Special initiative ONE WORLD – No Hunger

Green innovation centre Togo

A so-called cashew apple. The small kidney-shaped fruit  attached to it contains the cashew seeds.

Togo is a small country where the local market for agricultural produce is limited. Although there is considerable national, regional and global demand for cashew, peanuts and soy products, the crop harvested by farmers is not enough to earn an adequate income. They lack the possibilities and skills required to process the primary products further and bring them to the market. Farmers and processors in Togo receive support from the green innovation centre in an effort to improve their chances of a higher income.

What is so innovative?

Quality from the outset: 2,000 smallholders have already joined together to form a cashew organisation. These are provided with high-quality seedlings by Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In turn, 1,000 nurseries receive certified seed so as to be able to produce their own high-quality seedlings. Support in the form of training measures is also given to ITRA, the Togolese Agricultural Research Institute. In future, the aim is for the institute to be able to propagate improved planting material independently – for the benefit of farmers.

Processing takes place directly in the field: Using a mobile soybean threshing machine, farmers thresh the harvest directly in the field. That means that women are no longer required to carry out the arduous task of transporting it to the village where they have always threshed the harvest by hand. The quality of the harvest is also improved.

Fruitful negotiations: Producers of peanut and soybean seed have secured fixed supply agreements with two Togolese farmers’ associations. The smallholders purchase the agreed quantities of seed and, in return, are offered more attractive prices by the producers.

Our objectives

  • To increase income for 40,000 smallholders by 33 per cent
  • To create 1,500 new jobs
  • To provide education and training for 80,000 smallholders

Routes to success

Boubare Lemou and her team have won first prize for their spice mixture in an innovation contest run by the green innovation centre. The group of women developed a soy-based blend of spices which transforms even the simplest of dishes into a highly nutritious meal. The mixture contains seeds from the néré fruit which are extremely rich in protein and vitamin C. The spice is a local product, is packaged in a professional and hygienic manner and is not too expensive to produce, thereby making it affordable for the local population. Moreover, it has already been certified by the country’s food authority.

In order to win the competition, a product has to meet a number of criteria, explains Matthias Schnier, a member of the jury from the green innovation centre: "The winning product had to be something that makes you go, wow, that really is something new that there has never been before in Togo!" Besides the product’s innovative character, its economic viability also counted: Will it be well received by buyers? Can it survive on the market? All entries into the competition were also examined for their sustainability.

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