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Minkala, Jean-Claude. 2006. Changing tack. Spore 121. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/48010
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In 2007, Jean-Claude Minkala will be retiring, but he has no intention of remaining inactive for long. With the help of Spore, this health assistant from the University Hospital in Brazzaville is planning to become an agro-pastoral farmer...
Jean-Claude Minkala, prospective pensioner In 2007, Jean-Claude Minkala will be retiring, but he has no intention of remaining inactive for long. With the help of Spore, this health assistant from the University Hospital in Brazzaville is planning to become an agro-pastoral farmer . In his late fifties, Mr Minkala explains the reasons for his decision to change profession. I always said that when I retired I would not do a job that involved looking after people. The ancillary staff who work in the public surgeries don t have a very good reputation. And I wouldn t want to be mixed up with that lot. Information and life can take some strange twists and turns. One day in the mid 1990s one of his brothers just back from Cuba talked at length about an agricultural magazine published in the Netherlands, and advised him to write and ask if he could receive it. He was quick to follow this piece of advice, which, as things turned out, opened up new horizons for him. By reading Spore, Mr Minkala gradually learned how to breed pigs, fish, chickens, etc. The magazine also helped me to start growing fruit trees orange, mango and safou It was at Mindouli, a place 180 km south of Brazzaville, that he decided to base his agricultural activities, with his father on the spot to supervise. Then the war of 1997 wiped out all his plans. His father was killed, his livestock were slaughtered and his crops were devastated. Everything would have to be rebuilt from scratch. But Mr Minkala never stopped reading Spore. An open-minded person, he was looking for any experiences or solutions which might help his own situation. Faced with a local conflict over the management of pastureland, he found the address for the director of the development project, Programme Sahel Burkinabé, who sent him a document about a joint management initiative between herders and farmer-herders from Kishi Beiga, in the north of Burkina Faso (Spore 85). At Mindouli, we had the same problem , he explained. When an ox strayed from its pastureland to go and graze in someone else s field, the owner had to pay FCFA5 million ( 7,622). That s impossible! It poisoned relations between farmers. I used the experience from Burkina Faso, putting the idea before local communities. And we have managed to resolve the conflict. When a fragile peace returned to The Republic of the Congo in 2003, Jean-Claude Minkala relaunched his activities, with his retirement in mind. He would love to visit other countries such as Burkina Faso to learn some of the recipes developed by NGOs and presented in Spore. For example, I would like to go and see how you make mango liqueur and bread from cassava flour....
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