On November 3, 2022, the third phase of the ACMA program (ACMA3) was officially launched. The event took place in Parakou, Benin, in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Benin, and representatives of the Ministries of Commerce, Digitization, and Foreign Affairs.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary General of the Prefecture of Borgou, representing the Prefect, said: “I am convinced that your installation in the town of Parakou will offer new opportunities to the entire population of producers, processors, traders, and especially youth and women of all municipalities of the department of Borgou and beyond.”
IFDC deputy regional director, Dr. Bocar Diagana, thanked the Netherlands Embassy for its renewed confidence in IFDC and the other consortium members implementing the ACMA2 program. He said, “After activities in the departments in the south of Benin during phases 1 and 2, the program is consolidating its interventions in the departments of Borgou, Donga, and Collines for this third phase. We will work to make the achievements of the first and second phases available to the new target zone in order to achieve greater results.”
A video showcased the achievements of the ACMA2 program. In five years, ACMA2 has recorded significant results, mainly in the departments of Ouémé, Plateau, Zou, and Collines. Within this framework, 28 pieces of infrastructure have been built in the communes to facilitate an improvement in production and an increase in commercial exchange by the actors of the targeted value chains. More than 100,000 farmers, processors, and traders, 57% of whom are women and 33% of whom are young people, have been reached. In addition, ACMA2 has facilitated the marketing of more than 106,000 metric tons of production by actors at a value of 25 billion CFA francs. The beneficiaries of the program have received more than 3 billion CFA francs in credit, including more than 168 million through digital finance. And more than 90,000 actors have benefited from various training programs.
The chief of party of the ACMA2 program, Dr. Constant Dangbegnon, presented the objectives, strategies, and ambitions of the ACMA3 program. The main objective of the third phase of the program is to facilitate a systemic change aimed at sustainable income growth and job creation, supported by the emergence of a private agricultural and agri-food sector. Its intervention strategy is based on:
- An approach focused on direct and indirect economic actors.
- Flexibility and a systemic focus on ensuring the sustainability of interventions.
- Empowerment of actors through the facilitating mechanism.
- Diversification of learning fields (CCIC, Mega-PEA, OPA, public services, agricultural and food small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs)).
- Facilitation of resilient and inclusive business models.
- Digitization and the use of the ICT4Ag solutions of the CVAD web portal.
- An emphasis on reducing social inequalities (gender/youth).
“The ambitions of the new phase are noble and great, and the challenges will be greater because of the changing environment and new agricultural commodities that are supported,” said Her Excellency, To Tjoelker, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Benin. She added, “To the Government of Benin and the President of the Republic, Patrice Talon, we express our gratitude for having promoted the appropriate framework for the implementation of this program.”
The technical advisor representing the Minister of Trade and the general secretary representing the Minister of Digitalization expressed gratitude from Benin to the Netherlands. Then, Benin Minister of Agriculture Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui congratulated the consortium of IFDC, CARE, and KIT for their implementation of ACMA2. He continued, “I have no doubt that the arrival of ACMA3 in the north of Benin will give a significant boost to the development of the agricultural sector and to the improvement of food and nutritional security of the population. The actions that will be deployed will boost the productivity and quality of life of small producers, breeders, processors, and traders, particularly young people and women, in the targeted communes. And I believe the departments of Ouémé, Plateau, and Zou, which have enjoyed the benefits of Phases 1 and 2, will not suddenly become disempowered.
The ACMA3 program will receive €20 million in funding from Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Benin over a period of five years (December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2027). ACMA3 will be implemented by IFDC in collaboration with CARE International and KIT Royal Tropical Institute.