In Guinea, there is new hope for more abundant harvests thanks to a partnership between The Carter Center, the Sasakawa Africa Association, and the Guinean Ministry of Agriculture. The Center also observed long-delayed presidential elections in 2010, following months of tension and unrest.
In May 2010, The Carter Center launched an election observation mission at the invitation of the country's electoral commission and government. The Center deployed a team of 30 observers to monitor the voting and counting for the June 27, 2010, first round election and maintained a small presence in the months that followed. For the Nov. 7 presidential runoff elections, the Center again deployed a 30-person short-term observer team across Guinea to monitor voting and counting.
In May 2010, The Carter Center launched an election observation mission at the invitation of the country's electoral commission and government. The Center deployed a team of 30 observers to monitor the voting and counting for the June 27, 2010, first-round election and maintained a small presence in the months that followed. For the Nov. 7 presidential runoff elections, the Center again deployed a 30-person short-term observer team across Guinea to monitor voting and counting. The Center's observers remained in the postelection period to observe results transmission and tabulation processes.
In a preliminary statement on Nov. 9, The Carter Center congratulated Guineans for the peaceful and orderly conduct of voting and the high level of participation but recommended that various changes occur in advance of future elections.
The Center's final statement on Dec. 2, 2010, concluded that the conduct of Guinea's presidential electoral processes was broadly consistent with the country's international and regional obligations for genuine democratic elections.
In 1986, a joint venture between The Carter Center and the Sasakawa Africa Association, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, began teaching Guinean farmers how to increase crop yields with the use of new technologies.
In collaboration with the Guinea Ministry of Agriculture, the effort was part of a larger initiative that helped more than 8 million small-scale sub-Saharan African farmers learn new farming techniques to double or triple grain production.
Through the program, farmers were provided with credit for fertilizers and seeds to grow production test plots. Following successful harvests, farmers taught their neighbors about the new technologies, creating a ripple effect to stimulate food self-sufficiency in the nation.
Successful activities to prevent farmers' encroachment into the forest zone and depletion of soil nutrients included: alternative methods for growing, harvesting, and increasing production of rice, the country's main food crop; and crop rotation experiments with rice and a crop called mucuna.
Women, who dominated Guinea's agricultural production, were recruited to participate in cultivation and food preparation activities. Two-hundred local women received credit to buy maize, cassava, and soybean seeds for cultivation and then learned how to prepare these new crops for meals. Women also were trained in proper threshing and grain handling procedures in order to improve the quality of the produce.
With the goal of transferring ownership of the projects to Guinean farmers and institutions, the program focused on the production and distribution of improved seeds and rice, soil fertility management techniques, and other training; it facilitated access to large quantities of fertilizer and improved seed to farmers, agricultural colleges, and research centers; and it assisted in a project that led to exporting rice and quality protein maize. In partnership with the government of Japan, the program launched a pilot agroindustry project, which tackled the issues of gender and the environment.
The Carter Center ended its agricultural activities in Guinea in 2004.
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Size: 245,857 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 47 percent
Life expectancy: 60 years
Ethnic groups: Peuhl, Malinke, Soussou, Guerze, Kissi, Toma, other
Religions: Muslim, Christian, animist, other, none
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016