From 8th to 12th September the Cotton University’s first training course was held at Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso. It was a success, bringing together 43 participants from 13 West and Central African cotton producing countries.
The course, led by teachers from the Université Polytechnique of Bobo Dioulasso and teachers from HEC focused on the strategy of a professional organisation and on its leadership. It will continue in January 2009. These training courses meet the requirements of AproCa ; they enable the leaders of cotton producing organisations to gain greater understanding of the market and to integrate technical innovations into the development strategy of their sectors – new ways of production and new products – both managerial and organisational.
Forty or so leaders and technicians of professional producer organisations from 13 cotton producing countries (French, English and Portuguese speaking) of West and Central Africa came to Bobo Dioulasso at the centre of the cotton growing area for this initial training course organised by the Cotton University from 8th to 12th September 2008.
The Minister of Professional training of Burkina Faso, Maxime Somé, opened this initial seminar at the Université Polytechnique (UPB) of Bobo Dioulasso. The Minister stated that at a time when agriculture is central to the concerns of the political leaders, the Cotton University is innovating by providing a new training approach to agricultural leaders and the North-South partnership. In addition, for the President of the UPB, Hamidou Boly, the Cotton University means that cotton producers are becoming part of the knowledge economy.
At the opening ceremony of this initial training course, Bernard Bachelier, the Director of FARM, declared “In this way, a dream has become reality. The day we dreamed of has finally arrived". This initiative will back up the ambition of the President of AProCA, François Traoré : “Henceforward the markets condition our income, the continuity of our cotton farms and businesses. It is part of our responsibility to take charge of the future of African cotton with the people concerned. Nobody else will do it for us...".
The 5-day course focused on the strategy of a professional organisation, leadership and man management. The participative learning approach encouraged exchanges of experience and an answer to the needs of African farmers. Personal commitments were made by each of the participants. These will be followed up.
The teaching team was made up of two teachers from HEC – the school of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP) and two teachers from the Rural Development Institute of Université Polytechnique of Bobo Dioulasso.
The aim is to equip the directors and managers of the cotton sectors with managerial skills so that they :
The directors and managers of the cotton sectors will be able to face up to the challenges of competitiveness on the international market, the promotion of cotton, reforms of the sub-sectors, access to production resources and the sustainability of the production systems.
The professional training is primarily aimed at the leaders of the professional organisations of the cotton sectors :
The elected representatives and paid managers of AProCA and national member bodies, i.e. around 200 people,
The elected representatives and paid staff of the regional and district unions i.e. around 600 people,
The leaders and managers of cotton companies and other economic players,
Managers of national administrations responsible for cotton issues…