The new Ambassador of the Netherlands in Benin visited some achievements of the Communal Approach to the Agricultural Market Phase Two (ACMA2) programme in Benin. For her, it is a matter of witnessing some of the effects of the interventions of the ACMA2 programme funded by the Netherlands Embassy in Benin and implemented by IFDC in consortium with CARE Benin-Togo and KIT. This programme aims to improve the food and nutritional security of rural populations and increase the incomes of agricultural economic actors in 28 municipalities in the departments of Ouémé, Plateau, Zou and the Collines.
From December 16-17 2019, To Tjoelker-Kleve toured the departments of Ouémé, Plateau, Zou and The Collines.
In Adjarra, the first stop, discussions between the Ambassador and women fishmongers, fish farmers, and traders about their activities within the fish sales center made it clear that the Interventions of the ACMA2 program have equipped these actors who are more organized and more and more professional to take advantage of this innovative centre, which costs 107,545,653 CFA francs.
“With this investment from the Netherlands our lives are changing, and we are convinced that it will change even more,” said the President of the Communal Union of fish farmers of Adjarra. The centre currently offers three types of products. These are 300-g packages of fresh clarias fish, 1-kg packages of fresh clarias fish, and finally smoked clarias fish. After 6 months of activity, the center has a current potential monthly offer of 5.2 tons of fresh clarias fish of 300g, 480kg of Clarias fish of 1kg, and 760kg of smoked clarias fish.
In Sakété, Tjoelker and her group went to the Modern Palm Oil Storage and Sales Centre. The Sakété oil storage centre is consists of an oil quality control laboratory, a pumping booth, and a set of 6 cylindrical tanks each with a volume of 50 tons, and an overall capacity of 300 tons.
“Sakété has gained a lot through this infrastructure, which is a first in Benin; the management component is now crucial for us, for the sustainability of the gains,” said the mayor of Sakété.
In Ouinhi and precisely in Dasso, the women of the Mèdjro group proudly received the Ambassador in the modern gari processing unit built for them with funding from the Netherlands.
“With cassava, we make at least 10 different varieties of products. Our work is facilitated by modern unity. It’s less painful, and it goes faster. Thanks to ACMA2, we also have more and more customers. And thanks to the network set up, meeting the demand is no longer a problem,” testified Elisabeth Akpeyekpo, president of the Mèdjro group.
After Ouinhi, Tjoelker appreciated the warm welcome of the people of the commune of Savè on the construction site of the Boubou warehouse, which has a 200-ton capacity. Akpo Florent, a soybean producer, said that with the capacity building initiated by the ACMA2 program, the yield has increased from 800 kg to 1.5T per hectare.
After Savè, they headed to the commune of Savalou where producers, processors, and cassava and gari traders welcomed the Netherlands ambassador with joy and happiness.
The Mayor of Savalou noted that, “The production of cassava is increasing in Savalou. After consumption or sale, an average of about 400,000T of superfluous cassava, of which 55,000 tons have been processed into gari, has been observed in the commune over the last five years. With this production, Savalou does not have a business center where gari sohoui, which is a well-known local product, sells full-time. The 500-ton-capacity infrastructure built by ACMA2 for gari met a long-needed opportunity.”
Recipients took the opportunity to explain to Tjoelker that the center will improve the quality and market access of their gari. The management committees are set up with the support to ensure the efficient management of the center and the sustainability of the improvements.
At the end of the two-days field visit, Tjoelker said she was touched by the commitment of agricultural economic actors, local elected officials, partners of the ACMA2 programme. Tjoelker called on agricultural economic actors to continue to professionalize in order to increase their incomes to achieve food and nutrition security. ACMA2, according to Tjoelker, should also be defined as Common Action for an Acting Market.