In Benin, agriculture significantly contributes to food security, supports livelihoods through income generation and job creation. However, the sector is dominated by subsistence farming, largely dependent on rainfall and vulnerable to climate change. The low adoption rate of improved technologies, the lack of market and credit access, and the poor storage conditions faced by many smallholder farmers deeply undermine the sector and create in the country an environment conducive to key development challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
The FAO and IFAD project on “increasing water productivity for nutrition-sensitive agriculture and improved food security and nutrition”, will generate multiple wins by supporting (i) the National Plan for Investment in Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security (PNIASAN), which aims to improve the contribution of the agriculture sector to the fight against all forms of malnutrition, and (ii) the IFAD financed Market Gardening Development Support Project′s (PADMAR) objective to promote the adoption of sustainable production techniques indispensable to improve vegetable farmers’ productivity and build their resilience to climate change impacts.In Benin, the project is being implemented within the Agricultural Development Pole 7 in the municipalities of Lokossa and Dangbo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
In Benin, the project′s activities (conducted, ongoing and planned) are as follows:
1. Country context assessment with the aim to map out specific needs and productivity constraints faced by smallholder farmers in Benin, particularly in the target areas within the selected Agricultural Development Zones (PDAs) in Lokossa and Dangbo Municipalities. This includes:
- Definition of selection criteria for the target areas/zones and project beneficiaries through consultation meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), IFAD, WFP and other local partners.
- An initial field visit to the target municipalities for the official launch/introduction of the project to the local communities, authorities, and other stakeholders was held in October 2021. During the visit, site-specific data collection and mapping/registration of the project beneficiaries, farmers′ organizations, extension officers, traders and Farmer Field School (FFS) initiatives was conducted.
- A validation workshop of the results of the initial field visit was held in December 2021.
2. A Baseline survey data collection was conducted in April 2021. About 200 households were interviewed and relevant information collected with the support from National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB), a service provider. Data analysis and organization of a dissemination and validation workshop for the baseline results is underway.
3. Deployment of the project′s nutrition-sensitive agriculture water productivity (NsAWP) methodological framework and guidelines, and adjustment to the country context (planned).
- Capacity building/training activities on the use of the NsAWP methodological framework and guidelines that will be implemented in two phases: (i) training of trainers with a specific focus on how to implement the methodological NsAWP guidelines using the FFS approach and (ii) training of project beneficiaries on the use of the NsAWP guidelines.
- Deployment/implementation of the NsAWP guidelines through FFS approach.
4. Dissemination workshops of the preliminary results/lessons learned from the project implementation (planned).
On the ground
The Market Gardening Development Support Project′s (PADMAR) project, implemented in Southern Benin, aims to improve food and nutrition security, reduce rural poverty and increase farmers’ incomes. In addition, the project also targets to build farmers’ resilience to climate change effects and facilitate infrastructure development to increase the ease of access to production zones.
National Project Coordinator, FAO Benin
Armel Clément Goudjo Mensah
Project Focal Point, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP)
Mouhaman Bio Yerima
Program Assistant, FAO Benin
Gender Focal Point, FAO Benin