Songhai Farm Center

Songhai logo


AN Integrated Green Rural City


                                          Project document

 Songahi cover pixof Contents

 I. THE SONGHAI CORPORATE BRAND                                                        More Songhai Farm Photos























This program is designed as a catalyst for a broader, multi-partnership program to promote access of youth, men and women, to appropriate agribusiness entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills required for their effective participation in the creation of wealth and investments in commercially viable agribusiness enterprises in designated West African states.


The specific objectives of the project are:

  • Songhai Uturu develops human, technical, infrastructural and organizational capacity to improve and scale-up production and  the provision of goods and services in Uturu and other satellites in West Africa on a sustainable basis;
  • Improved effective advocacy and knowledge sharing on small scale agribusiness and related SMI/SME.





All local community members especially the youth and women









July 2013


Phase 1: Development of infra-structures and Production:2 years in Uturu

Phase 2: Development of satellites : 3year


Target Group: Rural youth, men and women, and all local communities in participating countries.


Benefits: Poverty reduction and economic growth through sustainable agribusinesses, rural youth empowerment; reversing unemployment in the rural areas and increasing economic growth (thus decreasing Rural exodus).



The execution and implementation of program activities will be under the overall supervision of Songhai Regional Centre (SRC).


The organizational structure for the implementation of the Program is outlined as:

 1. A Program Technical Committee (PTC)

A Program Technical Committee (PTC) will be instituted to drive the technical aspects of the Program. The PTC will direct and provide overall strategic direction for the program technical activities. It will set technical standards and targets and advice the Program Management Team (PMT) on the technical direction for the program, review, advice/or approve technical components of annual work program. The PTC shall provide an open forum for professional discussions in support of promoting youth engagement in agribusiness. It will also monitor technical outputs and services of the program. Songhai Regional Center is the convener of the PTC. The PTC shall meet three times a year and will make recommendations to the Director of Songhai Regional Center,on major technical issues relating to program implementation and impact. The PTC is composed of two representatives of SRC and two representatives from Gregory University, Uturu.

2. A Program Management Team (PMT)

The PMT has be a full-time Program Manager. The Program Management Team (PMT) staffed by members with the necessary skills, experiences and Songhai history to assist in the implementation of the Program. The PMT under the supervision and guidance of SRC Director manages and implement the program.

The PMT will insure technical coherence and consistency, while allowing flexibility within the established objectives and adaptability as the program is implemented.  The PMT, co-ordinates and supervises the program implementation and is accountable for the implementation operations.

The Program Manager, will be reporting to the Steering committee composed of the Songhai Regional Director, The Chancellor of GUU, the Vice Chancellor of GUU and 4 representatives of the satellites. He/She will coordinate, guide and monitor the day-to-day project implementation and insure

a)   that annual work program and budget (AWPB) are prepared and submitted to the Steering committee for review and approval;

b)   that activities in the annual program of work are satisfactorily completed and the expected outputs are achieved;

c)   that consolidated technical and financial reports are submitted according to procedures;

 d) that all partner institutions are informed about the program, exchanging knowledge generated, and are learning from their experiences on how to readjust and to achieve desired results, outputs and impacts.

It is expected that additional expertise will be required during implementation of the program.


Songhai: an innovative Institution

The Songhai Integrated system of development is quite a unique one. It is not just the usual training, technology transfer or production model. This innovative institution has four components:

1)    It is a technology park where new ideas and techniques are developed and contextualized.

2)    It is an Industrial park/production center where the techniques and ideas are turned into enterprises and many different types of production activities.

3)    It is an incubation/training/human resource development center. Here no 1 (Technology park) and no 2 (Industrial park) become an effective “space” to incubate new competences. We call them the components of the incubation “space”. Songhai is a mother firm/farm, an extension space that produces functional individuals. The Songhai graduates are brought into a logic of production because Songhai is a production, a research and service center. The teacher/animators/managers are first of all producers and not talkers. The teachers are bare foot researchers who are continually searching for new ideas and techniques to improve their productivity and efficiency. The teachers are entrepreneurs.

 4)    Songhai is a service center. The game is not over after the initial formation period. Services like marketing, input procurement, networking, financial/loan and advisory services are provided to enable the young entrepreneurs to stand on their own.

     The program will take advantage of Songhai’s know-how, and expertise including its multipartnership developed through the years with various well known institutions like UN agencies (UNDP,IFAD,FAO,UNIDO and ILO), Top Universities, ECOWAS, NEPAD, CORAF, CGIAR,(Africa Rice, IRRI, IITA, ICRISAT), SS-GATE, EASTWEST SEEDS, BIO-ORGANICS, KOPPERT, AFRICARE etc.

Songhai Uturu Center will be driven from the following leverage/value points:

First driver: A multifunctional Agriculture that is sustainable, viable and competitive.

Agriculture could become a weapon of Mass construction

 The program will be a trigger element in an integrated development environment to:

 1.  Provide food in sufficient quantity to a population that is increasingly demanding in term of quality and diversity – Production that delivers sufficient quantities of safe whole-some food items that assist in disease prevention, healthy living and healthy aging.

2.  Provide competitive inputs/raw materials for the Agro-Industry

3.  Provide feed stock for renewable energy supply – This Agriculture must be designed to become an energy source instead of an energy sink

4.  Provide new environmental products and services- carbon sequestration, Agro-Forestry, Biodiversity, native seeds and germ plasma, medical plants etc.

5.  Help to provide jobs and environmentally sound habitats – Green Rural Cities- A new Millennium settlement model.

This new agriculture approach could become a weapon of mass construction and the development of a broad based and inclusive socio-economic growth that will effectively fight poverty and bring prosperity to many people.

Second driver: Sustainable and leapfrogging Technologies:

1.  Given the high level of productivity required to kick start the process, technologies that only guarantee incremental growth will not be enough. Leapfrogging and sustainable technologies will be deployed.

2.  Technological development therefore will have a major role to play in the Songhai Uturu Initiative.

3.  The techniques and processes developed will help to create products and services that hold the potential to increase productivity, insure nutritional quality and eliminate waste and pollution in a dramatic way.

4.  The concept of sustainable development implies that we can increase our productivity while protecting and enhancing our environment.

5.  These technologies would enable our Agriculture to produce more with less. This is only possible within an integrated system of production where the principles of synergy, complimentarity, supplimentarity and negative entropy are in play.

6.  It must be noted that this agriculture will no longer be primarily a chemical process like the conventional Agriculture, but largely a biological process- where the environmental and biological capital of the site nj would be fully engaged and harnessed.

We have therefore to relearn the way we practice agriculture.  From the way we view the soil and its fertility, through the way we maintain, nourish and protect our plants and animals to the way we condition and market them. This is what is called in Songhai leapfrogging technology development including among others: techniques for renewable energy generation, soil regeneration, high genetic inputs (seeds), Integrated pest management, Efficient Agro-Industry techniques etc. The following table shows few examples of what these technologies developed by Songhai will bring to the market.





Vegetables /Market garden

Tomato (Open field)

<8 to 10 tons/ha/year

35 to 50 tons/ha/2 times/year


(in greenhouse)

No information

400 tons/ha/year


<3 to 5 tons/ha/year

10 to 12 tons/ha/year


<4 to 6 tons/ha/2 times/year

25 to 40 tons/ha/3times/year


<10 to 15 tons/ha /year

40 to 55 tons/ha/2 times/year


<4 to 7 tons/ha/year

12 to 15 tons/ha/year

Water melon

<15 to 20 tons/ha/year

30 to 40 tons/ha/year


<2.5 to 5 tons/ha/year

10 to 12 tons/ha/year


<5 to 10 tons/ha/year

45 to 60 tons/ha/3 times/year


<6 to 10 tons/ha/2 times/year

25 to 30 tons/ha/3 times/year

Bitter leaf

<12 to 15 tons/ha/year

50 to 60 tons/ha/2 times/year


<10 to 25 tons/ha/2 times/year

75 to 85 tons/ha/3 times/year

Garden egg

<10 to 15 tons/ha/year

30 to 40 tons/ha/year


<0.8 to 1.2 tons/ha/year

6 to 10 tons/ha/2 times/year



<2.5 Kg/m3/year

40 kg/m3/year





No information


Tree crops

Oil palm

2 to 3 tons/ha/year

5 to 15 tons/ha/year


1 to 2 tons/ha/year

3 to 5 tons/ha/year

Citrus plant


5 to 15 tons/ha/year

20 to 30 tons/ha/year


4 to 8 tons/ha/year

10 to 15 tons/ha/year


2 to 3 tons/ha/year

6 to 10 tons/ha/year


1.5 to 2.5 tons/ha/year

8 to 15 tons/ha/year


25 to 35 tons/ha/1 year and half

50 to 60 tons/ha/ 1 year and half

Plantain /banana

10 to 15 tons/ha/year

20 to 40 tons/ha/year


5 to 15 tons/ha/year

20 to 30 tons/ha/year

Root /tuber


3 to 15 tons/ha/year

50 to 65 tons/ha/year


3 to10 tons/ha/year

30 to 35 tons/ha/year


5 to 10 tons/ha/year

15 to 30 tons/ha/year


0.1 to 0.5 ton/ha/year

1 to 5 tons/ha/year


2 to 3 tons/ha/year

5 to 10 tons/ha/year


1.5 to 2 tons/ha/year

4 to 8 tons/ha/year


8 to 15 tons/ha/year

40 to 50 tons/ha/year

Cereal /cash crop


< 0.5 to 1 ton/ha/year

2 to 5 tons/ha/year


< 0.6 to 0.8 ton/ha/year

1 to 2 tons/ha/year

Soya bean

< 0.5 to1 ton/ha/year

B 2 to 3 tons/ha/year


< 0.5 to 1 ton/ha/year

1.5 to 3 tons/ha/year


<0.3 to 0.8 ton/ha/year

8 to 12 tons/ha/2 times/year



Third driver: Appropriate Human Resource

Integrated Rural development is a “cross function” or cross cutting dynamics. It is far from being sectorial. Projects or programs like this would therefore depend to a large extent on the quality, character and set up of the organization/group responsible for its implementation. Songhai will build a human resource base that will be able to cope with the dynamics of implementation. This is one of the major challenges in integrated rural development. The absence of this “core” competence could adversely impact, not just the implementation but the outcomes of the program.

It is only when the core competence has the authority, capacity and the ability to implement “cross-cutting and integrated” activities that rural integrated development programs become realistic.

Also, the program when completed will serve as a service center that will ensure new genetic inputs (seeds) and advisory and marketing services to entrepreneurs in the region.

 Forth driver: Social/cultural/organizational capital development

  Since agriculture is presently carried out by a multitude of subsistent, largely unorganized small holders and various actors, their willingness and ability to participate in any program of change is a crucial factor.

     Rural Development is, in effect, a complete transformation of the whole institutional structure of the rural society.

   The program must therefore be designed to mobilize, upgrade and empower the medium and small scale farmers (especially youth and women) and other indigenous actors for attaining the goals of Broad-based and Inclusive rural growth.

Other Drivers: 

5th- Development of innovative sources of financing

6th-Infrastructural development (Roads and communication) and access to Energy – especially modular decentralized and renewable sources.

The program will provide an additional workforce by employing more than 200 permanent workers.



One of the major objectives of this program is to revitalize entrepreneurship (creativity, service, effort and hard work) as the basic structure of modern economy – Here the enterprise becomes the focal point where resources are oriented for the creation of wealth. There will be an inbuilt vitality, thanks to the fact that the economy will be animated, driven and facilitated by competent people (empowered by the program)– the “native competences” or “core socio-economic leaders”– that are capable of harnessing the new opportunity sets (profitable enterprises and enabling environment developed by the program), acquiring and running the economic entities developed.

 The program is a hybrid initiative:

 1) The Developmental phase:   

In the developmental phase, steps will be taken to develop a critical human resource base, enabling environment and techniques that favor a higher rate of production of sustainable products and services with little environmental/carbon foot-prints –The building of the capacity for efficient and competitive productivity envisioned in the first phase using the Songhai Integrated Production System and management will be key to our success in the second phase.

2) Market driven or Private sector phase.

It is anticipated that the center will be able to move towards sustainability in the last two years of the program, with constant revenue streams coming from sales of products and services.

The return for investment will be primarily financial. To insure sustainability, the site will therefore be set up to reflect these axes of development: 

-          Songhai model as an Industrial park will be fully established and would consist of well set up production units and profit centers.

-          The production units /profit centers will be audited to determine their worth. – Beyond this point, the Songhai Uturu Initiative will become primarily a production and Service center for backstopping (management, technology etc) other Songhai satellites, enterprises, private and public initiatives. It should be a self supporting entity modeled after the Songhai Regional center- a private developmental organization. It will be responsible for organizing and coordinating the enterprises within the industrial parks and Green Rural Cities to insure synergy and coherence.


The implementation stages of core activities of program are:

 a) Start up stage: (2 years)

For the Main Hub (Uturu) and the other satellites, the first year would be the set-up/inception period for the establishment of the program Management Team (PMT).

          Recruitment of core competency group for the PMT

          Acquisition of core facilities and equipment

          Start the Baseline activities on the main hub and learning curve along commodity chains

          and validation of annual work plan.

b) Operational stage: (2 years)

          Set-up of production and management- Technology and Industrial parks

          Set-up of Agro-Service department and the development of business start-up kit

At the end of this stage this initiative would have become a model of sustainable integrated farm settlement – Green Rural Cities that will create a socio-economic spread effect in Nigeria.



 Developmental and entrepreneurial capacity building

  1.   Technology Park for Applied research: Research for Development. (see Technical Value Propositions)

        Soil improvement facilities and activities

       Crop and genetic improvement facilities and activities

       Post Harvest Research technology research facilities and activities.

       Renewable Energy Research facilities and activities (biogas, solar energy)

 Production departments/Industrial Park

 Primary Production

A.i) Crop production/Market Garden

A.ii) Crop production/ Staple crops

             Rice, Soybean, corn, yam etc

A.iii) Agroforestry and orchards


B.i) Grasscutters, cows, pigs, goats, sheep etc

B. ii) Poultry: Layers, broilers, water birds (ducks, geese), turkey and guinea-fowls, quails, improved species of poultry. This includes intensive and free range poultry production.

 C. i) Aquaculture:

  • Production in concrete, earthen ponds and floating cages- Tilapia, Songhai Tilapia, Cat fish, Silver Carp, Big Head Carp and Common Carp.
  • Artificial insemination
  • Nutrition- Feed production


 Secondary Production:

Ai) Agro-food processing:

  • Meat and fish smoking, pastry, drinks (juice, syrup), production of soybean milk, yoghurt etc.), Cassava and Rice processing etc.
  • Machines Fabrication for Pre and Post Harvest activities

 Aii) Agro-Cottage industry:

  • oils, soaps, creams etc

 Tertiary Sector: Services (hospitality, marketing etc)

  1. Hostel facilities
  2. Accommodation facilities for staff.
  3. Lecture Halls and canteen.
  4. Income generating guest houses with accommodation
  5. Roads, Drainage, Electricity and Water Distribution Systems.
  6. Administrative Block with office.
  7. Supermarket for marketing products.
  8. Restaurant
  9. A well equipped and furnished Conference Centre

 Songhai Regional Centre is not a contractor but strictly a development organization, grounded in a unique value proposition. This value proposition (specified in the corporate brand document in the annex) sets Songhaï apart from other organizations, laying a foundation to create a new model for rural economic development in Africa — the “Green Rural City.” 

The Green Rural City model is more than just an infrastructure project, it’s a method of creating sustainable holistic rural growth by creatively harnessing locally available resources, and thus solving the seemingly intractable problem of poverty, unemployment and rural exodus.  In short, Songhai’s value proposition aims to develop a cultural transformation.

Vision alone won’t accomplish a cultural and economic change such as this.  To make this possible Songhaï combines its vision with over 25 years of technical experience.  This specific combination of vision and technical skills, with a proven track record, makes Songhaï uniquely capable of affecting broad-based rural socio-economic change.

All funds received are entirely used to run programs and project assigned to it. This is why Songhai charges a corporate fee running from 15% to 20% depending on the difficulties involved. The corporate fee is used to build and maintain its capacities in its areas of intervention.







I-The Songhai corporate brand

 songai pix

Songhai Regional Initiative:

Its Corporate Image and capacity to deliver the MDGs

After more than twenty years of existence, the Songhai center was recognized as an indigenous initiative that can be harnessed and appropriated by governments and development institutions for the achievement of the Millennium development goals. The Songhai center has demonstrated that its integrated development model can effectively be deployed to face the triple challenge of Poverty, difficult demographic transition and environmental degradation in the developing countries today.

In 2005, UNDP rallied four other UN agencies (IFAD, UNIDO, FAO and ILO) to form a coalition/multi-partnership initiative around Songhai to scale it up by enabling it to develop its technical and organizational capacities (UPSCALING) and eventually incorporate its dynamics in their development programs in the African region (OUTSCALING).

The Songhai Regional Center of Excellence was born. An agreement was signed on the 16th of May 2008 by Songhai, five UN agencies and some African countries.

Two major studies were conducted (by UNDP and UNIDO) to evaluate Songhai capacity and recommend areas of reinforcement and upgrading/upscaling. Subsequently, agreements were reached with major technical institutions and development organizations to help Songhai in upscaling and upgrading it capacities in terms of:

a)    Manpower development,

b)    Financial Management and Procurement

c)    Technical competence in Primary, Secondary and tertiary production

d)    Organizational competence

e)    Training and outreach capacities for entrepreneurship development.

Today Songhai has become a strong development institution and its expertise is being sort out by many public and private entities in Africa and beyond.

Songhai has built a strong corporate brand that is now set to create a spread affects in the region. (It is already engaged in, training, backstopping and strengthening many IFAD and UNIDO programs in West Africa). Besides creating more effectiveness and concrete results, these programs will be more cost effective and more sustainable because they are not only aligned with the Songhai management and technical culture, but the accountability and transparency requirement of the UN agencies are inbuilt, controlled and insured by the Songhai management.).

Songhai was privileged to receive the UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2010. In his address at the UN general Assembly on the 20th of September 2010, he had this to say about his African visit.

 “Despite the obstacles, despite skepticism, despite the fast-approaching deadline of 2015, the millennium Development Goals are achievable. This year I visited nearly a dozen countries in Africa and I saw for myself what is possible. At the millennium village in Malawi… at the Songhai community in Benin… I saw innovation…integrated project… perseverance

We must reward such faith with resolve of our own. By using the tools we have. By delivering the resources we need. Above all, by exercising political leadership. I urge you to make the MDGs your own.”

The Songhai Corporate Brand provides Songhai affiliates/partners with regular access to the key elements that make up the Songhai Integrative Approach which addresses the fundamental issues of global development as noted below.

In carrying the Songhai name, Songhai affiliates/partners will have access to the Songhai Corporate Brand which includes, but is not limited to:

·         The Songhai name; its technology, industrial park, training, and research; its development strategy for organization, management and services such as product marketing, procurement, financial-loan; and its leadership and advisory services.

A full description of the Songhai model under the Songhai Corporate Brand follows below:

What is Songhai?

·          Songhai is a new and innovative development organization with an integrative approach designed to radically tackle the triple challenge (Agriculture/Food Security, Demographic (particularly Youth), Environmental, and Energy) that African countries are facing today in their struggle to achieve sustainable economic rural growth and development (MDGs): Songhai believes that poverty will only be eradicated when we embark on sustainable, broad-based and inclusive development initiatives.

·         Songhai functions as a catalyst for a multi-partnership initiative that includes Governments, development organizations, communities and individuals in promoting the access of youth, men and women, to appropriate agribusiness entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills required for their effective participation in the creation of wealth.

 How does Songhai operate?

·         Songhai is an integrated development system, it is a unique one. It is not just the usual training, technology transfer or production model. It is an innovative institution that has four components:

1)    Technology Park where new ideas and techniques are conceived developed and contextualized.

2)    industrial park/production center where the techniques and ideas are turned into enterprises and many different types of production activities

3) Incubation/Training/Human Resource Development Center. Songhai is a mother firm/farm, it is an effective “space” where new competences are developed. Here it uses the technology and industrial parks to produce functional individuals.

4) Service Center where services like marketing, input procurement, hospitality services, networking, financial/loan and advisory services are provided to enable the young entrepreneurs to stand on their own.

 The drivers of Songhai brand

The Songhai model of sustainable development is driven from the following leverage points:

      Environment: Efficient use and protection of the environment – to produce more with less: Songhai model of integrated agriculture introduces a new agricultural system that is largely a biological process where the environmental and biological capitals are fully engaged and harnessed. This production approach is called ZERI – Zero Emissions Research initiative. It is also designed to thrive on synergy complementarity and cooperation.

        Sustainable and leapfrogging technologies: in the Songhai model the techniques and processes developed help to create products and services that hold the potential to increase productivity, ensure nutritional quality and eliminate waste and pollution in a dramatic way.

         Songhai interventions or programs can therefore take advantage of Songhai’s technological know-how, and expertise including its multi-partnership developed through the years with various well known institutions like UN agencies (UNDP,IFAD,FAO,UNIDO and ILO), Top Universities, ECOWAS, NEPAD, CORAF, CGIAR,(Africa Rice, IRRI, IITA, ICRISAT), SS-GATE, EASTWEST SEEDS, BIO-ORGANICS, KOPPERT, etc

    Human resource: Development initiatives can work only when the leaders or implementers are built into a core of individuals with the competence and the authority to implement “cross-cutting and integrated” programs.

That is why the foundation of Songhai is its core value – (Knowledge – Skill – Value system). That is, culture of discipline, solidarity, integrity and strong work ethics.

The core product of Songhai is therefore the human resource/entrepreneur transformed through the mentor-mentee approach to become creative and functional. The teachers/animators/managers are first of all producers and not talkers. The teachers are bare foot researchers who are continually searching for new ideas and techniques to improve their productivity and efficiency. The teachers are entrepreneurs. These values and other innovative and creative capacities are transferred and inculcated in our projects.

      Organizational and leadership structure: Songhai has developed a leadership and organizational structure that generate a Culture of entrepreneurship based on the managers’ capacity to harness the resources available (technology, human resource, financial resource) and opportunity sets (market) to create wealth. In this process, the manager is subjected to a Result Oriented Management and Accountability. There is an inbuilt zero tolerance for corruption and wastage.

Songhai brings into play a dynamic organizational and management model that corresponds to the reality of Rural Growth:

Integrated development planning is not static and cannot consist only of the single act of determining a development plan or program for a certain number of years. It is a dynamic process closely interwoven with implementation.

This is the feedback mechanism which is a basic ingredient of the concept of integrated planning / programming. It is the tool for assessing the critical factors and thereby modifying the original plan/program while retaining the initial objectives. This organizational dynamics is essential in Songhai philosophy and brand.

 Value proposition

·         Apart from taking advantage of the Songhai technical know-how, Songhai model promotes a drive for an inclusive and broad based socio-economic settlement initiative.

-    This settlement model, the “Green Rural City” is an important element in the Songhai brand. It is a socio – economic settlement model that is designed to tackle rural to urban migration as it renders rural communities socio-economically viable by creatively harnessing locally available resources and opportunity sets to develop primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy in rural areas.

-      This will result in a drastic reduction of rural exodus and menace of “slumization” in urban areas, reduction of the drift towards crime, and militancy among the youth as a result of an in-built rural growth that would be brought about by the appropriation of the local culture, indigenous techniques and the Songhai system.

-      Thus lowering the unemployment rate by diversifying income generating activities/jobs creation,

-      Reducing financial dependency on the governments by  local communities and individuals,

-     The host communities, beneficiaries and neighboring rural communities would be impacted and helped to utilize appropriate improved agricultural production techniques and related services that would improve their livelihood.

  • Value for Investors and Development Partners include the following.

 a)    Corporate Social Responsibility and values from Stakeholder/Development organizations like the UN Agencies will be better served in the Songhai Initiative umbrella and Brand.

b)    The developmental mandates of agricultural institutions and Songhai Regional Center will find easier expressions in the management and leverage.

 In other words, higher efficiency and synergy will be achieved in the pooling of their resources together in a multi-partnership around an integrated development program backstopped by Songhai.

 Process of appropriating the Songhai brand

  •  ·    The adoption/replication of the Songhai brand must first and foremost be demand driven.
  • ·         Induction/training of the implementers (core group or program management unit) to imbibe Songhai philosophy and principles.
  • ·         Alignment of the principal stakeholders, decision makers, financial partners and other partners to the Songhai culture and value system.
  • ·         Formalization of backstopping in technical and institutional governance capacities by Songhai for a specified period of time to ensure the establishment and appropriation of the Songhai brand.
  • ·         Participation in the Songhai network for upgrading and appropriation of future developments in technology, new products, services and other competitive advantages within the corporate body.

Songhai is not a contractor. It is strictly a development organization. All funds received are entirely used to run programs and project assigned to it. This is why Songhai charges a corporate fee running from 15% to 20% depending on the difficulties involved. The corporate fee is used to build and maintain its capacities in its areas of intervention.



The Songhai Centre has procurement procedures in place for goods, services and human resources, which have been adapted from the guidelines of USAID and the UN systems. The procedures apply to all contracts for goods, works and services in all procurement categories.


Songhai Centre’s financial controls have been based on the international General accounting standards. Procedures summarized in the following documents:

  • Financial procedures, 2011
  • Procurement procedures, 2011


Accounting specifications are detailed in the document Financial Procedures 2011. This provides guidelines for Songhai Centre in preparing financial statements. The accounting system conforms to SYSCOA (UEMOA) standards.

  • These Procedures are in line with the UN system.


Songhai Centre’s Finance Department is responsible for preparing financial statements, related notes and all other information presented in the financial reports. The Centre maintains an internal control system over financial reporting and accounting designed to provide reasonable assurance to the Board that the assets are safeguarded, and that financial transactions are valid and properly recorded.


III-The Songhai Centre model

Created in 1985 by Reverend Father Godfrey Nzamujo, the Songhai Regional Centre of Excellence, headquartered in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin is an incubation centre of socioeconomic entrepreneurs. The centre operates on the principles of value chain.  The Centre believes that the only way to effectively fight poverty in Africa is to engage in agriculture and transform Africans into efficient producers of social, environmental, spiritual and economic wealth. The centre is designed to enable smallholder farmers start agribusiness by taking full advantage of their natural resources and rich environmental endowments. It operates on creativity within the framework of low-input, high output technology. The centre is an incubation institution for human resource and technological development, knowledge sharing platform for all stakeholders in agricultural development, and a mother enterprise development. The centre is divided into 3 main sections:

a.    Primary section: production of various produce (crops, livestock, fisheries) using best practices.

b.    Secondary section: processing of the farm produce to finished products using various farm processing machines fabricated in the centre.

c.    Tertiary section: marketing of products transformed in various forms according to market demand or end users (consumers) preference.

It has five (5) science/technology and business-driven components, namely: crops, agro-forestry, livestock, fishery and service centers (fabrication and mechanical workshop, tele-centre, administration, service unite) running on a forward and backward integration model. The model operates on the principles of synergy, integration and complementarity where the three critical processes (production, processing and marketing) are firmly linked together with intermediaries services that generate jobs. The chains reinforce one another to deliver various products in the most efficient manner as explained in the model above.  It operates on the basis of low-input, high-output technology to confer efficiency in the operations. Produce more with less.

The forward and backward integration process serves two main purposes, namely, to: (a) provide feed stock to livestock and fish from farm by-products and wastes; (b) clean the environment sustainably through recycling of waste products from various sections and activities to either generate energy (biogas) or replenish the soil through composting/manure or agro-forestry; and (c) provide jobs for women and youth. It uses the concept of bio-mimicry to create environmentally sustainable production system. The process confers cost-effectiveness in the production process along the tropical levels

One of the most important observation that interests donors and government is the uniqueness of the model in job creation.  Over 500 employees work at the centre. It has a well developed tele-centre for communication and market information system. It is presently disseminating market information to farmer groups in Benin Republic in collaboration with some telecommunication firms. The platform sends the market information on regular basis through cell phone text messages. The mechanical workshop unit provides the necessary support in fabrication of prototype and simple machines for production and processing activities.

Specific activities:

  1. Vegetable garden enterprises: Comprises production of various high value vegetable crops (lettuce, garbage, other leaf vegetables, tomatoes, carrot, pepper, garden egg, etc) on sprinkler irrigation.
  2. Tree crops: oil palm, cocoa nut, oranges, Moringa (Zogala), etc. Moringa is used extensively for health maintenance and fattening because of its high protein and mineral content.
  3. Nurseries for improved Oil Palm varieties: the oil palm starts fruiting in less than 3 years
  4. Fish farming: various Cat and Tilapia, (common, Silver and Big Head  Carp production methods including fingerlings production and sales. It has a fish hatchery section for mass production of fingerlings.
  5. Grass cutter and rabbit farming: Highly lucrative business in the centre and attracts a lot of patronage or demand.
  6. Cash crops: rice, cassava, maize, yam, soya bean, sorghum, etc
  7. Poultry, and various bird: broilers, layers, chicken, duck, quills, turkey, etc
  8. Mechanical section: It fabricates, converts or transforms used and abandoned metal wares into various agricultural machines/tool such as peletting machines for fish meal, palm oil extractor, various machines for various uses, etc.
  9. Bio-gas and Gasifier technologies: The centre runs a safe waste recycling program for clean and high quality environment. It converts all human, animal and plant wastes from various activities in the centre to organic manure and generates bio-gas and producer gas in the process.
  10.  Processing centers: for high quality rice and various fruit drinks. The centre runs small and medium rice processing operations.

The technologies for the above enterprises are very simple to adopt by smallholder farmers with commitment on the part of the programs and assistance of the Songhai management.


The Songhai Model

(showing the interlink between one section and another)                              

ASongai model    






 Production Units




Farm implements




Rice Mill Unit




Refilling and Filling Lines for Juice, Tomato, Water, Jam, Syrup, Soya Milk Production.




Plastic Recycling and Production of Bottles, Buckets e.t.c


Electricity Generation with BIOMASS