I traveled to Cotonou, Benin Republic, in March, 2016 where I was invited by The Hunger Project(THP) to train the staff on How to Process Moringa oil from seeds using the Manual Oil press.
Benin Republic is
a West African country sharing borders with Nigeria. Cotonou is the capital of Benin republic. The biggest car market is in Cotonou as shown in this video I shot while in Cotonou for the trip. This is the second time I would be travelling to Cotonou. The first time though, I was travelling to Ghana and stopped over in Cotonou just to relax a little before proceeding to Accra, Ghana.

The Hunger Project, a Non- Profit has the vision to see a  world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity. Her mission is to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world. 

In 2014, THP Benin carried out a nutritional training on Moringa as captured on their website Moringa in Benin: Super Food Nutrition and Income Generating Production. So my training was going to complement what they already know as it borders on Moringa oil processing, which training they had not done before. So my training was going to expand their Moringa scope as an additional stream of Moringa income and empowerment.

So I left Makurdi, Benue State on March 16, 2016  for Cotonou. I stopped over in Lagos and passed the night there since it was already late. Makurdi to Lagos is about 12 hours by road. The following day, I took off very early and boarded a taxi to the border where Mr. Francis, the Beninese Taxi Driver who was sent to pick me was already waiting. 

When we got to the boarder, we noticed people walking past the boarder to and fro Nigeria-Benin with their arms raised up(as a sign of surrender). There was heavy security personnel presence, armed to the teeth! Later I learnt that armed robbers had attempted to rob the First Bank branch at the Nigerian side of the boarder hence the tight security and checks. It was a little scary :)

Eventually Mr. Francis and I met and he helped to carry my load across the boarder to where his car was parked. He arranged my luggage and we started off for The Hunger Project office. It took about 60 minutes driving from the boarder to their office.


Now it will interest you to know that Mrs. Natasha Agbahoungba(a staff of THP) and I had not met before, she only saw my blog and profile on Facebook where I wrote about Moringa oil business.

She contacted me via the phone and we got chatting on Whatsapp. Based on trust, she convinced her organisation and sent money for the trip. We would be seeing each other for the first time when I arrived the Benin Republic office of The Hunger Project. See her in the picture below...

So I would be meeting the National coordinator of THP Benin, Mr. Pascal Djohossou for the first time too. I was so excited to learn that we share a common passion - Moringa advocacy. Mr. Pascal told me he had been promoting moringa in Benin Republic for more than ten years.  

So after taking me round, meeting the other members of THP Benin and exchanging pleasantries, we settled to start discussions about Moringa, the future of Moringa in West Africa, the network that needs to be in place among the West African nations to boost awareness about the economic, nutritional and health benefits of Moringa. Particularly how it can be used to combat malnutrition, empower Africans, as captured in this video.


Later that evening, Mr. Pascal Djohossou took me to the National stadium where there was a forum for traditional medicinal practitioners who discussed the health benefits of various indigenous medicinal plants and formulated herbal products.   I listened to them and also gave a talk on Moringa oil. This was quite an exciting moment.


On the following day I started the training proper. The table was made ready and the machine mounted by the Carpenter as shown in the video below. Then I assembled the machine and we started expelling the oil. The seeds had been shelled and dried, ready for expelling prior to my arrival. 
I taught them how to do the oil expression from the start to finish. I spent little time talking about the various benefits of Moringa oil too. Kindly watch these videos for details.

We chose the manual oil press as shown in this picture below because it is easier to operate, it does not need electricity, it very potable, it works just as efficient as the electrical counterpart and above all, it is more affordable for the rural dwellers. I did not mention that it can be used to expel other seeds oil like coconut, peanut, sesame, etc. 
See details about the machine and how to buy it here.

Now that they have acquired the knowledge, THP Benin will take it to the grassroots where they work with the rural dwellers, empowering them with the same knowledge. I foresee this empowerment transforming the lives of the rural dwellers of Benin Republic, West Africa and Africa at large. 


After spending three days in Cotonou, I left for Nigeria on the 19th of March, 2016 . My driver, Mr. Frances came that morning and picked me to the boarder. Now THP paid me honororium (don't ask me for money o) in thousands of Benin currency. As can be seen in the picture below, the highest denomination note in Benin is 10,000CFA . So when I got to the border, Mr. Francis helped me to get the money changers who gave me naira and took the CFAs.
I appreciate Mr. Pascal Djohossou the Country Director, THP Benin and the entire staff of The Hunger Project for the opportunity to serve and share my passion with them.

I am trusting God to go back to Benin Republic and other (West) African countries to train them on the use of simple Manual Oil press to make moringa oil. This is my passion! I see Africa rising! Moringa Entrepreneurs are springing up all across the continent, processing moringa into various products such as Moringa tea, Moringa oil, Moringa creams, Moringa soap, etc. I see Africa exporting processed Moringa products to other parts of the world in large quantities soon.
See great Moringa products here

Are you African and share this passion? Do you want to be part of this revolution? Jump on board Now! Go start a Moringa farm, Learn how to process Moringa oil, Moringa soap or Moringa tea.

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