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In less than two years of implementation, Phase 3 of the Communal Approach to the Agricultural Market in Benin (ACMA3) program, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Benin and implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in consortium with KIT and CARE International Benin, has already made several accomplishments. Anouk Baron, Deputy Ambassador and Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Benin, recently engaged in a field visit to learn more about these accomplishments. 

In Dassa, Baron paid a courtesy visit to municipal authorities before heading to the Itagui Hydro-Agricultural Pepper-Growing Perimeter, a site of 19 hectares subdivided into five blocks, with 311 plots of 450 square meters each. The site has five boreholes, an administrative block, a store, and a drying area for chilis, the main crop produced. In addition to supporting this infrastructure, ACMA3 has facilitated the reorganization of the beneficiary actors and provided other assistance prior to the recent transfer of the Itagui site to the administration of Dassa City Hall.  

The Embassy delegation makes a courtesy visit to Dassa City Hall.

Baron expressed her satisfaction to the members of the Communal Union of Market Gardening Cooperatives of Dassa-Zoumé, urging all stakeholders to remain ardently focused.

“With the support of the city council, the ACMA program team, and the Netherlands, we are trying to set up a system around you for support to ensure sustainability. Continue to use this ecosystem that we are building, work together, and think more about sustainability together within your community – because the ACMA program is going to leave for good one day, but the gains you have capitalized on must remain,” commented Deputy Ambassador Anouk Baron.

Deputy Ambassador Anouk Baron (orange and green dress) visits the Itagui Hydro-Agricultural Pepper-Growing Perimeter with stakeholders.

Her enthusiasm was all the greater seeing the commitment and determination of the Dassa municipal authorities, who demonstrated their dedication to the hydro-agricultural site. The Municipal Council of Dassa has budgeted 25 million CFA francs (approximately U.S. $41,200) annually to completely fence in the site. Thus, in a few years, the site will be fully secure, to the delight of the members of the Communal Union of Market Gardening Cooperatives of Dassa-Zoumé. 

Members of the Prosperity Cooperative guide Anouk Baron to the Boko hydro-agricultural site.

After Itagui, the Boko hydro-agricultural site in the commune of N’Dali, Borgou Department, welcomed Baron and her delegation. The introduction of new varieties of high-yielding pepper and tomato for varietal trials was the first major activity implemented by the ACMA3 program on this site. Rassidatou Moustafa, ACMA3 Deputy Chief of Party, notes that these trials have been promising so far. Harvests of the assorted varieties of tomato have allowed the members of the Prosperity Cooperative, who work on the site, to organize field days for other market gardeners to share experiences and knowledge.  

“We are always looking for the best ways to optimize our techniques to achieve the best yields per area.”  

Stanislas Comlan Houechekpo, General Treasurer of the Prosperity Cooperative
A new tomato production trial at the Boko hydro-agricultural site.

Baron, having visited the site in July 2023 at the beginning of the experiment, noted the progress that had been made and expressed her satisfaction: “I’m very impressed! Nine months ago, there was almost nothing here. Now there are harvests already, so congratulations to you, and good luck. It already shows that if you keep going, you will have very good results. For us at the embassy, the next step is to think about sustainability. ACMA3 ends in 2027, and I think that with the support of state and local authorities, you will make the sustainability of your achievements a priority.”

To build on their success, the ACMA3 team plans to continue with this same dynamic and even plan on deploying mechanisms that support access to financing and product marketing. This strategic focus aims to drive even greater results in the future.

The Communal Approach to the Agricultural Market in Benin (ACMA) program, financed by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Benin since 2013, is implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in a consortium with CARE International Benin and KIT.