The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ABC/MRE) and professors from the Federal University of West of Bahia (UFOB) participated, in the first two weeks of October, in a field visit and a workshop to develop the activities of the Beyond Cotton project in Benin.
The WFP Country Office and the Government of Benin organized a field visit to the communities of Gogonou, Kandi, Sinendé, Bembèrèkè and Malanville, cotton producing towns located in the northern part of the country. The technical mission included visits to schools and family farmers to gather and validate information on production, marketing/disposal and food and nutrition security to elaborate the country project’s logical framework matrix.
With the participation of UFOB teachers, from October 7 to 9, the Participatory Workshop on Structuring the Logical Framework of the Country Project took place in Parakou city. The main purpose of the seminar was to gather information and suggestions from the Benin and Brazilian partner entities to complement the initial diagnosis and to support the joint preparation process of the Benin country project.
During the workshop, teachers contributed with proposals for new social technologies that could enhance productive activities and foster good practices on food and nutrition security. Technicians from the Territorial Agency for Agricultural Development (ATDA), the Benin Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and local farmers in the region participated extensively in the discussions, with essential contributions to understanding the local reality and building the foundations of the country project that could meet the local needs and respect the principles of South-South cooperation.
Following the activities in Parakou, the Brazilian Ambassador in Benin, Luís Ivaldo Villafañe Gomes Santos, welcomed the Brazilian delegation in Cotonou to learn more about the Beyond Cotton project, the results of the mission and the future expectations of the initiative in the country.
On the last day of the mission, a meeting was held with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Françoise Assogba Komlan, and other heads of department for a debriefing of the mission and discussion of next steps. Among the topics debated was the contribution that the Beyond Cotton project can provide with actions that could boost some of the areas of the Beninese Agricultural Sector Strategic Development Plan (PSDSA). Project documents and outputs from this mission will be shared with the government for review and comments to facilitate the early implementation of the country project and to define the responsibilities of different stakeholders in the project implementation.
The Beyond Cotton project aims to support smallholder farmers and public institutions in Benin, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. The project seeks to connect cotton by-products and intercropping crops such as maize, sorghum and beans to stable markets, including school feeding programs. The initiative will contribute to income generation for smallholder farmers and increase food and nutrition security in rural areas.