In March, cotton growers in Cameroon underwent intensive training to increase the production of sustainable cotton. This ’training the trainers' initiative from the global project ‘Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains’ of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, has been undertaken on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The Cameroon sessions were held from 21-26 March 2022 on the following topics, with ICAC Chief Scientist Dr Keshav Kranthi and Project Coordinator Dr Sandhya Kranthi creating training modules for each:
The Virtual Reality Cotton Training Programme, developed by the ICAC over three years with support from GIZ, was used for the first time to allow participants to ‘experience’ best practices; those participants will in turn spread their newfound expertise to other farmers throughout the country. The goals of the initiative were to enable the 100 representatives from SODECOTON/CNPCC and teacher-researchers from IRAD and the Polytechnic School of the University of Maroua to:
“From my point of view, the training itself was very relevant and responded exactly to the realities we face here’, said one of the participants, an extension agent named Mr Wabale Clément. ‘We had the opportunity to meet with cotton experts with whom the exchanges were very specific on topics that until now we really lacked expertise’.
Mr Wabale had never experienced virtual reality, with his only knowledge of the technology coming from his son. ‘He told me it's for games, so I was really excited to find out how something like this could be used to grow cotton’.
His excitement was well founded, with the only complaint being that the training wasn’t as long as he would have liked.
‘I will use this tool to better understand my cotton field because it is the most important thing. I will take more time to set up the technical itineraries to make sure that everything is under control in order to guarantee a good yield because my family will only benefit if at the end I manage to produce a lot of cotton’, Mr Wabale concluded.
‘Transposing this technique to our environment would be a significant technological advance’, said fellow trainee Mr Adam Gueime. ‘This tool will allow us to experience the realities of the field and will bring us closer to the producers through digital awareness’.
For more information on GIZ's 'Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains' (AgriChains) project, please click here. For a brief overview of the ICAC Virtual Reality Cotton Training Programme and the ‘Four Simple Steps to Sustainable Cotton’ project, click here.