Love at first sight
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Akonagbo, Simon. 2006. Love at first sight. Spore 121. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48004
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore121.pdf
Simon Akonagbo, Executive Director of the Association des amis du village (AAV) farmers association
Simon Akonagbo, Executive Director of the Association des amis du village (AAV) farmers association Thanks to Spore, we learned how to make a solution based on neem leaves and soap to tackle cowpea pests. We taught the technique to farmers, who used it without too much difficulty. Since then, they are much happier. Slim, and around 40-years-old, Simon Akonagbo, from Benin, is generous in his praise of the magazine. He finds it a valuable source of information for the Association des amis du village (AAV) farmers organisation, which he heads. Since 1997, AAV has worked to spread knowledge of farming techniques at Agamey in the rural district of Lokossa, 120 km west of Cotonou. Holding the latest issue, Mr Akonagbo recounts how he first came across Spore, It was in April 1998, and I had gone to visit a friend in Lokossa. He had a copy... Engrossed in the pages, he remembers being intrigued by two things, the two intertwined leaves of the logo and the name Spore . He found it a strange spelling, given that he was only familiar with sport , written with a t . As he delved further, his curiosity grew. A magazine with information on agriculture! For this farmer s son, and member of a farmers organisation, it was love at first sight. I asked how I could get hold of it and immediately wrote to CTA. Several months passed before two copies arrived. The 20 or so AAV members soon shared his passion. We used to divide into two groups of 10 to read Spore. Hardly very practical. A new request was despatched to CTA, which has been sending five copies ever since. These days, the reading is done in groups of four, followed by a discussion on the content of the magazine. Methodically, Mr Akonagbo and his friends pull out the main points of interest and the most useful pieces of information before translating them into the most widely spoken languages of the region fon, cotafon, adja and mina. Later, they organise meetings with the farmers. We don t impose our views on them , insists Mr Akonagbo. They tell us their problems and we offer them solutions suggested by Spore. He believes that the magazine s main merit is to have contributed to a change in thinking. Farmers have always thought their misfortunes were caused by bad luck. Thanks to information from Spore, they are no longer fatalistic, as they have learned that in other climes, farmers are meeting and overcoming the same difficulties as they are. AAV would like to spread its message further afield, especially in the remote rural areas, but it lacks the resources. Mr Akonagbo s dream is to have a small, local rural radio network, to be better able to share agricultural information.