In Benin, after 12 years working in the municipality of Toucounouta, Iles de Paix is now concentrating its activities in Cobli, Matéri and Boukoumbé in the northern Atacora district.
30.000 people helped directly
In the Atacora region, most producers have been persuaded by the government to grow cotton. This choice is now causing them problems. Many have been forced into debt to access seeds and fertilisers. Meanwhile, cotton crops do not earn enough to give them a decent living. Local food production has declined considerably and the soil has been degraded. The result is that families in Atacora are often short of food and the money to buy it. Their food security is considered to be extremely critical.
Iles de Paix solutions since 2001
IMPROVING MAIZE PRODUCTION
Access to fertilisers is difficult for crop producers, and soil degradation is a serious problem. Working with its local partners, Iles de Paix teaches producers about intercropping techniques, which improve soil fertility and lead to better harvests.
Training and follow-up
Maize production can be improved by using selected varieties, enriching the soil appropriately and better controlling the production cycle. Working with its local partners, Iles de Paix teaches producers about these techniques and supports them through several production cycles.
Producers are not used to working together on cereal and food crop production. Iles de Paix encourages and supports them in setting up organisations to store and market crops collectively.
DEVELOPING SMALL-SCALE MARKET GARDENING
Developing production sites
Market gardening enables families to diversify production, generate additional income and improve their diet. However, it does require appropriate production sites. Working with its local partners, Iles de Paix helps groups of market gardeners to develop these sites: building wells, fencing, marking out plots.
Training and follow-up
Marketing gardening is a little-known activity among the families of Atacora. Scaling up the activity thus requires new techniques to be learned. Working with its local partners, Iles de Paix supports producers through several production cycles. Practical training is organised on their land, paying particular attention to providing production techniques that respect the environment.
In Atacora, the market gardening sector is starting to get organised. Working with its partners, Iles de Paix helps market gardeners in Cobli, Matéri and Boukoumbé to join forces in order to improve their access to seeds and find opportunities in local marketing networks.