Agro-processing and warehousing are key post harvest activities aimed at facilitating marketing of agricultural commodities and products. The unit plays a key role in value addition, safeguarding stocks and product distribution.
Processing function enables WASFO to add value to agricultural produce and produce WASFO branded products sold on the local and international markets. The unit operates processing facilities in Benin which include;
- Groundnut Cleaning and Grading Plant – This is a 2.5MT an hour groundnut cleaning and grading plant at Akpakpa, Benin. The plant has facilitated WASFO ’s growth in the Seed Supply Industry and is also important in managing the problem of aflatoxin in groundnuts.
- Soya Processing Plant - This is a 400kg an hour plant for the production of Textured Soy Protein, popularly known as Soya Meat.
- Rice Processing – The unit is in the process of installing a 3.5MT an hour Rice Polishing plant in Benin, this is expected to be operational by end of June 2012. The unit also operates a Rice Mill in Guinea Conakry jointly with AFRICARICE
- Groundnut shelling - the unit is involved in ongoing testing of various groundnut shelling technology to ease the burden on farmers in relation to groundnut shelling. It has been argued that challenges in groundnut shelling has led to practices such as wet shelling of nuts which contributes to aflatoxin problems in nuts, subsequently impacting negatively on trade in groundnuts and groundnut based products.
- The processing function enforces regular maintenance and service plans for all processing machinery to efficiently support the marketing effort.
- The unit also provides technical advice to Associations on value addition technologies, equipment installations as well as electrical and mechanical works, recruitment and training of technical personnel.
2. Warehousing Management
This function ensures that stocks are stored properly to minimize losses in both quantity and quality. The importance of proper storage structures and systems in agricultural marketing cannot be overemphasized; to this effect the unit oversees construction of warehouses and installation of ancillary equipment.
The warehousing function plays a vital role in maintaining accountability of stocks received and stored and implements stock control procedures including regular stock count exercises in liaison with the Audit and Financial Systems Unit. The unit provides warehousing services to various WASFO programs to aid logistics of service delivery to IPCs.