Effects of establishing an Integrated Agricultural Training Site in Koona

The Integrated Agricultural Training Site (Site Intégré de Formation Agricole, SIFA) of Koona, Maradi region, was created in February 2018, thanks to the Rural Skills Development support programme in Niger. Like all the other training sites in the Maradi region, the Koona site is under delegated management by the town hall to a local farmers' organisation called "Kishin-Zucci" (meaning efficiency of work).

Before the training site was created, no one believed in the potential of market gardening because of the depth of the water table and the scarcity of water – the rural community has only one semi-permanent waterhole. 

Today, market gardening is a reality, and is practised on the plots (behind the huts) and on the new vegetable cultivation sites that have recently emerged in the villages surrounding the training site.

According to community leaders, this practice has become possible thanks to the Integrated Agricultural Training Site (SIFA). Indeed, they first saw that it was possible because the Site generated a lot of produce. Secondly, the young people trained on this particular SIFA can work on other sites and pass on their know-how to other producers. This is how partners became convinced of the development of market garden sites. With these new sites, the commune of Koona has become a pool of vegetable production, which contributes to boosting the local economy and improving the food security of the population.

Six market garden sites, ranging in size from 1.5 to 10 hectares, are being developed by technical development partners in Koona and surrounding areas. The head of the NGO Karakara, which is in charge of developing the sites set up by the World Food Programme, confirms what community leaders have said: "SIFA and the availability of trained and qualified people are the basis for setting up these market gardening sites in Koona."

The mechanisms supported by the FOPROR project are the integrated agricultural training sites (SIFA): Short-term skills training, which enables young people to master and quickly implement new agro-sylvopastoral activities on their own family farms, in order to diversify and secure the family's income.  

The Rural Skills Development support programme is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.