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AMEDAR/ BGAJ: A week of sharing experiences and discoveries in Guinea

by Alpha Ousmane Souaré

AMEDAR

At the invitation of Alpha Ousmane Souaré of the Association Média et Agriculture pour le Développement Rural (AMEDAR/Guinée), a member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, five (5) journalists from the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ) went on a journey of discovery and experience sharing in Guinea

Indeed, this visit is part of the strengthening of ties and collaboration between Guinean agricultural journalists members of AMEDAR and British journalists of the BGAJ. It should open other areas of cooperation between Guinea and Great Britain.
Upon their arrival in Conakry, Adrian Bell, Jean-Pierre Garnier, Martin Rickatson, Philip Case and Simon Haley, were received on October 11 and 12 respectively by the Ministers of Agriculture and Livestock, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Maritime Economy, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Information and Communication, the President of the High Authority of Communication, the Director General of the National Agency for the Development of Mining Infrastructure (ANAIM), … Everywhere, the officials presented their different departments and structures and the potentialities that exist in Guinea.

With the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Mamoudou Nagnalen Barry

With the Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Maritime Economy Charlotte Daffé

With the SG of the Ministry of Information and Communication Souleymane Bah

With the President of the High Authority of Communication Boubacar Yacine Diallo

The delegation also visited Entreprise Tidiane Agriculture (ETA), which specializes in importing agricultural inputs and testing vegetable seeds and organic fertilizers in Guinea. With the General Manager of the company, the colleagues tried to understand how Guineans obtain agricultural inputs, their qualities, their origins, etc. Most inputs are imported from China for some fertilizers and machinery and tools, from France for seeds, from Israel for the drip irrigation system and from Spain for foliar fertilizers. No inputs are imported from Great Britain. These meetings were very much appreciated by both sides.

With the DG of the Tidiane Agriculture Company Amadou Tidiane Diallo

On October 12, the delegation was received at the office of the Association Média et Agriculture pour le Développement Rural (AMEDAR) and of the only Guinean agricultural information website www.agriguinee.net. There, discussions with AMEDAR members focused on the functioning of the association and the difficulties that the team of Alpha Ousmane Souaré, President of the association, regularly encounters in its research activities, information processing and promotion of the agricultural sector. The colleagues of the BGAJ have noted by themselves the difficulties that the members of AMEDAR encounter, in particular the crying lack of working materials, support and need of training to be able to fully play their role.

After AMEDAR and the agriguinee.net website, the delegation was received by the Director General of the press group radio City FM 88.1 and the newspaper La République. Mr. Zézé Zoumanigui presented the program schedule of the radio and the subjects which are treated daily by the various editorial offices of the radio and the newspaper.

Exchanges with journalists and communicators from the Guinean agricultural sector
After these meetings, on October 12 from 9am to 1pm, exchanges took place on “How to promote agriculture through the media” between British agricultural journalists and about thirty Guinean agricultural journalists and communicators in the presence of executives and technicians from the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock, Technical Education and Vocational Training and Commissioners of the High Authority of Communication. The Ministers of Agriculture and Livestock Mamoudou Nagnalen Barry and Technical Education and Vocational Training Alpha Bacar Barry honored us by hosting panels informing on the policies that are implemented to develop the agricultural sector in Guinea. All the senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, for example, were present to give sufficient information to journalists. Thus, our British colleagues asked many questions and also shared some of their experiences from Great Britain and or lived elsewhere.

It was around 2pm on October 12 that the team, composed of members of AMEDAR and BGAJ moved for field visits to Kindia, Forécariah, Boké and Dubréka.
Stage of Kindia, “the city of citrus fruits
In Kindia, we visited the field school of the Tidiane Agriculture Company in Foulaya where the General Manager, Amadou Tidiane Diallo, has recruited agricultural engineers to develop market gardening on more than 20 hectares. These engineers train in the fields, young agricultural entrepreneurs or graduates of agronomy schools, for a period ranging from one to three months. The workforce is regularly renewed. A strategy appreciated by the British journalists who asked questions to the trainers and young learners of agricultural techniques.
After a night in Kindia, the delegation was received by the administrative authorities and the Prefectural Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock. With the executives of this Directorate, our guests had the opportunity to ask questions about all the strategies used to develop agriculture. The general observation is that the potential exists but it is imperative to mechanize agriculture to improve yields. All the managers are unanimous on this.
On the side of the Prefecture, the Prefect, Colonel Abdel Kader Mangué Camara, first authority, received us in a friendly atmosphere. He encouraged such initiatives that promote the exchange of experiences. Mr. Camara said that he was at our disposal at any time to facilitate any collaboration with the farmers of his prefecture.

Just after these different meetings, we went to the “paradisiacal” site of the bride’s veil, more than 15 km from the city of Kindia. The site www.tresorsdumonde.fr describes it as follows: “Resplendent in the magnificent forest of the city of Kindia, the Veil of the Bride is extraordinary! Sensational avalanche of water, it unveils its irresistible charms and attracts excursionists and even businessmen who are passing through the city. Its dreamy landscapes and its bewitching decor will leave you speechless. Very aesthetic, it is the pride of Guinea and is the object of contemplation, entertainment and wonder of all those who have chosen to admire it!

After about 2 hours spent in this tourist site, we went to the KIM IL SUNG Research Center in Kilissi, which is dedicated to the varietal improvement of rice, corn, peanuts and other crops, to visit a vast rice experimentation base. Here too, the quality of the work of the agricultural engineers was appreciated, but it really needs to be improved with more suitable equipment.

After the center of Kilissi, we continue our journey to Forécariah, more than 100 km away on a rural track. This is to allow our guests to discover for themselves the potential that exists in terms of unexploited agricultural areas and the availability of water through the marigots and rivers that water this part of Guinea. The beauty of the landscape did not go unnoticed by our British colleagues from the BGAJ.
After several stops and more than 7 hours of driving, we are in the prefecture of Boké, precisely in Tanènè where we spent the night before visiting a farmer in a village. Thierno Alsény Diallo raises cattle and goats with the means at hand, which are very much appreciated by Jean Pierre Garnier, a specialist in this field among the members of the delegation. For him, all that is needed is a little extra money to enable Thierno Alsény to have good results in his production.

On October 14, 2022, we are in Conakry, after visits to some media such as the offices of the general information site www.africaguinee.com, the radio FIM FM 95.3, we visited a rabbit farmer, not like others. Mamadou Ramadan Diallo is physically disabled. He lost the use of his legs in an accident several years ago. Unlike most disabled people in Guinea, Mamadou Ramadan does not beg, he works. He is passionate about raising rabbits in particular. But it is from his bed that he administers treatments to his rabbits with the support of his wife and children. All this in a not very adequate environment, very unhealthy even. It was the great emotion for our colleagues of the BGAJ. They had a long discussion with Mamadou Ramadan. They tried to understand how he manages to work in these conditions.

The delegation also saw the effort he is making to develop the breeding of rabbits and chickens with crossbreeding of different breeds which is giving good results. But the delegation regretted the fact that Mamadou Ramadan, despite his handicap, does not benefit from any support from the Guinean authorities or resource persons.
Another meeting made this day, it is that with the CEO of the Group SAM GBM to which belongs the group Frequency Info Media (FIM), my CEO. Mr. Antonio Souaré received the delegation at the General Lansana Conté Stadium in Nongo, which he manages. This gentleman who does a lot for Guinea (former president of the Guinean Football Federation, owner of several major Guinean media and large hotels, Antonio Souaré is the president of the largest soccer club in the country Horoya AC and now has an academy in Dubreka where several young people are being trained to become soccer professionals. He has been very supportive of the organizing committee to facilitate the stay of colleagues in Guinea. It was during this meeting that we discovered that Mr. Souaré is developing several hectares in Kindia and Forécariah by combining agriculture and livestock. Our colleagues from the BGAJ appreciated his commitment to the development of the media in Guinea and all the efforts he makes for the country.

Adrian Bell gave a medal of the BGAJ and a Certificate of Merit to Alpha Ousmane Souaré, president of AMEDAR/Guinea for all the efforts he made for the realization and success of this trip of agricultural journalists from Great Britain to Guinea. The other members of the association also received certificates from Adrian Bell.

The other highlight of this visit of the colleagues is their meeting with the Souaré family. These five (5) British journalists are now part of this family. My children regularly ask me, when are they coming back?

At Alpha Ousmane Souaré, his wife and his two boys Ibrahima and Amadou Oury.

It was an unforgettable visit for AMEDAR. With our British colleagues, we learned many things, including some approaches to reporting, interviews, the need to tell inspiring stories of farmers, not to mention the benefits of specializing in agriculture journalists, which is very exciting. But our colleagues also saw the difficult conditions in which we practice our profession in Guinea with, among other things, the crying lack of working tools, logistics, … to be able to relay information on agriculture that is practiced far from urban centers.
Such exchanges are to be strengthened and perpetuated within the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists where there is a very large gap between the levels of development of member countries. It is to allow all to bring and influence the development of agricultural media in their different countries, especially that in some as Guinea, the agricultural potential not exploited is very huge and media specialized in the field almost non-existent to date.

Alpha Ousmane Souaré, President AMEDAR Guinea
aosouarehf27@gmail.com
agriguinee2018@gmail.com

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