In the past months, I have received so many emails, facebook messages and calls requesting how to get trained at the Songhai Farms and research center located in Porto-Novo Benin Republic.
To assist the numerous youth and individuals interested in getting trained find below some key information you should know.
1. It is important you have an international / ECOWAS passport plus a yellow card. This allows you easy movement across the boarder and means of identification during your period of training. Official currency is France Cefa (CFA) with 1Naira been between 2.80CFA-3CFA depending on exchange rates.
2. As an international trainees, there are two modes of training to be explored
I. Daily training : this is usually charged daily .This is for training between 2days to 3months. Participants of this module are charged 15000CFA(5000Naira) per day of training.
II. Long term training: This usually a from a minimum of 4months to 18months maximum of training program. Participants of this module are charged 40,000CFA (14,250Naira) per month. This is in my personal opinion is most preferable and economical . As you can do 4months to 6months.( Personally, I trained for 6months)
3. After exploring and making a choice from the two options you have(Download training brochure from the link below), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com . The purpose of the email is to inform the administration of your intention to train at the farm and the proposed date. Usually, they respond to emails promptly. However, if they do not, it is advised that you take a trip down there to make all necessary arrangement. You can call them too Tel: (+ 229) 20 24 60 92-20 24 68 81
4. Payment for training can be made at once or split into two to three payment especially for those staying for 4months and above.
5. The training fee does not include accommodation nor feeding. It is strictly for your training. For accommodation there are 3 options namely: pay for an accommodation on the farm itself (very expensive), search for an accommodation within the Porto-novo town (price is moderate), Pay for a bed space at the Ministry of Horticulture, right beside the farm.(Cost is currently about 5000Naira per month, and covers electricity and water). Be prepared also to either eat out or cook where ever you are putting up.
6. The training course allows you to choose a variety of modules to learn from ranging from field work to agri processing and marketing. Training is also 70percent practical and 30 percent theory. Of course be ready to work hard and learn.
7. You do not need many clothes while making plans. On arrival you get a pair of work shirts and you can dedicate a pair of jean and booth. A few Extra clothes can be brought along for sight seeing and evening outings.
8. The official language is French so be open to learn and speak the basics. Motor bikes popularly called ‘keke’ are the mode of transportation within the regions. While buses and cabs are used to move across regions.
9. Work schedule is from 7.30am – 10.00am then breakfast follows for 30 minutes. From 10.30am to 12.30pm work continues. Lunch break is 12.30pm to 3.00pm after which the last lap of work runs from 3.oopm to 6.00pm (Mondays to Friday). Saturday is half day and thus work ends 12.30pm.
10. Be open minded, Not very often do you get a place to learn something new each day. Plus have fun, Benin republic has lot of interesting places to visit and relax. Check out places worth visiting via this link
You can download the Songhai Training Brochure TRAINING PROGRAMS_2014
All the best!!! You can send any further questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment under this blog post.
Photo CREDIT in order of arrangement in this post- Kusimo Idris, Seun Oladapo and Awoyinka Tosin