Inaugurated on October 31 2019 in the presence of its partners such as the Louis Dreyfus Corporate Foundation, LDC Ivory Coast and Fert, the Niofoin Agricultural and Rural Training Center that is located in the Poro region in the north of the country, had a successful first year despite the disruptions caused by the Covid crisis. After a few weeks’ break from the recruitment of a second class and the organization of internships on farms, CFAR is entering its second school year with still significant challenges to be met.

Due to the Covid crisis, CFAR was obliged to close for 6 weeks in April/May. The 2019/2020 school year finished on 31 July; 32 of the 34 young people initially recruited were still present at the time, which is a very encouraging result for a first year. Families were also involved, as evidenced by the 100% recovery of annual school fees and active participation in the three parents’ meetings organized during the year.

CFAR rice harvest

The teaching team, under the impetus of its director, has taken CFAR under control, defining its operating rules over the months and gradually adapting its teaching methods to the specificities of the training and the public. The educational farm experienced its first developments with the introduction of market gardening and food crops (rice, corn, beans, soybeans, etc.) as well as the installation of pig and broiler breeding workshops. Finally, the farmers’ committee, created at the launch of the project at the end of 2018, has remained mobilized and has played an important role in the dynamics and monitoring of activities.

During the months of August and September, the students of the first class completed a four-week internship on farms in the region. In the unanimous opinion of the peasant internship tutors recently gathered at a debriefing meeting, CFAR students demonstrated hard work and irreproachable behavior during their internship. However, the peasant tutors underlined the need to work on strengthening their capacity for initiative to enable them to become future agricultural leaders.

CFAR promotion

The school year 2020 / 2021 started on September 28th with challenges to overcome. More than 60 young people, 30% of whom are girls, are now enrolled in boarding school at CFAR including those from the second class. The teaching team has been strengthened with the recruitment of a fourth trainer to teach general subjects. Several new developments are also planned for the educational farm: creation of a laying hen farm, establishment of a small ruminant farm with construction of a sheepfold, construction of a Panicum-based pasture, installation of an orchard, etc.

The support of the students of the first class in the setting up of their professional project will be an important thread of the second school year. Several high points (meetings with professionals, study trips, debate day …) have been scheduled to help them mature their project before the presentation scheduled for late June 2021 before juries composed of professionals from the agricultural sector. It will then be time to make a new assessment after a complete cycle of training and the release of the first class.