Project goal: Introduce novel technologies that will improve production practices and reduce postharvest losses in Guinea. These technologies will be delivered through a market-driven and youth-led Horticulture Training and Services Center in Kindia, Guinea.
Developing the horticulture sector in Guinea is an important part of improving the capacity of smallholder farmers to grow, eat, and market fruits and vegetables. For most Guineans, agriculture is both the main source of sustenance and of income, even if agricultural productivity is low. Increasing both household and commercial production, marketing, processing, and storage of fruits and vegetables leads to diversified cropping systems, diversified diets, and greater resiliency.
In a previous report for USAID, the Horticulture Innovation Lab identified major constraints to improving household and commercial production of fruits and vegetables. The report identified opportunities for investing in nutrition training, postharvest processing and handling, and food preservation. Farmers who succeed at horticultural production would benefit from training in postharvest handling, packaging and storage. Consumers would benefit from having access to better stored and better processed foods. Supporting crop diversification, investing in the seed system, and scaling-up labor-saving technologies would strengthen the horticulture sector across all wealth classes, genders, and Livelihood Zones.
Involving youth in agriculture has become a major focus in development as this provides opportunities for young people to build skills and exercise leadership in their communities. In addition, programs that involve universities, extension services, local organizations, government, schools and the private sector can be tremendous catalysts for change.
This project establishes a Horticulture Training and Services Center on the IRAG campus, with leadership from young entrepreneurs who are part of the AVENIR program (Agents en Vulgarisation, Entrepreneuriat et Innovation Rurale, or “agents of extension, entrepreneurship and rural innovation") with Feed the Future Guinea Agricultural Services. The AVENIRs will serve as extension agents and establish revenue-generating training modules at the Horticulture Training and Services Center at IRAG that will feature appropriate technologies and best agricultural practices. Technologies featured include the CoolBot, drip irrigation, the UC Davis-designed chimney solar dryer, the DryCard, plastic mulch, and others. The center's promotion of these technologies aims to address horticultural production and storage needs, improve production practices and reduce postharvest losses in Guinea — with a focus on market-based solutions.
This project will:
- Establish technology demonstrations at the IRAG station to extend proven profitable technologies and practices to local agribusinesses.
- Develop and implement training modules in horticulture-related postharvest and production, through a variety of media for extension via young entrepreneurial (AVENIR) agents and Peace Corps volunteers.
- Sell technologies to farmers and other producers in the community, with the eventual goal of the center operating as a sustainable business.
- Build institutional capacity at the center in conjunction with AVENIRS, Peace Corps and other local collaborators by bringing young, motivated individuals to the center; improving existing infrastructure to focus on agriculture production and postharvest services; expanding the institutional knowledge base through trainings and technologies dissemination; and making available new and innovative technologies to the agricultural station and surrounding communities.