Resulting from a partnership between the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Louis Dreyfus Company and Fert, and in close collaboration with local authorities, the Niofoin Agricultural and Rural Training Center (CFAR) in Ivory Coast is the very first center in the North of the country that trains young people in the region in agriculture and livestock breeding.
Discover a video presentation of the CFAR, produced by the Louis Dreyfus Foundation:
A year and a half after its opening, Cintia Soro, the director of the CFAR, looks back on her experience.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Cintia Soro, I am an agricultural engineer and I have been the director of the CFAR of Niofoin since July 2019.
As director, I manage the daily life of the center and the relations with the outside world. I also teach courses in some subjects and I participate in the supervision of the professional projects of the young people. The goal of the center is to train them to be farmers, so it is very important to give them key ideas and to guide them in their decision making.
Which young people do you welcome to the center and are they satisfied with the training?
The center welcomes mostly children of farmers from the Poro and Bagoué regions.
At the beginning, it was not easy; some young people wondered why they should join an agricultural school to learn things they have known since they were children, by seeing their parents do it. But after following the courses, the young people see the difference between the work that their parents do and what they are taught at the CFAR.
For example, at the Center, young people learn how to calculate the rentability of an agricultural investment or to plan their activities. Young people often tell us that they have seen their parents do this but without really having an explanation, at the center we give them all the necessary explanations.
The center also cooperates with farmers in the region, which is really interesting. For example, last year we carried out a small project with women rice growers; the objective was to train them in good agricultural practices and in the use of inputs. And some of the farmers in the region were selected to host the students for an internship.
What do you like about your mission?
I have always been passionate about agriculture and I encourage girls to be interested in agricultural jobs because it is a promising sector.There is always a difficulty in recruiting young girls because there are many preconceived ideas about this profession, some people think that it is not classy enough for a woman to work the field. But we can work in the mud and at the end of the day, return to our normal habits.
I do my job with a lot of joy and passion. I received training, I learned a job and now I can practice it with peace of mind, it is a great pride.
The center is a real opportunity for these young people. It gives a second chance to children who have been out of school, like young girls who had to suspend their schooling due to pregnancy. It gives me great pleasure to contribute to this and I do it with a lot of pride.