WASHINGTON, June 2, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $160 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Benin improve productivity and market access for certain agri-food value chains.
The agricultural competitiveness and export diversification project is aimed at improving productivity and market access for pineapple and cashew nuts, and promoting new value chains with strong market potential, particularly fresh produce. Almost 10,000 hectares of pineapple and 135,000 hectares of aging cashew plantations will be replaced or newly developed with high-yielding plant material provided to producers. This plant material will also be made available to producers who wish to begin growing fresh produce, which is in high demand on regional and international markets.
The project provides for the construction of a cold storage freight terminal for highly perishable products and related commercial infrastructures at the future Glo-Djigbé airport. It will support private sector investments along the selected value chains and the installation of logistics services in Benin through a mechanism to support agricultural investments with matching grants for beneficiaries and a risk-sharing mechanism.
“Benin currently exports very few high-value fresh products, fruits or other vegetables. By improving cold chain logistics services, this project will enhance the ability of farmers to participate in the regional and international fresh fruit and vegetable markets,” noted Atou Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Benin. “It will help Benin remove export bottlenecks and make Benin’s agri-food products more competitive on the world market.”
The project will fund the rehabilitation of 1,200 kilometers of roads and the maintenance of 4,200 kilometers of rural roads in order to help connect producers to local and regional markets.
The project contributes to the execution of the National Agricultural Investment and Food and Nutrition Security Plan (PNIASAN 2017-2021) and will apply the principles of maximizing finance for development, with significant participation from private national and international investors in the implementation of activities to promote chains, including establishing logistics and market access infrastructure.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.