukouldi.  Back in Niger, we will inform and educate members of my community on the benefits that we can draw from the production and the processing of moringa here in Burkina Faso.  I thank CAFOD for this experience that allowed me to learn from what others have accomplished.”

For CAFOD, this study tour is just a small step in the support it intends to provide to the producers from Niger.  "We are going to encourage these 16 producers and their communities to implement what they have learned from this study tou and the cross learning from USAID WA-WASh investment in this arear.  We intend to make available all the material necessary for the conduct of this new income generating activity that is offered by producing and processing moringa", said Mr. Bana. 

During a short interaction with the study tour participants and the head of CAFOD food security program, Dr. Boukerrou, Regional Director of the USAID WA-WASH Program emphasized the importance of managing knowledge generated during the 1st Phase  of the Program and sharing the lessons learned from the implementation of the Program activities with various institutions/organizations in the region.  He encouraged the CAFOD participants to apply what they have learned from this study tour and to continue the interaction with the beneficiaries of the USAID WA-WASH Program in Burkina Faso.