Starting from a national dialogue with the different actors working on food systems in order to design a good sustainable food system in Benin. This is the objective pursued by the Center for Experimentation and Valorization of Agroecology of Endogenous Sciences and Techniques (Cevaste) by initiating on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Ouidah, a workshop of exchanges between the different actors of the sector.
It all started with the presentation of the state of play of the food system in Benin. Following this presentation, the participants involved in the various fields related to the theme were invited to provide additional information and make proposals. Taking part in the exercise, Dr Peggy Tohinlo, representing PASCIB, informed that Benin now has an agricultural law that has yet to be adopted by the National Assembly; that it validated in December 2020 the national policy of food security and nutrition, the strategy for a food-sensitive agriculture and the constitution of a stock for security etc. After this phase, the reflections continued in group work. Under the guidance of the consultant Pierre Bédiyé, a summary document will be produced and validated in the coming months during a workshop. This will be done with the technical and financial support of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA).
12% of households are food insecure in Benin.
In addition, the FAO estimates that 3,950 hectares, or 35%, of agricultural land is available in Benin 1. The November 2017 report on Global Analysis of Vulnerability and Food Security (AGVSA) reveals that at the national level, 972,000 people are food insecure, or 12% of households. Although the rest of the population is considered food secure, 1,048,000 people are at risk of food insecurity (13.2%) and more than a third of children aged 6-59 months suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Despite the alarming nature of this information, the measures taken by the government to promote agriculture do not favor food crops but cash crops such as cotton. Benin has a strong potential for rice production in the Ouémé valley and in the Malanville region. Paradoxically, the import of rice is favored by the government to the detriment of promoting this crop. This policy is not conducive to the consumption of locally produced rice, which is in competition with rice imported from Asia and elsewhere.