Field Visit West Africa

Posted by Philippe Saner 1 15th Aug 2023

In August 2023, the Cotton4Impact (C4) project team visited the cotton production regions in the northwest of Côte d'Ivoire. The purpose of the trip was to assess the current status of the digitalisation project at IVOIRE COTON (ICO). During the visit, the team observed various project activities related to community education and health, climate, and good agronomical practices (GAP). The field visit was crucial to gain insight into the existing setup and engage with all relevant stakeholders.

Picture1 Picture: Overview of sites visited in the north west of Ivory Coast

ICO has four production zones (Odienné, Boundiali, M’Bengué, Dianra) and runs four gins at three locations (Boundiali 1&2, M'Bengué and Dianra).

Boundiali%20Gin%201%20and%202 Picture: Aerial view of the ICO Gin at Boundiali, Ivory Coast

MBengue%20Gin Picture: Aerial view of the ICO Gin at M'Bengué, Ivory Coast

Dianra%20Gin Picture: Aerial view of the ICO Gin at Dianra, Ivory Coast

The digital application is now available for display on mobile tablets, and the deployment and training of agricultural consultants across the production regions are underway. In the subsequent phase, we plan to integrate environmental, social, and economic data about the farm, establish direct communication with farmers, and provide location-specific weather forecasts.

DigitAgri%20Group%20Picture

DigitAgri%20Training%20Gbon%20Boundiali

DigitAgri%20Training%20CA%20Gbon%20Boundiali

DigitAgri%20Training%20MBengue%202 Pictures: Training of agricultural consultants in the use of DigitAgri

Land pressure is intense, and farmers depend on training in good agricultural practices (champs d'école) provided by agricultural consultants (conseiller agricole) to achieve profitable cotton yields. Over a span of four days, we met with cotton producers and agricultural consultants to discuss field challenges and delve into how they might benefit from a mobile application. Guiding our discussions were questions such as: How can we access current information on local weather conditions and improve access to training materials for good agricultural practices? How do we ensure the traceability of cotton sourced from thousands of smallholder farmers across an entire landscape?

Mbengue%20Champs%20Ecole%20Group Picture: Visit of producers at the champs d'école where good agricultural practices are trained

Drone%20Training Picture: Exchange on the application of new technologies

MBengue%20Farm Picture: Aerial view of a cotton farm

Monitoring the distribution of inputs for cultivating cotton and rotational food crops is vital. Beyond peanuts, maize, rice, and sorghum, various legumes are utilized both to preserve the soil and to nourish the family.

MBengue%20Soy%20Rice%20Maize Picture: Test site for crop management

MBengue%20Test%20Sites Picture: Aerial view on experimental sites for testing crop management and practices to combat soil degradation

We were given a glimpse into various ongoing CSR projects addressing social and environmental facets across the cotton production landscape. A particularly memorable moment for us was the inauguration ceremony of a hydraulic water pump in the village of Kartenekaha (Dianra-village, Dianra). This experience underscored the significance of having clean water access nearby, which greatly empowers women and children, redirecting their time towards self-determination and education. While the idea of water access might seem fundamental and a given right, its absence, especially due to a lack of infrastructure, is strikingly evident. Let's envision a future where everyone has access to clean water within a 30-minute walk, and consider the profound ripple effects of such a change across landscapes in bolstering large-scale self-determination.

Dianra%20Kartenekaha%20Village%2047

Dianra%20Kartenekaha%20Village%2052 Picture: Inauguration of new hydraulic pump at the village of Kartenekaha

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Vassiriki Kone (Head of Projects and Studies) and his entire team for hosting us during our stay at IVOIRE COTON.

In summary, it was reassuring to learn from first-hand about the positive attitude that drives the digitalisation efforts to improve communication, including weather forecast and recommendations of good agricultural practice that reduce the amount of inputs and at the same time support higher cotton yields.