The Experimentation Center for the Valorization of Agroecology, Sciences and Endogenous Technologies (CEVASTE) through the project “Sewoh” initiated by ABN (African biodiversity Network) proceeded on Thursday, June 17, 2021 to the inauguration of the endogenous seed bank in the town of Tori Bossito. The ceremony was attended by the beneficiary communities of the project as well as several actors involved in agroecology in Benin.
By Hermione ADJANOHOUN
The “Sewoh” project, implemented in four African countries namely Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana and Zinbabwe since 2017, is executed in Benin through the CEVASTE of father and mother Jah Eliejah Adanjah. The objective of this project is to strengthen sovereignty through the promotion of farmers’ seed diversity for sustainable food security in Africa, revitalize endogenous knowledge in agriculture through trainings and exchanges with agricultural actors, and conduct advocacy activities. This project is implemented in three localities namely Ségbanou, Dékouénou, located in the commune of Ouidah) of Tori Honvié located in the commune of Tori Bossito.
At the beginning of the meeting, Father Jah thanked the many participants who came to this celebration. “Agriculture is a spiritual mission, and our original seeds must be protected and transmitted from generation to generation,” he said. As for Mother Jah, she recalled the importance of endogenous seeds before stressing the need for Beninese farmers to protect, enhance and preserve the seed heritage of Benin; hence the construction of this endogenous seed bank. According to her, these seeds must be valued and promoted to allow future generations to appropriate them.
Present at the ceremony, the representative of the Mayor of the town of Tori Bossito, Romain Lantéfan, 2nd Deputy Mayor, was delighted with the construction of this jewel which now houses the endogenous seeds of Benin and congratulated the initiators for having chosen to establish this seed bank in his locality. He also expressed his commitment and that of the City Council to work for the perpetuation of endogenous seeds before bringing the agricultural actors of the region to join this dynamic for a healthy and sustainable agriculture. For Pierre Bédiyé, president of the FAEB (Benin Agroecological Federation), the creation of a seed bank is a first in Benin and it is necessary to encourage the communities that have taken this initiative to conserve their seeds. “The seed is the life of the farmer, when you don’t have seed you can’t produce. And the particularity here is local seeds that our grandparents have kept for thousands of years, and which have qualities that those we have today do not have, “he added.
Agassounon Dorothé, member of the “Sewoh” project and agricultural producer in Savi in the commune of Ouidah invited the producers of Benin to come to the endogenous seed bank to obtain these different seeds. He then made a plea to the authorities at various levels to raise awareness in the communes of Benin to bring the maximum number of farmers to adopt endogenous seeds in their production. The beneficiary communities showed their joy by various theatrical performances and songs and dances to explain the importance of agroecology.