Communicating about agri-food processing
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CTA. 2006. Communicating about agri-food processing. Spore 123. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48061
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore123.pdf
What better than a lively debate to stimulate ideas on The Role of Information and Communication in the Development of Small and Medium Agri-food Processing Units in Africa ?...
What better than a lively debate to stimulate ideas on The Role of Information and Communication in the Development of Small and Medium Agri-food Processing Units in Africa ? Between 20 and 24 February 2006, almost 100 participants half of them women from around 30 countries exchanged views on the subject in Cotonou, Benin. A number of observations emerged from this seminar, which was organised by CTA: the poor use of certain new tools, notably the internet and management software, the relevance of collective action in commercial strategies and the need for better communication about products in other words, better packaging to achieve better sales. Thanks to ICTs, small agri-food processing enterprises now have better access to information on markets, business opportunities, regulations, manufacturing processes and equipment. But the cost of both materials and their maintenance is often too high for small-scale operators, and operating ICTs often requires considerable training. A number of products presented at stands placed outside the conference room caught the eye of participants. In Côte d'Ivoire, Mrs A Cécile Kouassi has developed and patented a method for stabilising and reconstituting fresh attiéké (cassava semolina) that is now being used to provide revenue for about a thousand rural women working in cooperatives. In Kenya, Palm House Dairies, which supports 350 rural households, has made a selling point from its simple but striking packaging, stamped with the company logo (a cow under a tree). Antoinette Magaral, president of ATOSA, an agri-food processing association in Chad, exhibited sun-dried meat, tomatoes and peppers, packaged in small sachets. The products were well received by guests at the seminar. ATOSA is trying to persuade hotel and restaurant owners in the country s capital to put more specialties from Chad on their menus. This type of direct contact with clients, together with word of mouth and tasting sessions, are key elements when it comes to selling food products, and are part and parcel of the communication strategies so crucial to successful small and medium agri-food processing operations.