In Siguiri, a prefecture in northeastern Guinea, interest among local populations to pursue new livelihoods has grown rapidly in the Kintinian mining areas. Many women, young people, and men living in the town of Kintinian practice traditional gold panning, a dangerous and labor-intensive activity, despite its potentially deadly risks. However, the Siguiri Agriculture Development Activity (SADA), funded by USAID and Société AngloGold Ashanti de Guinée and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, has brought an opportunity for individuals and producer organizations to pursue more profitable and sustainable agriculture through cashew production.
Prior to SADA’s involvement, producer organizations did not recognize the profit potential of cashew nut production or the demand for it outside of home consumption, said Kissima Berete, president of the Badengna cooperative. Berete added that they did not know how to sell their cashews at a fair price. Previously, nuts were sold to traders at derisory prices, with an average 60 percent loss in profit. The inefficiency of this practice was evident as Gnalen Doumbouya, a member of the Badengna cooperative, pointed to the rotten bags of nuts that were unpreserved after the selling season.
After completing trainings and receiving technical assistance from SADA, producer organizations learned to maximize their profits from cashew sales. Members stated that their cooperatives were working to better organize themselves, promote the cashew value chain, and build a cooperative union in Kintinian. Thanks to group activities, capacity assessments, new strategies, and an understanding of roles and responsibilities gained during trainings, the Lebasouma producer group formally registered its cooperative. The group also obtained an agreement number, improved its management practices, and opened a bank account to avoid keeping large amounts of cash in their respective homes.
“A single bird that flies make no noise, but, when several birds fly together, they make a big noise: vhruuu!”— N’Faly Llaye Camara, secretary of the lonkassia cooperative
The Badengna, Lonkassia, Sabougnouma, and Lebasoumana cooperatives have seen their memberships grow since the trainings and other technical assistance activities began in the village. In total, 449 participants attended three separate training sessions in the respective localities of Kintinian centre: Bourré Balato, Didi, Nafadji, Samany, and Kamatiguiya. Of these 449 participants, 79 percent were men, 21 percent were women, and 36 percent were young people.
SADA’s state-of-the-art-training, based on ACDI/VOCA’s Sell More For More curriculum, has educated cooperative leaders, managers, and agents about the fundamentals of cooperative management and governance, the principles of negotiation, and the necessity of group sales. Participants learned how to establish contracts with potential customers, keep financial records, and analyze the criteria for distributing profits.
These trainings also included a module on gender and youth inclusion, during which participants had a lively discussion about the levels of inclusion women and youth experience based on cultural perceptions and different gender roles within the groups. The trainers also presented some examples of female leadership within Guinean societies and how those women contributed to the development of their communities. After a constructive discussion, the participants fully committed themselves to involving more women and youth in their groups and activities.
The trainings also improved financial management for many groups, as participants learned how to use financial and administrative materials and accounting books when buying and selling and planning activities. Representatives from the cooperatives also learned how to develop marketing plans and meet buyer specifications, which they planned to teach with their members.
All of these new practices will allow cooperatives to successfully sell cashews and generate profits as well as increase the incomes of their members. The local cooperatives are now well-positioned to strengthening their members’ capacities and create new livelihood opportunities through the cashew value chain for years to come.
Learn more about the Siguiri Agriculture Development Activity.
Learn more about our work in Guinea.