Call for applications for the training of young people as part of the ECOWAS regional strategy on employability in the agriculture and food sector in Senegal

DEADLINE 31 OCT 2023

Context and Rationale

Producing more, in a more diversified, healthy, nutritional and sustainable way, transforming and making food products continuously available to populations regardless of their social level and place of residence, such is the challenge of food sovereignty. This poses several political, scientific and technical, logistical and economic challenges, but also the employability of young people who represent a significant part of the population. Indeed, in Africa south of the Sahara, around 70% of the population is under 30 years old. This young population is also the least integrated into the labor market, representing 60% of unemployed Africans. However, it is expected that 100 million young people will enter the job market by 2030. 

In Africa, agriculture employs 65% of the continent's population, so it represents strong potential for job creation. However, this agriculture to attract and install young people in income-generating agricultural professions must be accompanied by public policies that promote capacity building in agricultural and agri-food innovation in both the production and processing sectors. some products. It is therefore essential to build training programs in priority areas so as to update knowledge and practices and make young people who wish to invest in agricultural professions competitive.

In  this perspective, the national centers of specialization and regional centers of excellence, established within the framework of the Agricultural Productivity Program in West Africa (WAAPP), and which have been strengthened to improve their capacity for creation and dissemination of technologies at the national and regional levels, offer relevant training frameworks for young researchers and entrepreneurs in agricultural and agri-food research, production and processing techniques. It is within this framework that ECOWAS has granted subsidies to these centers for the implementation of the youth employability strategy in the agricultural and agri-food development sector.

In  Senegal, the Regional Center of Excellence (CRE) on dry cereals and associated crops is made up of several research and teaching institutions to take into account the needs of the value chain. This is the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA) which coordinates it through the Regional Study Center for the Improvement of Adaptation to Drought (CERAAS), the Institute of Food Technology ( ITA) and the National School of Agriculture (ENSA). Within ISRA, two centers are an integral part of the CRE; These are the Bureau of Macro-Economic Analysis (BAME) and the National Center for Agronomic Research (CNRA) in Bambey. Due to its institutional composition, the CRE brings together research and teaching skills in diverse fields including plant improvement; soil sciences, agri-food processing, breeding and animal feed, etc. Furthermore, the CRE relies on other ISRA laboratories such as the In Vitro Culture Research Unit (URCI) to broaden its field of activity to the in vitro vegetative multiplication of plants


Objective
The objective of this call for applications is to strengthen the capacities of 100 young professionals and/or project leaders in the agricultural and agri-food development sector on 4 themes. The training will take place over at least one week (5 working days) and will combine theoretical aspects and practical applications.

Themes and structures responsible for training

Theme 1. Training in zootechnics and animal nutrition

This theme will be under the responsibility of ENSA's animal production department and will be conducted at its Center for the Application of Livestock Techniques (CATE) located in Thi├Ęs. The department has carried out several training sessions for engineering students and fatteller groups. Furthermore, various popularization documents have been developed for the information of entrepreneurs (fattening, poultry farming, fodder cultivation, etc.). Theoretical and practical training will cover the following points

zootechnics and animal production systems including aspects related to general hygiene and disease prophylaxis:
technical-economic study of cattle and sheep fattening using local by-products) 
technico-economic study of semi-intensive poultry production 
technico-economic study of semi-intensive pig production
animal feed (possibility of valorizing the main agricultural and agro-industrial products and by-products by the different categories of domestic animals).

Theme 2. Production of plants in vitro

This theme will be under the responsibility of the In Vitro Culture Research Unit (URCI) in Dakar. This laboratory for research and production of in vitro plants has more than 30 years of experience in the vegetative propagation of several forest species and horticultural plants. The objective of this training will be to introduce learners to the interest and applications of in vitro culture techniques . They will be introduced to the multiplication/production of vitroplants free from all diseases, from different explants of plant species (pineapple, banana, potato, sweet potato and cassava)


Theoretical lessons will cover the following points:

general information on in vitro culture (definition, history, advantages and disadvantages of in vitro culture , applications);
in vitro plant multiplication techniques ( in vitro culture conditions , culture media, equipment used);
micro-propagation (culture of apical and axillary buds or micro-cuttings, culture of meristems, haplo-diploidization, somatic embryogenesis);
diagnosis and sanitation of infected plants;
Practical lessons will cover the following aspects.

  • equipment, good practices and rules to follow in the in vitro  culture laboratory ;
  • preparation of Murashige and Skoog (MS) culture medium;
  • disinfection of explants in aseptic condition;
  • handling in aseptic condition under a laminar flow hood;
  • in vitro cultivation of banana, cassava, pineapple, potato and sweet potato species;
  • greenhouse acclimatization of vitroplants

Theme 3. Biological soil fertilization and biofertilizer production techniques

This theme will be under the responsibility of the soil and plants laboratory of the National Center for Agronomic Research (CNRA) in Bambey. A few years ago, this laboratory built a model of a composting unit which accelerates the composting process while preserving its nutrients. The training will therefore be conducted at the interface between the soil laboratory and the Bambey composting unit. Theoretical lessons will cover the following points.

the structure and composition of soils;
the benefit of organic fertilization;
the theoretical basis of composting;
the amendment technique.
Practical lessons will focus on the following points:

soil pH analysis;
the production of bio-compost;
analysis of the quality of the compost produced.

Theme 4. Bread making using local cereals

This theme will be under the responsibility of the Institute of Food Technology (ITA) which has strong research and training potential in the processing processes of agricultural products in the broad sense as well as in the incubation and creation of businesses. As part of the PPAAO, the ITA has developed and disseminated bread-making processes on a national and regional scale using compound flours (wheat + local cereals + tubers + legumes) with or without the use of technological aids. The institute also recently acquired a sensory analysis laboratory, one of the first of its kind in West Africa and which will be used. Theoretical lessons will cover the following points:

the biochemical and technological bases of bread-making;
the quality criteria for baking flour;
the main obstacles to the incorporation of local cereal flours into bread-making processes and the levers available or being tested to circumvent these obstacles;
Practical lessons will cover the following points:

the production of baking flours based on local cereals, tubers and legumes and the level of incorporation into wheat flour;
the production of pastries based on local cereal flours, tubers and legumes;
Expected results

The capacities of 25 young professionals and/or project leaders, 30% of whom are women, are strengthened for each theme.

Training beneficiaries and eligibility criteria

The beneficiaries of this training are young people (students, professionals and/or project leaders) aged under 35. Candidates with activities or a professional project related to the chosen theme will be favored in order to promote self-employment

Candidate selection process

A selection jury composed of members of the CRE will be responsible for evaluating the application files to select the most relevant ones.

Application file and submission

The application file will consist of:

a handwritten request specifying the chosen theme;
a cover letter ;
a national identity document;
a resume ;
a copy of the latest diploma and/or proof of professional activity (card, certificate, etc.).


The complete file in pdf format must be sent to ceraas@isra.sn with a copy to amy.bodian@isra.sn with the subject “ECOWAS Training 2023_Choose theme ”.

The deadline for submitting application files is October 31, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

NB : Only selected candidates will be contacted


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