The primary sector includes activities such as vegetable production, animal production, and fish farming. The primary sector’s activities are integrated and the byproducts of one field are valuable raw materials for another. Similarly, the plant and animal byproducts are valued for production of biogaz.
In the primary sector, Songhai is developing economically viable agricultural initiatives in order to:
1. Promote sustainable and competitive agriculture
2. Be an entrepreneur and engine of dynamics of socio-economic agriculture
3. Provide a framework for entrepreneurial training and research / experimentation
4. Make available to agricultural entrepreneurs plant extracts, and quality animal strains that are adapted to different agro-ecological realities
5. Initiate and ensure growth of secondary and tertiary sectors
6. Respect the environment by recycling by-products of any sector (integrated system of production).
At Songhai, the primary sector:
- Is considered the engine of rural growth
- Is the basis for the development of secondary and tertiary sectors
- Based on the concept of "total production zero waste"
- Considers nature as a primary resource that must be respected and valued
- Provides healthy food and also provides opportunities for generating energy from plant and animal by-products (biogas).
The primary sector is characterized by:
- A sustainable system of production that is inexpensive and respectful of the environment
- A variety of workshops for successful production based around the three basic components: crop production, animal production, fish farming
- Agricultural production of the biological type with maximum use of natural products processing and use of biological control to counter the proliferation of plant pests.
- Applied research in direct link with the production – with results available to all farmers.
- Testing and promoting agricultural technologies
- Capitalization of good agricultural practices.
Songhai is developing a sustainable agriculture. This environment-friendly agriculture is practiced at various locations in accordance with the major agro-ecological zones. It uses modern methods of farming with diversified production.
Crop production is based mainly around food crops, market vegetables and perennial crops. These are mainly corn, cassava, soybeans, rice, sorghum, yams etc.. For food, lettuce, carrots, peppers, okra, sweet corn and other vegetables for market gardening. Perennial crops are mainly fruit trees such as orange, guava, papaya, bananas, etc..
Livestock farming is practiced in all its diversity on all sites Songhai. Livestock production is divided into two broad categories. These are poultry (broilers, hens, turkeys, ducks, quail, geese, guinea fowl) and mammals (Agouti, cattle, snails, rabbits, goats and pigs). The species raised at Songhai are mainly fed basic forage and feed. The production of maggots and Daphnia supplement the feed for larvae and even adult fish.
Fish farming: Many kinds of fish farming is practiced on the sites. The fish are bred in tanks, floating cages and in ponds. This is especially present on the Parakou site, where 46 hectares of water are used for breeding fish in floating cages. Tilapia (nilotica and auria) and catfish (Clarias and hétérobronchus) are the species of fish bred. The aquaculture field is growing and now occupies a prominent place in development projects of the center. Research is also underway for the breeding of several other species.
Biogas: Songhai is developing a system to promote biogas production of methane from animal waste and plant waste.
The renewable energy initiatives at Songhai aim to:
1. Find alternatives to energy problems: "no rural growth, without energy solutions"
2. To show the importance of renewable energy as a factor of production
3. Supplement conventional energy in rural areas not served
4. Empowering energy production units / reduce costs
5. Place value in plant and animal products
6. Engaging students to develop renewable energy.
Renewable energy at Songhai is demonstrated by:
- Management and innovation in energy materials
- Adaptation of renewable energy into the integrated system of agricultural production
- Development of several types of renewable energy: biogas, solar
- Training and reinforcement of the skills of the youth
- Electrification of livestock buildings and accommodations
- The implementation of a water pumping system and irrigation.