Following the launch of the 2nd phase of the Cowpea Atlas Project (October 2022-July 2023), aiming at developing a virtual platform on cowpea, a delegation from GBioS participated in the regional meeting organised in the premises of CERAAS in Senegal.
The objective of this meeting was to facilitate consultation between the implementing partners on the activities to be carried out. More specifically, the meeting aimed to define the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders, including the institutions in charge of agricultural statistics, which are the focal points in the implementation of the platform.
The main activities carried out during this regional meeting included: (i) the review of the activities conducted during phase 1, (ii) the drafting of the main activities for phase 2, (iii) a description of the project to be implemented for the development of the WACA (West African Cowpea Atlas) platform and the drafting of a project roadmap.
(i) Update on activities during Phase 1: During this phase a cowpea stakeholder panel was established with the objective of facilitating liaison between the sector stakeholders and the project implementation team. Furthermore, a mapping of existing data along the cowpea value chains was carried out in the target countries, which allowed the identification of data gaps that are essential for the development of the platform. It is important to note that the design of the platform will start with the stakeholders in the marketing chain, the most important economic chain. The other segments will be integrated (production, research, inputs, etc.) as the project evolves.
(ii) The main activities of phase 2. These are essentially the design of the WACA Platform (with a focus on the marketing sector) and the collection of data in order to fill in the missing data identified during the first phase of the project were presented. At this level, discussions focused on the model to be put in place to report data from the target countries to CERAAS, the involvement of the structures in charge of statistics and complementary activities such as the recruitment of a junior consultant per country to document the barriers to cowpea consumption and a senior consultant per country for the study on cowpea-based foods.
(iii) A description of the project to implement the WACA platform: At this level, the project to implement the platform was presented by the team of developers; this allowed participants to better understand certain technical terms. All of them agreed that it is urgent to carry out a preliminary survey to identify the preferences of traders, the target actors of the 2nd phase.
Overall, the meeting was a success. It allowed a first physical contact with all the executive teams of the Project. The necessary foundation for the implementation of this 2nd phase was laid and each team left with the various actions to be implemented and the responsibility of each team member. At the end of this activity, a work plan was drawn up which will be improved, shared and monitored over time to assess the level of achievement of the objectives.