Training on post-harvest processing of millet has improved marketing and opened doors for partnerships across Senegal, increasing sales. But this is only possible because of the building up of the organizations doing the processing. Without a strong organizational structure, hygienic and efficient processing would have no support.
For one group working with NCBA CLUSA’s USDA-funded Millet Business Services Project, training on organizational dynamics—such as management and administration—has helped to revitalize a processor group in operation since 1986.
A Senegal-based processor group, the Kaffrine Processing Women’s Cooperative, needed to be trained in cooperative management in order to aggregate and meet larger orders after their processing techniques improved, also with project support.
Bineta Diouf, president of the Kaffine Processing Women’s Cooperative, has gone through many trainings with the project from marketing to processing to packaging. She met up with trainers from the first phase of the project at the agricultural fair in Dakar in 2012 and has worked to get the women’s co-op trained up and involved since 2016.
Working with the project, she became a leading packaging trainer, training up groups across the Kaffrine region. Having gone through this technical training, her co-op peers nominated her to lead the co-op’s steering committee, which was in charge of leading the general assembly. Eventually she was elected president of the group.
“I defend the interest of all the member groups of the cooperative,” Diouf said. After the flooding in the region that wiped out much of the harvested millet, which was being stored on the ground in personal family homes, Diouf looked to professionalize their warehousing options, renting larger rooms and dry storing, allowing her to put the post-harvest training from the project to practice.
In a leadership position with the cooperative, she helped to organize more training for other co-op members, allowing for a strong business and administrative unit.
“I no longer have to be at the business unit all the time,” Diouf said. They were able to increase their storage capacity and work with local community agripreneurs, or service providers able to access quality inputs. With a trained and trusted business unit staff for the co-op, the processor groups can focus on creating the best product.
In all, the USDA Millet project is working with around 75 organizations, training over 1,000 managers and processors, almost all of them women. In the post-harvest processing sector in Senegal, almost all processor groups are made of women who are heads of households—supporting their families on the income from the processed millet products.