For, and with, farming families in Benin

Benin remains one of the poorest countries on the planet. Close to half of the population lives below the poverty line with less than 50 € a month. More than one million people do not have adequate food; particularly and paradoxically, farming families.

Iles de Paix is working in the Atacora Region, in the North of the country, where 80 % of the population lives off the land, mainly as small farming families.

Atacora is the poorest region of Benin. In the villages where we work, one out of three people does not have regular access to adequate food, which is three times more than the country’s average. Crops are generally not enough to feed a family for the year, mostly due to the degradation of soil quality, the reckless use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the impact of climate change.

Farmers lack the means to store, process, and market their produce correctly. Yet, opportunities exist to strengthen ties between city consumers and producers. There is as much attention being paid to short food supply chains as for healthy, local and sustainable foods for all.

Our work in Benin

Working closely with two local NGOs, we contribute to the improvement of living conditions of the farmers and promote more just food systems.

  • We support farming families by delivering technical trainings on proven agro-ecological practices. This includes, for example, the production and preservation of local seeds  or the integration of raising livestock within the other farming activities. We work closely with families in planning the steps they need to take to reach the situation they wish to have for their farm.
  • Producing more and better is essential, but the storage and valuing of produce after harvest  are crucial to feed the family during the dry season and for generating revenue. We teach farmers the methods of storage, food processing and marketing. We support them in accessing the necessary infrastructure. Specific assistance is provided to young people to help them develop small farming businesses for their own financial independence.
  • Once the farmers have enough produce left over to sell at the market, they need to access customers interested in what they offer. We invite consumers to look at the benefits of eating healthy food that is local and ecological, for example, via radio. Some consumer groups set up short supply chains  projects with restaurant operators, businesses and hotels in the town of Natitingou.
  • Family farming and agro-ecology in Benin is not in keeping with the main national farming programs which are still more concerned with monoculture for export purposes (cotton, pineapples,…). While recognising the country’s economic issues, we work with local authorities to respect the choices of farmers and consumers. For example, we support   communities in setting up school canteens that use local products, guaranteeing healthy food for the children and income for farmers in the region.

A few key numbers

Between 2015 and 2020, through the work and collaboration of Iles de Paix, the income of farming families increased by 180 %. Between 2016 and 2020, land production doubled. In 2020, more than 16,000 Beninese were impacted by our actions, 65 % of whom were women. 5,600 people had more direct access to water and 530 female farmers were trained in food processing for marketing.

This is not all! We are not stopping there! We will continue on this path. With experienced local  organisations, such as JAB and ERAD, we want to train and support dozens of young farming entrepreneurs again, educate 75,000 consumers about the benefits of eating healthy local products, collaborate with restaurants and hotels to have them support the agro-ecologic transition in their region, assist farmers in working in groups for greater strength and solidarity, etc.

Our Benin partners

Jura Afrique Bénin is a Beninese NGO created in 2008. This organisation plays an important role in Atacora, one of Iles de Paix‘s intervention regions. Its mission is to contribute to improving the living conditions of vulnerable populations, particularly women and youth. Jura Afrique Bénin‘s expertise is recognised in the sectors of sustainable family farming and environmental protection. The NGO also supports small businesses, particularly those run by women and youth, such as those in apiculture, agro-food processing, gardening and aviculture.

ERAD (Etudes et Recherches Appliquées pour le Développement Durable), a Beninese NGO, has been active in the north of the country for more than 20 years. The organisation’s mission is to improve the living conditions of populations through the eradication of poverty, and promoting the use of natural, cultural and local craft resources. ERAD’s expertise lies in the area of increasing the resilience of rural producers and more specifically of supporting food and nutrition security. The organisation also works with other sectors such as microfinance, literacy, as well as water, hygiene and sanitation. ERAD and Iles de Paix have been collaborating since 2015.

Cookie preferences

Cookies enable this site to function properly and allow us to personalise marketing actions (Google, Facebook and others).

Read our cookies policy