Togo creates 35,000 SMEs jobs in the agricultural sector from AfDB support
23-04-2019 14:45:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 5009 | Tags:

Since 2016, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has supported, up to 1.7 million US dollars, the project of support to the employability and insertion of young people in the growth sectors (PAEIJ-SP) of Togo which has created 35,000 jobs in SMEs operating in agriculture.

When in 2011, Agrokom and Junction of Agricultural Growth of Togo (JCAT) start their activities in Lomé, capital of Togo, they each have about ten employees, including very few young people. Agrokom processes oilseeds (soybeans and palm nuts) and produces cattle meal and consumer oil. JCAT produces and markets organic soybeans.

In 2016, Agrokom's annual production capacity was only 180 tonnes of soybean and JCAT 1,000 tonnes. Not enough to satisfy the growing market demand. The two companies receive the support of PAEIJ-SP, with a budget of 3.4 million US dollars, half from the African Development Bank and the remaining 50% from microfinance institutions in Togo.

"The idea of the project was to first identify small and medium-sized agro-industrial companies or sectors with strong growth potential confirmed by a buoyant market," said Amouzouvi Kokou, Project Manager for the Bank. Then support the growth strategy of these SMEs - by building their capacity and financing them - and develop value chains around these SMEs, creating job opportunities for young people and women. "

Two years later, the success is at the rendezvous. Agrokom processes up to 6,000 tonnes of soybeans per year, generating 3,242 direct jobs and 8,505 temporary jobs in its value chain (supply, processing and distribution). For its part, JCAT exports 10,920 tonnes of organic soybeans to the United States, Germany and China, with 3,203 direct and 6,931 temporary jobs.

Thanks to the support of the African Development Bank, the PAEIJ-SP has created a total of 35,000 jobs (14,290 direct and 20,940 temporary), far more than the 20,000 expected, especially for young Togolese. "With the arrival of the project, many things have changed in my daily life, because of food farming, I went on sale," says Michel Komi Koutchena, a first-time entrepreneur in the maize sector. "Starting from three hectares, I now have eleven hectares for growing maize. My production has almost quadrupled. The sale allows me to support my family and employ 63 people, "he says, before rejoicing to" see the youth of his village no longer go to town or other countries to to seek happiness.

Wadja N'Yemba, president of the group Nipa (north of Togo), does not say the opposite: "in the past, each one of us produced its soya individually. Then we were informed of the launch of a project that would support us. We have secured loans to develop our soybean fields, associate ourselves and generate more income. "

"This is an example of a project where the Bank has shown its comparative advantage in promoting agro-industrial SMEs and youth employment in Togo's agricultural value chains. This project is a reference for the Togolese government in promoting youth employment, "said the project leader for the African Development Bank, Amouzouvi Kokou.

In October 2018, the 2018-2019 organic soybean campaign was launched in the town of Agan in eastern Togo. A ceremony during which 15 threshers were given to the producers to facilitate the harvests. "I have farmed 32 hectares of land for growing organic soybeans and hope to harvest between 50 and 60 tonnes," says Rahim Koffi Tolo, one of Togo's largest organic soybean producers.

The country has 1,765 producers, with a total area of 7,292 hectares of cultivated land.