Extending Animal Health in the Department of Takeita, Zinder Region

Extending Animal Health in the Department of Takeita, Zinder Region

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Aichatou Ali Mamadou is a shining example of what one can achieve with passion, hard work and support from the right sources. Born and raised in the city of Zinder in Niger, she had always dreamt of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

After completing her primary and secondary studies, she enrolled in the prestigious Inter-State School of Veterinary Sciences and Medicine (EISMV) in Dakar, Senegal, where she excelled and graduated with honors. Then, after defending her thesis, Mamadou returned to her hometown and started working as an assistant veterinarian to gain experience and work toward fulfilling her dream of opening a veterinary clinic. However, with a lack of financial and material resources, she found herself struggling to start her own business.

After considering a bank loan, Mamadou became aware of the USAID Yalwa activity’s call for local private veterinary service (LPVS) providers, as part of its plans to finance five new LPVSs and increase the number of local livestock assistants from 343 to 400.Although LPVS networks already existed in Yalwa’s other areas of intervention, they did not yet exist in the department of Takieta where USAID Yalwa supported 12 small ruminant producer organizations, bringing together 526 members distributed as follows: 221 men, 305 women and 227 youth.

USAID Yalwa’s support to LPVSs centers around three areas: 1) preliminary direct support—which supports LPVSs to obtain the authorization and documentation needed to practice and meet health service mandates as well as to establish a simple operating system for montioring profit; 2) direct support for clinic installation—which drives investment for start-up activities, construction and equipment acquisition (cold chain, means of transport, etc.); and 3) technical support to clinicians–which serves to strengthen the capacities of veterinarians and their assistants, both through managerial and technical training.

“It was an unexpected opportunity for me to learn about Yalwa’s grant because it was exactly what I needed and was looking for,’’ said Mamadou when remembering reading the call for application the first time.

Through this support, Mamadou was finally able to start her business in 2022 with all the necessary equipment, medicine and surgical materials, including cold chain storage units for vaccines and medications. She also recruited 34 individuals to work under her supervision, ensuring better animal health services could be provided throughout the Takieta department.

Her business’ success was shown in February 2023, when she accumulated around $1,300 (700,000 FCFA) in sales. This number will only continue to grow, with awareness on the importance of livestock vaccination becoming more prominent in local communities and with farmers being offered more affordable prices to receive private veterinary services.

Today, Mamadou continues to provide top-notch veterinary services and advice to farmers in her region. Through her strong expertise, dedication and commitment to animal health and leadership, she has also inspired the community around her, especially considering the rarity of women-owned veterinary clinics in Niger. Mamadou’s story is a shining example of the potential one can achieve when provided with the right tools to succeed.

Nebnooma Provincial Union of Small Ruminant Breeders Capitalizes on USAID Yidgiri’s Support and Wins Two Institutional Contracts Worth $33,659

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Small ruminants, such as sheep, are integral to unions’ market-driven sales in Burkina Faso. One of the unions supported by USAID Yidgiri in Kaya, the Nebnooma Provincial Union of Small Ruminant Breeders, has sought to enhance the productivity of the small ruminant value chain. Nebnooma currently has 39 simplified cooperatives societies (SCOOPs) and a total of 809 members, including 752 women. Although the union is nationally registered, its members have experienced challenges with generating profits from its products. 

Based on findings from a market assessment undertaken by Yidgiri in 2022, Nebnooma experienced challenges with accessing credit, holding statutory meetings for its members, and marketing its products at commercial outlets. Union leaders were also unfamiliar with the tendering process and strategies for developing offers in response to tenders from institutional market players. To increase the capacity of unions to access profitable regional markets, union leaders participated in two-fold training sessions up until early 2023. One training session focused on governance principles, whereas the second training taught union leaders how to work within the competitive market and procurement landscape, identify calls for tenders, and navigate the tendering process.  

In April, Nebnooma union leaders bid for and won a contract from the NGO Save Africa to develop a tender for the supply of 267 sheep in three lots (117 in Pissila, 60 in Boussouma, and 90 in Kaya). The contract, worth a total value of $26,961 (16,020,000 FCFA), successfully met quality criteria and delivery deadlines.  

President of the Nebnooma Union, Mady Sawadogo

The president of the Nebnooma Union, Mady SAWADOGO, expressed his satisfaction with the bid outcome, “We have applied what we have learned and we can see that things are changing for the better. For example, the Union has just acquired a 400 m2 plot of land to build its headquarters.” Additionally, the union saved $841 (500,000 FCFA) from this successful bid to invest in its operations.  

Galvanized by this success, Union Nebnooma took part in another call for tenders launched by the same NGO for the supply of 18 tons of cattle feed. Union Nebnooma was awarded a contract valued at $7,270 (4,320,000 FCFA). The Nebnooma Union’s successful bids points to Yidgiri’s broader impact on increasing the institutional capacity of unions, acting as a valuable source of income for small ruminant producers. 

ELEVATE Nutrition

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Overview

The Enhancing Local Efforts for Vital, Transformative, and Evidence-Based Nutrition (ELEVATE Nutrition) Activity is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by FHI 360. ELEVATE Nutrition began on October 1, 2023, and aims to advance local implementation of high-quality nutrition programs and policies that improve the nutritional status of women and children, particularly in the first 1,000 days. The Activity takes a multisectoral approach to nutrition, focusing on bridging the gap between global evidence and local implementation.

Objectives

The Activity has three strategic objectives:

  1. Sustained USAID global technical leadership in nutrition.
  2. Enhanced delivery of evidence-based nutrition policies and programs.
  3. Enhanced nutrition learning and knowledge transfer.

As part of achieving these objectives, ELEVATE Nutrition will promote sustained leadership across four key multi-sectoral nutrition areas – diet quality, prevention and management of wasting, social and behavior change and governance – in addition to providing demand driven technical assistance for countries’ nutrition priorities.

Approach

The ELEVATE Nutrition approach includes:

  1. Expanding, curating, and sharing evidence to advance the knowledge needed for implementation, focused on packaging evidence-based interventions and improving knowledge on metrics and methodologies for multisectoral nutrition programming.
  2. Providing responsive, context-specific technical assistance aligned with local priorities, enabling locally led implementation of high-quality, scalable programs and identifying sustainable opportunities for capacity strengthening.
  3. Facilitating the operationalization and financing of national nutrition policies and quality programming through proven approaches and the use of digital tools and technologies.
  4. Creating platforms and resources for straightforward access to learning and skill building that amplify local achievements in nutrition.

The Activity is grounded in USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting Framework and will emphasize building upon existing resources and platforms, employing localization principles and integrating gender and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility into all aspects of technical assistance.

Team

To implement ELEVATE Nutrition, FHI 360 will collaborate with partners Action Against Hunger, Bixal, Oxford Policy Management, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) and GEMNet-Health. The team has expertise in evidence-based health, nutrition and food system programming in development and humanitarian settings, an established presence and robust operational platforms in USAID’s nutrition priority countries and experience leading USAID and other donor-funded global nutrition initiatives.

Growing Nutritious, Accessible and Resilient Food Systems in Burkina Faso

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USAID Yidgiri improves rural incomes and stimulates demand for nutritious foods by supporting agro-processors to grow.

The processing of locally available, nutrient-rich crops can be a source of economic opportunity for many smallholder producers in Burkina Faso. Implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri Activity supports agro-processors to overcome institutional, financial, environmental and market-related barriers so that they can easily and sustainably increase the local supply of safe, nutritious foods. It also partners with producer organizations, processors and other market actors to help them understand consumer needs and preferences in order to raise nutritional awareness and facilitate increased demand for these foods at the community and household levels.

Since 2022, USAID Yidgiri has trained 236 processors and retailers, including 109 women, on improved manufacturing practices and packaging standards, good hygiene and enhanced food storage and preservation techniques, while helping them to establish strong markets for their products. Training has also focused on strengthening sales techniques, canvassing for new points of sale and marketing goods to relevant distribution networks to help improve household incomes and enhance the nutritional status of women and children.

To date, USAID Yidgiri’s support to agro-processors has led to the establishment of 96 new points of sale and the generation of almost $1 million for producers like Awa Clémence Kabore that sell orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, milk and other products made from cowpea and small ruminants.

Kabore, an entrepreneur from Kaya who sells flour and chips made from home-grown orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, received training to upgrade her sales and distribution networks after an analysis conducted by USAID Yidgiri identified her business as having the potential to grow. Equipped with new skills and ideas to expand her business, Kabore successfully connected with nearby retail stores, 10 of which agreed to stock her products, and in less than four months was able to triple her monthly income from approximately $335 (200,000 FCFA) to approximately $1,000 (598,800 FCFA).

As Awa Clémence Kabore continues to develop her business, she anticipates that she will have the financial capacity to further diversify her products and establish her own store specializing in the sale of orange-fleshed sweet potato chips.

“USAID Yidgiri lives up to its name [“grow” in the Mòoré language] by helping us grow and open up economic opportunities. The testimonies I receive from customers and food managers continue to encourage me because they reinforce that my products are innovative and of good quality,” Kabore said while looking proudly at her products.

Through trainings conducted to build the capacity of agro-processors in Burkina Faso, USAID Yidgiri provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and producer organizations to increase their incomes and develop resilient livelihoods. Likewise, CNFA works to strengthen agricultural market systems across the Sahel—especially in the cowpea, poultry and small ruminant value chains. In 2022, CNFA trained over 6,000 producers, agrodealers, processors, breeders and traders in Mali to improve their agricultural practices, established more than 300 demonstration plots for agricultural producers in Burkina Faso and almost doubled the number of Nigerien producer organizations it supported, from 384 in 2020 to 658 in 2022.

The Impact of Technology and Collaboration in One Woman’s Farming Journey

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Over the years, Winifred Ifoma Elom, a farmer in Ebonyi State, Southeast Nigeria, has achieved tremendous success in rice production with the help of modern farming techniques. She started farming one to two hectares of land due to the limitations of manual labor. However, through a partnership with Hello Tractor, a company under the HIFAD umbrella, with support from USAID, she acquired a tractor. Through the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, she was connected to Hello Tractor and provided training opportunities. The partnership with USAID and Hello Tractor helped modernize her farming practices, bridging the gap between traditional and mechanized agriculture.

With the introduction of the tractor, Elom expanded her farming operations from two hectares to an impressive 100 hectares of rice fields. Rice production has significantly increased, resulting in a surplus of rice and generating excess income for farmers. The impact on women in the Afikpo community in Ebonyi State has been particularly notable; they can now hire the tractor to ease their work. After supporting their family’s farm work, women can now quickly plant crops on their own farms using the tractor. What used to take them weeks can now be done more efficiently and effectively. The tractor has given women the chance to expand their farms and increase their income.

Elom believes that agriculture is the number one priority of life since food is essential for survival. “The money you seek is in agriculture,” she said. “And running away from it would be a waste of time.”

The demand for tractor services is high, and Elom’s company, Dumure Teketeke Global Ventures, caters to individuals, farm owners, small farmers, cooperatives and nearby villagers. They even serve clients outside their town, extending their reach to other states such as Cross River and Anambra.

“Because the tractor is primarily used during the farming season, there are peak times when the machine is in high demand, such as during land preparation, planting and harvest season,” Elom said.

She notes the need for additional machinery like rice harvesters to ensure timely and efficient harvesting, preventing the loss of mature rice.

Preserving Food and Preserving Lives: Improving Income through Innovative Preservation Technologies

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Diakité Mariam Diarra is an agri-food processing entrepreneur from Koutiala, Mali, where she actively watched and helped her mother produce and sell home-made natural juices throughout her childhood.

“I decided to continue my mother’s passion in the field of food processing.” Diarra said. “However, my experience remained basic until 2014, when I received training provided by the the Support Fund for Vocational Training and Apprenticeship (Fond d’Appui à la Formation Professionnelle et à l’Apprentissage FAFPA).”

Since, she has been able to enhance her ability to market locally, as well as to Bamako. Her success led her to exploring export opportunities even, participating in the International Fair of Agriculture and Animal Resources (FIARA) fair in Senegal.

In 2022, Diarra started collaborating with the Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity through an Open Day Event organized in Koutiala, where she won first prize in the culinary contest and received a 100-kilogram gas drying machine. After this, her work with the Activity progressed, participating in other  trade events—both nationally and regionally—where she could sell her products and establish new business relationships.

“I attended several trainings that greatly improved my food processing skills which has enabled me to increase my income,” she said. “I particularly appreciated the session on good preservation practices for perishable products.”

Like other vendors in Sugu Yiriwa’s intervention zones, Diarra was facing significant waste of perishable products. With excessive use of fertilizers, frequent power cuts and high temperatures, the vegetables she bought would lose their freshness and quality over a period of two days, forcing her to get rid of the produce and bear financial losses.

According to statistics[1] from the diagnostic report of market garden production systems in Mali, market garden produce perishes at high rates in Mali, often exceeding 20%. To improve the availability and accessibility of nutritious and healthy products for households throughout the year, Sugu Yiriwa organized three trainings in November 2022 for 177 market actors on good preservation practices for perishable products.

During those sessions, participants worked on techniques to preserve food products in the short- and long-term, using technologies such as Zero Energy Cooling Chambers (ZECCs) and canary fridges, as well as modern methods like pasteurization, refrigeration and the use of preservatives. Brining was also presented as a preservation method.

“I put these new skills into practice by building a conservation chamber with cement bricks and sand that was available at my house,” Diarra said. “This method helped me save time, energy and money by better preserving my products.”

With these new skills and techniques, Diarra’s family is able to enjoy fresh produce regularly, including during the Ramadan season where she conserved carrots, peppers and tomatoes effectively for up to two weeks.

She also began producing brine for marketing, as well as for her own consumptions.

“The brine I produce helps diversify my sources of income and provide my family with vegetables such as green beans and carrots throughout the year, even when they are not available in the market,” she said. “While others struggle to find these vegetables, I am able to preserve them year-round.”

To share her experience, Diarra organizes individual capacity building sessions for her family, cooperative members and neighbors on her volition. With knowledge from the Sugu Yiriwa training, she was able to disseminate information to 40 individuals, improving their incomes and access to nutritious foods year-round, while also building capacity.

“I am proud of the positive feedback I received and the impact these training sessions have on their lives,” she said.

Access to nutritious food year-round is essential to addressing malnutrition, especially in Mali’s the southern zone, among children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly. According to the 2022 Standardize Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) nutrition survey, the prevalence of acute malnutrition in Mali exceeds the 10% alert threshold in most regions. Feed the Future Sugu Yiriwa trainings, like the one attended by Diarra, contribute to improving household livelihoods and fostering resilience by enabling households to produce and consume healthy foods throughout the year.

[1] Rapport diagnostic des systèmes de production maraîcher au Mali, Projet SAFEVEG.

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Wunguke Activity

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Overview

Rwanda has seen significant improvement in agricultural production over the past 10 years. However, challenges due to the limited use of improved seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, lack of market information and environmental constraints such as land size and soil health persist. The sector also faces challenges such as food insecurity and malnutrition among vulnerable households, with 20.6% of the Rwandan population experiencing food insecurity, 18.8% experiencing moderate food insecurity and 1.8% experiencing severe food insecurity. About 32.4 percent of under five years children are chronically malnourished (2021 Rwanda CFSVA). Recurring extreme weather shocks and global climate change also pose serious challenges to the continued growth of the sector. Modernizing the agriculture sector offers the potential to boost productivity and create additional economic opportunities, while improving food security and nutrition outcomes for rural households.

The five-year Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Wunguke Activity aims to increase incomes and improve nutrition in Rwanda by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and strengthening the domestic consumption and market for high-value and nutritious agricultural products. Hinga Wunguke, which translates to “grow profitable” in Kinyarwanda, utilizes a market systems approach, engaging and working through existing public and private market actors and structures to facilitate inclusive, locally driven and sustainable change.

By 2028, Hinga Wunguke will significantly improve Rwanda’s agricultural productivity, strengthen resilience to climate change, increase profitability for farmers and enhance nutrition and food security outcomes by enhancing access to improved inputs, knowledge, technologies, practices, finance and markets. It will also support policies that enable and incentivize private-sector investment and growth.

Approach

  1. Increase Agricultural Productivity: Hinga Wunguke focuses on improving agricultural practices by facilitating farmers’ access to knowledge, information and improved inputs and technologies. This approach aims to increase productivity, while promoting sustainable agriculture and strengthening resilience to shocks, such as the environmental and economic impacts of climate change.
  2. Facilitate Access to Finance for Farmers and Agribusinesses: Hinga Wunguke facilitates access to finance and improves financial literacy skills of farmers and agribusiness so that they can obtain and manage funding needed to boost their production and incomes. Hinga Wunguke also prioritizes engagement with the private sector to increase value chain financing and farm and agribusiness investment opportunities.
  3. Improve Market Availability and Demand for Nutritious Foods: Hinga Wunguke expands farmers’ access to markets while increasing the availability and consumption of safe and nutritious food for Rwandan consumers. The Activity will accomplish this by using a market systems approach to support the private sector in developing and promoting nutritious products. It then helps generate demand by educating consumers on the benefits of nutritious products.
  4. Strengthen the Enabling Environment for Market-Driven Agriculture: Hinga Wunguke works closely with other USAID/Rwanda implementing partners to strengthen the enabling environment for the development and implementation of policies that strengthen the Government of Rwanda’s (GOR) role as an enabler and the private sector’s role as a main driver of agricultural growth. The Activity will facilitate improved public-private dialogue so that the GOR can better support the private sector to invest in and lead systemic changes that modernize the agriculture sector and drive inclusive growth.

Partners

  • MarketShare Associates (MSA):A global firm of creative facilitators, strategists, economists and experienced research and implementation experts who believe that both public and private institutions should contribute to social transformation. Having already a great deal of experience in Rwanda, MSA’s mission is to bring actionable insights to market development.
  • Rwandan market systems actors: A key part of the Hinga Wunguke market-oriented approach will be its Catalytic Service Provider Fund and its Market Systems Opportunity Grants, which together total over USD 5.3 million. These resources will allow Hinga Wunguke to engage, innovate, disengage, adapt, and scale with a large number of Rwandan market systems actors whenever needed. Hinga Wunguke will also use “Pitch Fairs” and an approach of “aggressive facilitation” to identify entrepreneurs and change makers and bring in new expertise where it is most appropriate to achieve desired results. Hinga Wunguke will continually seek participant feedback on the use of these resources, including through annual surveys, impact assessments, and quarterly focus group discussions with participants throughout the relevant implementation areas of Rwanda.

Feed the Future Supports Women Entrepreneurs to Expand their Skills and Participate in International Fairs

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To support women farmers and entrepreneurs working across the Sikasso Subzone, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity builds the competitiveness and resilience of female market actors by enhancing their capacity and increasing their access to key business linkages.

In June 2022, Sugu Yiriwa supported three women entrepreneurs from Sikasso, Bougouni, and Koutialato—Ami Bagayoyo, Diarrah Traore Kamissoko and Rokia Togola—to participate in the 22nd edition of the Foire Internationale de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (FIARA) exhibition held in Dakar, Senegal in the leadup to Tabaski.

The three participants were first prize winners of a culinary competition organized by Sugu Yiriwa in May 2022, which highlighted nutritious local recipes and processed foods from the activity’s focal value chains of cereals, cowpeas, horticultural products, poultry and small ruminants. The women were also first-time FIARA attendees and shared the costs of the trip with Sugu Yiriwa.

Prior to the fair, Sugu Yiriwa trained Bagayoyo, Kamissoko and Rokia Togola to improve their marketing and price negotiation skills, which helped them outshine their competitors. They also received support from previous FIARA participants, enabling them to make informed decisions about what to present during the fair.

Ami Bagayoyo, Diarrah Traore Kamissoko and Rokia Togola at their stall during the Foire Internationale de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (FIARA) exhibition held in Dakar, Senegal.

Bagayoyo of the Cooperative DIOBA de Koutiala recalled, “Even though this was the first time I participated in FIARA, thanks to the information I received, I was able to bring honey and Tô mougou (a product made from corn), which sold for high prices in the Senegalese market. If I have the opportunity to participate in the next fair, I will be ready to bring more products and therefore generate more income.”

Together the women sold their full inventories, which included processed cereals, chia butter and honey worth $3,400 (2,164,500 FCFA). Their participation in FIARA also opened up new business horizons as they succeeded in establishing connections with wholesalers in Dakar, Mborur and Thies.

Recognizing the economic feasibility of participating in the fair, the participants expressed their willingness to contribute to the costs of the trip and to increase the quantity of products they would supply at future exhibitions.

Kamissoko from the Groupement Balimaya de Bougouni said, “During the fair, I made higher profits negotiating with wholesalers as well as selling honey and millet transformed into dèguè mougou—a product that was in great demand in Dakar. If I have another opportunity to participate in FIARA, I look forward to showcasing more products and contributing to the cost of the fair.”

Champion Small Ruminant Trader Serves as a Role Model for Future Women Entrepreneurs

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Adiaratou Sangaré is a small ruminant trader from Yanfolila, Mali, who has been perfecting her practice for over 13 years. At age 37, the mother of six is also a member of the Association of Small Ruminants Traders of Yanfolila, a partner of the Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa Activity, which works to strengthen market systems, sustainably improve household incomes, and improve the nutritional status of women and children in the Sikasso sub-zone.

Over the years, Sangaré has established a climate of trust with local breeders who have agreed to sell her their animals and provide payment after the animals’ sale. Additionally, with Sangaré’s experience and through the investment of a close relative who grants her interest-free loans, she leads her business and ensures that she can afford healthcare, school and clothing fees for her children without having to turn to financial institutions for support.

To facilitate market opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs like Sangaré working across the Southern Zone of Mali, Sugu Yiriwa organized seven small ruminant fairs in line with the Tabaski holiday from June 25 – July 8, 2022. The fairs aimed at enhancing participants’ access to critical business linkages and breaking the cycle of middlemen who dominate the small ruminant market.

Adiaratou Sangaré awarded best buyer prize at Koumantou fair.

Sangaré attended the Sugu Yiriwa fair in Niena on June 25 before participating in the Koumantou fair, where she was awarded Sugu Yiriwa’s best buyer prize for purchasing 558 heads of sheep and goat worth $57,365 (36,756,500 FCFA). As the Tabaski holiday approached and the demand for sheep and goats grew higher, Sangaré benefitted from increased prices at the fair in her hometown of Yanfolila and sold 478 animals for $93,446 (59,875,792 FCFA). Here, she was again awarded a prize from Sugu Yiriwa, this time as the best seller in Yanfolila.

Sangaré serves as a role model for her community and is currently providing hands-on training in price negotiation and animal quality assessment to three women who shadowed her at the fairs. Sangaré has also created 10 permanent jobs for eight small re-sellers and two laborers, as well as temporary labor jobs during periods of intense activity. Additionally, at the community level, she provides sheep on credit for community events.

Reflecting on the fairs, Sangaré said, “Thanks to Sugu Yiriwa, I found all my needs for quality animals without having to travel far away, which led me to reduce my costs and maximize profits. I am also proud of myself for having received the biggest buyer prize in Koumantou. This grand gesture motivates me to participate in Sugu Yiriwa’s events in the upcoming year.”