Project title: Ferme Ecole “La Reine”
Locatie: Lomé en Aného
Project partner: Nicolas Aziafo Komi
BP 384, Lomé, Togo
Mobiel: + 228 906 59 37
Our partner in Togo, Nicolas Aziafo, has been very active with his initiative Association Santé Tout Humain (ASTH). With this initiative he supports children working in rural areas near Lomé. Many of these children get injuries because they have no experience with risky work such as cutting down trees. ASTH mobile first aid vehicles go to these rural areas, helps the wounded and provides safety information. ASTH also takes patients with severe cancer growths to the hospital of Lomé. ASTH also supports AIDS orphans with paying school fees and textbooks. Mesics has decided to structurally support ASTH with the school fees project.
2011 has been a difficult year for Nicolas Aziafo, the interim project coordinator of Mesics in Togo. The carpentry workshop J.S. Kolping in Lomé is not yet economically viable. The orphanage in Aného, on the other hand, runs well. The flour mill is connected and the bread oven is working properly. With the application, a storage cabinet has been purchased, so that more bread loaves can be stored and sold.
Mesics has decided to keep Nicolas Aziafo as project coordinator of Mesics in Togo.
2010 was an exciting year for Mesics in Togo. Nicolas Aziafo was appointed interim coordinator of Mesics in Togo until the end of 2010, after Paul Sossa said goodbye in early 2009. It has been decided to ask Nicolas to remain interim until mid-2011.
Three projects received attention in 2010:
1, Scholarship to Nicolas on behalf of his Doctorat Agronomie for 4.000 euros. The results are encouraging; mid 2011, Nicolas hopes to win his doctor’s degree. With this he hopes to contribute better to the development of his country.
2. Orphanage Notre Dame in Aneho: Soeur Victorine Agbo has received a gift of 3,000 euros for the purchase of a flour mill. Unfortunately the purchase has not yet taken place because the desired mill is not yet available on the local market. The expectation is that this will happen soon in 2011. The flour mill will be able to cheaply supply the previously facilitated bread oven with flour.
3. Carpentry workshop “Menuiserie JS Kolping”: a sponsor provided a loan of 21,000 euros for the purchase of 4 sawing machines. The term of the loan is 5 years with an interest rate of 5% per year. The first repayment and interest payment should have been made before 31.12.10, which has not happened. The report of the Menuiserie also left something to be desired in 2010. Reason for some concern.
The decision to suspend early 2009 the cooperation with partner Paul Sossa was painful, but inevitable. Paul was not able to make the farm financially self reliant. In spite of all necessary investments, sponsored by Mesics and its donors, the farm was not able to produce profitably.
Unfortunately, the first two phases of the school facility on the farm had already been funded with 20.000 euro, and building commended. The total budget of the school was € 70.000.
Three smaller projects will continue into 2010:
- The carpentry shop “Menuiserie Kolping” in Lomé.
- School fees for a Masters degree in Agronomy of Nicolas Aziafo.
- Bread oven for the orphanage of Sister Victorine in Aného.
In his desire to start promoting tilapia culture in his native region of the Préfecture des Grands Lacs, Paul Sossa approached Fr. Jan Heine and Mesics, around the end of 1997. Sossa was quite successful in introducing small scale tilapia culture at family- and village level.
In 2001 Mesics decided to extend the cooperation with Sossa by agreeing to co-invest in a farm, Ferme Ecole “La Reine”, named after his late wife Reine. This decision was made by Mesics primarily because of a high level of trust and the competence and intention that Sossa has shown after 4 years of intensive cooperation.
The purpose of the farm is to be a regional centre of production, training and inspiration. Special focus is put on the introduction of local plants and techniques to regenerate the soils which are degraded by excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides.
It is hoped that this good example will receive ample follow-up in the region.
Financial self-reliance is an important criterion. Self-reliance is defined in such a way that the running costs are to be covered by the proceeds from daily operation. Financing of major additional investments can be sourced from outside. Income generating is realized through poultry, pigs and market garden, especially tomatoes.
Products: approx 2 ha market garden, 1000 poultry, 20 pigs, and approx 2 ha under regeneration by local plants and techniques: the soils should be ready for cultivation of maize by 2007.
Labour: 4 permanent staff, varying members of part-timers
Investments by Mesics: land, buildings, pick-up truck, 2 pumps, generator, bore-hole, water reservoir, tilapia ponds;
working capital: total approx € 50.000,-
Local contribution: management, labour, various inputs in cash and kind, difficult to quantify
Ownership: land and assets are owned by Paul Sossa
Familiarizing the region with small scale tilapia culture has been quite successful, although one cannot conclude that the concept is proliferating spontaneously. See also explanations in the Introduction.
Various young assistants/employees have been trained and consequently helped to set up their own business. Neighbouring farmers of “La Reine” are anxiously awaiting the results of the farm’s experiments in regenerating the soils with local plants and techniques. If successful, the staff of “La Reine” is ready to help neighbours to copy the example. Around 2008 conclusions are expected to be drawn.
Sossa is engaged in organizing a union of local tomato-growers, so as to better organize marketing and distribution.
Much positive interaction was expected from the cooperation with a local NGO active in the production and marketing of traditional drugs and medicines. Unfortunately, however, this cooperation has developed negatively, causing serious set-backs for “La Reine”.
Sossa is also head of the Kolping Family in Togo. Kolping is a Germany based Catholic charity society. Mesics has actively supported some actions from Kolping Togo: a carpenter shop in Lomé and a milk shop in Aného.
Achieving the level of financial self-reliance is for every activity an ambitious goal. The fact that Ferme Ecole “La Reine” so far has still not reached that level is both understandable and disappointing. Organizational set-backs and the threat of the bird-flue in 2005/2006 can be blamed.