The first edition of the "Journée du niébé, AÏZAN" will be held on December 4 in Cotonou (Benin), at the initiative of the ICOWPEA project (Participatory innovation for the development of cowpea products in Benin) which is supported by Agropolis fondation and the Cariplo and Daniel & Nina Carasso foundations.
At the centre of this event are the Cotonou cowpea processing craftswomen and the research work carried out in partnership by CIRAD, the University of Abomey Calavi (UAC), IRD and LARES. The activities carried out on the structuring and professionalization of craftswomen, the optimization of processing processes, the improvement of the nutritional quality of cowpea products and their adaptation to the expectations of Beninese consumers will be presented to the public and the authorities.
The researchers are collaborating and experimenting possible change scenarios with a group of about 40 craftswomen and 3 SMEs. The surveys carried out as part of the ICOWPEA project estimated that 2,692 craftswomen supply consumers with ata (donut) and abobo (stew), two of the main cowpea preparations marketed in Cotonou.
Thanks to the occasional support of the Agropolis Foundation, Mrs. Rita Ventura, President of the "Associação Nacional das Baianas de Acarajé" (ABAM) and Professor Alcides Caldas of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) will participate in the cowpea day. ABAM has nearly 4,500 craftswomen producing Acarajé, an emblematic street food product from the city of Salvador de Baia, which has been classified as an intangible cultural heritage in Brazil since 2005. This product, inherited from the Gulf of Benin, is also made from cowpea.
The Brazilian guests will then participate in meetings and workshops to exchange experiences with the craftsmen and researchers partners of the ICOWPEA project.
The aim of this event is to identify possible areas of collaboration and to encourage the co-construction of a new participatory research project involving Brazilian and Beninese researchers and craftswomen’s organizations from the outset.