“What gives the SICHEM market a special cachet is the quality of the products offered there. », Antoine Dzamah
Mr. Antoine Kodzo DZAMAH, Founder of the SICHEM market, PHOTO CREDIT AGRIDIGITALE
Since its launch last August, the 100% local agricultural products market has come alive every day except Sundays at the Sichem agricultural entrepreneurship training center of excellence in Dzogblakopé (about 30 km northeast of Lomé). The situation has changed, this market is now in full swing every weekend. To learn more about this new approach, vert-Togo met the promoter Mr. Antoine Kodzo DZAMAH. It was discussed with him the questions relating to the change of market animation schedules and the particularity of the said market. Exchange …
vert-Togo: Can you introduce yourself?
Antoine DZAMAH: I am Antoine Kodzo DZAMAH, President of two organizations promoting SICHEM SIME. They are: the SICHEM Group and the Association of Rural Development Groups (AGRO DR).
Vert-Togo: Why did you think of a market that opens every weekend in Sichem?
AD: In fact, since August 15, 2020 when it was launched, SICHEM SIME opens every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Until this weekend, this market mainly offered products from Sichem. We come to the market to sell or to buy. We wanted to increase the number of products and introduce SICHEM SIME to a greater number of consumers.
We have therefore set ourselves two main objectives. Firstly, it is to open this market to all those who share our vision of organic/natural production, including our young trained agricultural entrepreneurs who have come with their products. Secondly, it is to open the Sichem restaurant, a catering space which offers a menu essentially based on products from the SICHEM farm and our region to our compatriots.
Vert-Togo: What makes this market special?
AD: What gives the SICHEM market a special cachet is the quality of the products offered there. Natural, organic products. Sichem guarantees the products that are offered, because whoever wants does not come to sell in this market. Only those who have adopted environmentally friendly agro-ecological practices can come and sell their products. The theme we have chosen for the opening of the market to other products reflects the fundamental orientation given: “SICHEM SIME, a market for healthy and sustainable food”
This market wants to promote organic/natural products and encourage all producers who take this path. Because we have been training young people and farmers for several years to adopt agro-ecological practices, but their products are not purchased on other markets at their fair value. And consumers had no guarantee of product quality. Something had to be done to encourage each other. The promoters of SICHEM SIME want to gradually create a popular quality label.
Vert-Togo: Are the products accessible to the Togolese population?
AD: SICHEM SIME is first and foremost at the service of the Togolese population. The products are accessible to all budgets. We promote local products (vegetables, fruits, meats, locally processed products such as syrups, juices, liqueurs, herbal teas, jams, tomato and eggplant purees, etc.). We want to encourage our compatriots to consume seasonal products because this is part of the concept of sustainable food.
vert-Togo: Why does the market only open on weekends?
AD: As I said above, SICHEM SIME is open every day. But as you know each market has dedicated days for the influx of sellers and buyers. Weekends are peak days. SICHEM SIME offers the possibility of remote purchase and delivery. For the moment the city of Lomé is the only one concerned for deliveries.
Vert-Togo: Apart from the market, what other facilities does the Sichem center offer?
Firstly, Sichem is above all a rural development center, in particular the support of village communities and training in community management, the provision of reforestation plants in the villages and the production sectors: tomato, charcuterie, cassava, small ruminants and market gardening. .
Secondly, Sichem offers training and capacity building to young people and adults in the field of agricultural entrepreneurship; his farm school aims to be a place of inspiration for people wishing to undertake.
Third, Sichem offers a pleasant environment for work (seminars, workshops, recollections) and rest (retreats, entertainment.) in a natural environment. It is with this in mind that its brand new restaurant offers a simple but rich menu based on products from the farm and its main partners.
Fourthly, Sichem promotes eco-construction using sustainable local materials by offering stabilized earth constructions at a lower cost and training young people.
Finally, Sichem through its “Quality Education” sector, intervenes in the Promotion and enhancement of local cultural heritage, the civic education of young people, and education in sustainable food.
Interview by Hector Nammangue.