24 January 2013.
Kikondila Hortense of the Confederation Nationale des Organisations des Producteurs (CNOP) of Congo explains what her expectations are of the PAEPARD workshop: Atelier de définition et de validation des questions de recherche relatives à la filière maraîchère en Afrique Centrale
What are your expectations of the PAEPARD workshop?
The workshop should produce the main axis in which our research theme fits. For Congo we indentified organic manure. We see that all actors are interested and even can create small jobs. For example for those cutting grass in and outside rivers and boatsman. This is what we expect from this project to increase manure production in Congo and improved quality of manure
What do you think of the users led process?
I think it is very important because public funded research often imposes topics which producers even don’t understand. But here we work with producers who know what they want to increase production.
Is it difficult to get funding for your activities?
Indeed, it is in particular difficult to get local funding while it is often international funding which responds to our needs.
Are researchers open to this new approach or skeptical?
They welcome it as they like to use their skills while working with Producer Organisations.
What about the capacity to formulate research questions?
It is difficult because when you mix Producer Organisations with researchers and their resource persons there are always problems. But at the end we manage to find common solutions to solve problems.
What is your main message towards fund raisers?
We want donors to trust us. Everybody is now talking about food security. But donors should give as the means to be able to demonstrate our skills. In Congo there is now a problem of organic manure. We have ideas to improve it but how can we develop them?
Why did it take so much time for you to be recognized as an important actor?
It took so much time because the farmer was seen as ignorant. What is he able to tell to the public sector or other organisations? Today we demonstrate that some farmers may be illiterate but others are educated. They are the ones who can represent the interests of the others. CNOP is the consultation of farmers and producer organisations in Congo. We are defending the interest of our members. We have invited some producers because we know they can express themselves, they are on the field and can talk in behalf of the others. Some cannot express themselves well in public but we select people who can present their real problems. Instead of us imposing needs on the producers. The role of CNOP Congo is to advocate for their real problems.