World Bank Supports Benin to Improve its Agricultural Productivity and Diversification

March 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2011 --  The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a 5-year credit and grant to the Government of Benin in the amount of US$46 million (about FCFA22 billion) for the Agricultural Productivity and Diversification Project. The financing package includes an IDA credit of US$6 million, a US$25 million IDA grant, and a US$15 million grant from the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP).  

The new project aims to restore and improve productivity and value addition for selected value chains. More than 165,000 direct beneficiaries (including 40% female) are expected at the end of the Project to use improved agricultural techniques and practices regarding the production, processing and marketing of products from the targeted value chains. Other outcomes include: 60,000 tons of annually produced milled rice, 70,000 tons of annual cashew and pineapple exports, and a total yield of 60,000 tons per hectare of pineapple in the Project area.

Improving agricultural productivity and strengthening diversification are on the top of the agenda of the agricultural and overall development strategy in Benin. The country’s long-term vision is to move towards a greater diversification of agricultural production in order to become a major exporter of agricultural products by the year 2025. The PADA therefore comes in support of the country’s efforts to achieve a good and sustainable development of the agricultural sector.

It also contributes to achieve the goals of the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Benin which, inter alia, aims to enhance the contribution of agriculture to growth by supporting: (i) short-term emergency measures to enhance domestic food crop production in response to the food price increases; and (ii) medium to longer-term interventions to improve competitiveness and diversification in the sector.

The PADA will also work to remove the constraints to the long term development of key value chains while providing short-term relief to restore agricultural productivity in households who have been severely affected by the unprecedented 2010 floods.

The new project will be implemented through four main components which are:

(i) Adoption of improved technologies and restoration of productivity. Under this component the Project will finance the adoption of improved technologies for the development of food security and export-oriented value chains, such as aquaculture, maize, rice, cashew, and pineapple. It will also support the restoration of the means of production of households affected by the floods, particularly the productions of cereals (maize and rice), aquaculture, and livestock.

(ii) Development and rehabilitation of irrigation and market infrastructures. This component will finance the rehabilitation and development of small scale irrigation infrastructures that would improve productivity and reduce output variability.  It will also help build and rehabilitate market and storage infrastructures, some of which were destroyed by the recent floods.

(iii) The Value Chain Coordination and Agricultural Financing. This component aims to improve the coordination of targeted value chains and to help improve access to financial services for project beneficiaries. It will provide business development services to help address critical supply and demand constraints to the provision and access to credit and financial services in agriculture. It will also support building value chain institutions through the organization of value chain participants into a well structured inter-professions and the organization of producers around structuring activities, such as rice milling, fingerlings and fish feed production.

(iv) Sector Program Coordination and Project Management. This fourth component will help strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery (MAEP) to effectively coordinate the implementation of the sector’s program and to implement and monitor the APDP.

The Country Director for Benin, Madani M. Tall, expressed satisfaction upon the approval of the project by the Board: “The development of the agricultural sector is highly important for countries like Benin, where an important part of the population are farmers. We congratulate the country’s authorities for efforts made on the preparation of this project which will help implement one of the important pillars of the country’s growth and poverty reduction strategy. We hope that necessary actions will be taken with due diligence to allow the project to become effective quickly, for the benefits of the populations”.

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