As part of OAD’s program of advocacy for the use of “scientific agriculture as one of the driving forces to liberate Africa from extreme poverty, unemployment, hunger, malnutrition, social vices, youth extremism and youth migration”,
the organization undertook a visit to the SONGHAI CENTER OF EXCELLENCE, Benin on the 5th of August 2017.
The 6-member team from OAD included its Founder and Executive Director, Programs Director, as well as Research, Agricultural, Communications, Administrative and Technology officers and staff. The OAD team was cordially welcomed and introduced to the various aspects of the center, and held discussions with the center’s Founder and Director – Rev. Father Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo.
This world acclaimed Songhai Agricultural Center of Excellence, has among others received many accolades and visits from internationally respected personalities such as UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, Director of USAID West Africa Regional Mission Alex Deprez, President Jerry John Rawlings, and other eminent individuals.
Established in 1985 on an initial 1-hectare of land provided by the Government and People of the Republic of Benin, and having since expanded to cover an area of 22 hectares of land, the Songhai Center in Porto Novo is made up of integrated, cross-sustaining and interdependent facilities harnessing activities that include crop production, aquaculture, poultry, livestock bio-production, bio-processing, bio-consumption and bio-energy.
The Songhai Center is a living, breathing and growing example of the viability, productivity and profitability of its innovative, organic and environmentally friendly science and technologies, and has inspired several other similar operations on the African continent.
With over 22,000 acres spread across the country, and a host of replicas in over 15 countries, the center also annually churns out a crop of high-quality youthful agripreneurs through its educational and training programs – this feat of the center is significant and worthy of commendation, adoption, application and replication.
OAD’s visit to Songhai was to familiarize itself and acquire firsthand knowledge and deeper understanding of the unique, environmentally friendly and organic methods that are being demonstrated and developed there or the purpose of helping to ethically improve food security and sustainable prosperity in an ecological and socially friendly way.
During discussion with the OAD team, the Director of the Songhai Center, Father Godfrey during discussion with the OAD team stated that “Organic agriculture is the weapon for mass construction” and that the inevitable role of the youth in this revolution is inevitably central to realizing sustainable development.
Father Godfrey further stressed on the need for African agricultural organisations to be mindful of external influences and adoption of practices that could tunnel their visions and stall development.
The Director of OAD, Mr. Bonaventure Aguissi touched on the need for cohesive developmental efforts between associations and private organisations like the Songhai Center – which has defiled all odds to rewrite the African narrative through sustainable agriculture.
He further reiterated that OAD is working on innovative and feasible ways to harness the influence of icons in the field of business, culture and sports especially football – and channel it to promote and sustain the interest of youth and women in lucrative ventures along the agricultural value chain.
Mr. Eric Don-Arthur, the Program Director of OAD expressed the team’s enthusiasm to cooperate with Songhai in several areas, including advocacy, communication, and education; and mentioned that OAD is more than inspired and encouraged by the warm reception and wealth of knowledge and practical experience so openly shared by Father Godfrey in his unrelenting aspiration to see our entire continent adopt and apply the Songhai concept to greater benefit.