Closing Ceremony For the Millet Value Chain Project – Speech by Ambassador Mushingi, December 19, 2019 

Speech by Ambassador Mushingi
Food for Progress Program
Closing Ceremony For the Millet Value Chain Project
Radisson Blu Hotel in Dakar, Senegal
Thursday, December 19, 2019, 

 

(As prepared)

Minister of Agriculture Monsieur Moussa Baldé
Governors of the Kaolack, Kaffrine, and Fatick Regions
Other representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture
The National Cooperative Business Association International and its implementing partners,
All the millet value chain project beneficiaries and other guests,
Dear Participants:  

 

Good morning.  It is a great honor for me to join you today at the closing ceremony for USDA’s Food for Progress millet value chain project.

Implemented by the nonprofit organization, National Cooperative Business Association International, from 2014 to 2020 this 8.1 billion CFA franc ($14 million) project aimed to strengthen millet production and processing and connect value chain actors to domestic and international markets.  The project benefitted more than 321,000 people across Senegal.

Operating in the regions of Kaolack, Kaffrine, Fatick, Dakar, and Diourbel, the millet value chain project accomplished the following:

  • The project helped 30,000 farmers increase their yields from 600 kilograms to 1.2 metric tons per
  • The project built 18 grain silos with a storage capacity of 500 metric tons per silo.
  • It supported business centers that helped millet value chain actors improve skills for plowing, threshing, storage, marketing, and contracting/sales, as well as provided financial services.
  • The project supported the creation of 141 small-scale millet processing companies that generated more than 300 jobs, many of which provided opportunities to women and young professionals. Financing was also given to over 10,000 beneficiaries, 64 percent of which were women.
  • Stakeholders signed more than 220 sales contracts within the millet value chain or with outside buyers. Total sales for the project were 6,000 metric tons of millet worth 4.6 billion CFA francs ($8 million).
  • The project installed 70 “Sunu Founde” canteens that marketed and sold processed millet products to local communities, resulting in greater exposure and demand.
  • Most importantly, the project helped facilitate commercial connections with supermarkets. As a result, millet products produced by project beneficiaries are now sold in modern retail.  Continued demand from the modern retail sector will help drive millet production in the future.

I encourage all project beneficiaries to use the knowledge you have acquired to continue to build your businesses and explore opportunities in local, regional, or international markets.  Following market demand is essential, as this ultimately can lead to new sales opportunities, or inspire you to use new ingredients to be more competitive.  For example, health-conscious consumers may demand more protein in processed millet products, which could inspire the use other plant proteins such as oilseeds or pulses to meet this demand.

And maybe more importantly, to meet market demand requirements, this means that your businesses must meet the quality and food safety standards demanded by buyers and consumers.  In this way, you are not only producing high quality, safe food for you and your families, but also for your  neighbors and their families.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the National Cooperative Business Association International for the successes that have been achieved.  Many years from now, I look forward to seeing the millet sector take even greater steps that result in even greater achievements.  The future is yours if you work hard and use the knowledge you have learned.

Thank you.