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CTA. 2002. Recycling wastes. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/4. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57310
A trainee at the Songhay Centre in Benin describes a very innovative mixed crop and livestock system of organic production.
Recycling wastes Cue: Organic production of crops and livestock demands a high level of skill, knowledge and organisation. Systems for recycling waste animal and plant products can be complex, and farmers also need to be imaginative, to find the best ways of using their waste resources. The Songhay centre in Benin is one example where farmers have managed to find some amazing methods of organic farming. The centre was set up in 1985 and since then has been developing its system of organic agriculture, while also training young people in the methods and even running a popular restaurant, where the organic produce are enjoyed by visitors from the nearby city of Porto Novo. In this report Tunde Fatunde talks to Eric Dandjihoun, a trainee at the centre, about the methods they are using. Eric dreams of establishing his own mini-centre at the end of his training. Tunde began by asking him why the centre was established. IN: ?Well the purpose of establishing ?? OUT: ?? in here to eat the food.? DUR?N 3?32? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Tunde Fatunde reporting from the Songhay centre in Benin. The centre has been so successful that it is now being replicated in other towns in Benin and Nigeria. Transcript Dandjihoun Well the purpose of establishing the Songhay Centre is to promote agriculture the natural way. That is producing crops and animals without chemical components. Fatunde In this centre you people rear pigs, snails, pigeons, ducks and fowls. You have a very big fish pond. How do you feed all these animals? Dandjihoun First of all, let me tell you we have our own animal feed mill here, where we compound maize, pumpkernal cake and other materials. After compounding this maize and other materials, we now mix this with wheat residue, which is found from the breweries, and use this to feed the animals. And also we use nature, that is plants, to feed these animals as well. Fatunde Don?t you add some chemicals when you feed your fishes in your fish pond? Dandjihoun Not at all, not at all. Fatunde Then how do you feed your fish? Dandjihoun You see in this Songhay centre, we do research. And our finding is one of these. Fishes are fed with maggots. How do we obtain these maggots? We rear maggots as well. Maggots are obtained from wheat residue or malt residue, mixed with pig droppings, and other wastes. This is done for about three days, after which the maggots are produced. Then we gather these maggots and mix them with malt residue dried in the sun to feed these fishes. Fatunde The Songhay centre is also involved in crop production. What are these crops? Dandjihoun Carrots, cabbage, beetroot, beans, cucumber, parsley, onions, I mean mention it! Even sweetcorn. Fatunde Ah ha! Which simply shows that if you produce all these, at a point you use fertilisers. Dandjihoun Oh no, no, no, no, no! Songhay centre is against the usage of chemical fertilisers. So what we use basically is compost, and this compost is a product from animal waste, plant waste, kitchen waste and all these. We gather these things together in a very cool place for about three months, turning it after every fifteen days. Then we apply them on our crop production parcels, and then we produce our crops. You see that it is natural. Fatunde It is also very interesting that your source of energy is from gas. How do you produce this gas? Dandjihoun Yes, this gas is produced by water hyacinth. You know many people do not know the value of this water hyacinth. We use this same water hyacinth in feeding pigs, and at the same time we get this waste from the pigs, and mix this with the same water hyacinth, and stock in a place built with concrete. And after some days, the gas is generated. That is the gas we use. Fatunde It is interesting to note here that there is an outfit where people come in here to eat, every day, from morning till evening. Dandjihoun Yes, that is to tell you that people are aware of their health. They know that food cooked in Songhay centre is got from natural sources. That?s why you see a lot of people come in here to eat the food. End of track.