Founder and keeper of a farm of 640 hens at Missérété, located 50 km from Cotonou, Samuel has benefited from the BeniBiz program for SMEs, Small and Medium Enterprises. Quarantine and married to Prisca, Samuel is father of a little boy. He works with his wife and 3 occasional employees. With BeniBiz trainings and coaching, he now has an clear (figures) view of the management of his farm, that is to say the suppression of unnecessary expenses, sales follow-up, planning.
« Before, I did not care about numbers, I managed blindly. But with BeniBiz, my management is more rigorous, which allowed me to increase my turnover of 446% in 6 months. » Samuel EHAHOUN.
The better management of his farm leading to improved sales has allowed Samuel to expand his business to rabbit breeding for which he has been able to rent additional space. Moreover, thanks to the savings made after the BeniBiz trainings and coaching, he decided to buy 2000 chickens in addition to the current number. Moreover, he was able to give a business to Prisca, his wife to start the sale of charcoal bags and details. He was also able to hire one more employee to strengthen his workforce.
« When he started the BeniBiz courses and their practice, we saw an upward change in his income. Before, I worked with him on the farm without salaries; but now, not only does he pay me each end of the month, but he also helped me start my coal business.» Prisca LOKOSSOU, wife of Samuel.
Before BeniBiz, Samuel and his wife faced the lack of money in during the month; but with the management techniques learned from BeniBiz, that is to say the determination of his costs, the calculation of his profit, the fruiting of its revenues with more sales, etc ..., Samuel manages better his farm and his family is doing very well.
Grocer and restaurant Manager, Errose, forty, is a very dedicated mother. Based in Lokossa, a town located 102 km from Cotonou, she is one of the beneficiaries of the BeniBiz project for the SME component. With trainings and coachings, she now distinguishes her revenues and expenses by section grocery-restoration. She recruits and pays her employees monthly. She manages her business better.
«BeniBiz trainings have improved a lot of things in my company. I save my revenues and expenses separately, I do not recruit day-to-day, but I employ people and pay them monthly.» Errose ASSAGBA
Prior to BeniBiz training, Errose employed 2 permanent and 2 occasional employees. Currently, she employs 6 occasionnal and 6 permanent, given the volume of sales that increased by 75% in 6 months of BeniBiz training and coaching. This growth was favored in particular by the identification of new sales opportunities in public and private administrations and services to which Errose goes for prospecting and offering her services and also does the marketing of her food products.
« BeniBiz motivated me to get out of my comfort zone to find customers in offices. This allowed me to record an increase of my turnover of 75%.» Errose ASSAGBA
From now on, Errose manages her business better, is more relaxed on the financial side, feels more independent, and better supports the needs of her children. Two of them, Ernesta and Ernesto, assist her when they are not at school.
« Before, when we asked Mother for something, she just did her best to satisfy us, but that was not enough for us. But since she became a beneficiary of BeniBiz, her business is better and she gives us enough. The improvement in our family life is palpable. » Ernesta ASSAGBA, daughter of Errose.
Dressmaker in his thirties, and father of a family of 3 children, Norbert is married to Denise. He discovered the BeniBiz program which has offered him 4 trainings and 4 coachings from February 2019 in Porto Novo, city located 37 km from Cotonou. These trainings enabled him to identify the management errors he was making. Thus, he learned how to better manage his business, distinguish business funds and personal funds.
« BeniBiz training has changed my life and my perception of business management a lot. I realized that I have to apply the techniques learned. At Micros, Small & Medium Enterprises, I say to remember that BeniBiz rhymes with the change of life. I highly recommend this program » Norbert ASSOGBA.
Norbert now keeps a record of his purchases and sales, which allows him to determine exactly his monthly turnover that he did not even know before. With the evolution noted on his revenue, He can thus plan the expenses relating to his home, save money for the improvement of his standard of life and the evolution of his children.
«BeniBiz taught me how to plan spending in my home. I can then save for schooling and the health of my children. I'm able to buy furniture in my living room at home; my visitors and my family are more comfortable. »
With the marketing techniques learned from BeniBiz, Norbert initiated a promotion in his sewing salon. He has made and posted to the address of existing and potential customers a banner '' 5 Complets ie top and pants or top and skirt ordered, 1 free for two months ''. This promotion allowed him to record a lot of orders and achieve a strong growth of his turnover compared to his life before BeniBiz.
The most important issue about Norbert is that he has relayed and taught BeniBiz's techniques to his wife, who is also better managing her micro-business, selling various food products.
«In the past, my trade in various food products was not really profitable, especially because of sales on credit. But with BeniBiz lessons transmitted by my husband, I devoted myself to selling cash condiments and hairdressing. My income has improved. I can easily afford my children's shoes and clothes. » Denise MONNOU, wife of Norbert.
The BeniBiz trainings followed by their implementation had an impact not only on Norbert's entrepreneurial life, but also on his family life. Denise, his wife now manages to contribute to the expenses of the home thanks to the improvement of her income favored by the application of BeniBiz techniques relayed to her by her husband.
The Beninese government has set a target of exporting 300 000 tons of cashew nuts per year from 2021. In a context of climate change and the need to increase agricultural production to feed an ever-growing population, it is important, in order to achieve this goal sustainably, to promote climate-smart agriculture. Unfortunately, in the cashew sector, there is very little data on producers and practices adopted and on the state of cashew plantations in Benin. Aware of the potential of drone technology to improve the performance of agricultural sectors in Benin, TechnoServe Benin, in partnership with Global Partners, has been implementing since June 2019 in Benin, an innovative project called CajùLab (Mapping by drone for intelligent climate-related cashew production), financed by Wehubit (a digital development program) from Enabel (the Belgian Development Agency).
CajùLab aims to use drone mapping to promote climate-smart agriculture in the cashew nut sector. This large-scale project was presented on October 1rst 2019 at the TechnoServe Office in Cotonou in the presence of around a hundred participants including the TechnoServe Benin Staff, the IMPACT team from TechnoServe Inc, the press and about fifty representatives members companies of the Africa Goes Digital Consortium to participate in the capitalization workshop of experiences of use of drones in Africa which is held from October 1rst to 5th 2019 in Cotonou. Organized jointly by Technoserve Benin and Global Partners, a local company providing digital solutions in agriculture, the presentation session aimed to share the new project with the various experts present, to learn from other countries' experiences, receive suggestions for better organizing and implementing the data collection and analysis phase of the CajùLab project. The project will use drones and artificial intelligence to assess land use and management of cashew plantations, and identify areas of high environmental degradation. This will help better target producers who need capacity building in climate-smart agriculture.
« We aim to digitize the agricultural sector by modernizing the techniques of popularization, collection and analysis of statistical data, using ICTs, promoting mobile payments in the agricultural sector and digital traceability of products. To this end, TechnoServe works closely with the Territorial Agency for Agricultural Development Pole 4 (ATDA4) responsible for the cashew industry to use drones by targeting the producers that are needed, and thus ensure a better use of public resources with rapid and effective monitoring and evaluation. Through this public-private partnership, we intend to contribute to two aspects of the PAG, in particular the rapid growth of the cashew sector, and the digital sector at the center of Benin's development to make the country a platform for digital services. »James OBAROWSKI, Country Director of TechnoServe Benin.
Some technical details were also provided to the participants by Dr. Abdelaziz LAWANI, Managing Director of Global Partners: «UAVs offer images of greater precision than satellite images and are cheaper given the area to be mapped. In addition, compared to pineapple, the recognition of cashew trees will be easier to the algorithm that will be developed given the size of cashew trees.»
The project coordinator, Arsène Agossadou, gave the participants more details about the project. He said the implementation of CajùLab will put TechnoServe and its local partners in a leading position in the large-scale use of drones in agriculture.
As part of this project, an action plan will be developed to promote climate-smart agriculture in the production of cashew nuts in Benin. In addition, about 10,000 producers will be trained on environmentally farming practices. This will increase productivity sustainably while maximizing the environmental benefits of cashew production. The exchanges following the interventions corroborated the interest of the participants in the project given the different questions and suggestions made by the participants. According to Mr Giacomo Rambaldi, Principal Coordinator of the ICT Program at the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in Wageningen (the Netherlands), the widespread use of drones in Africa is to be strongly encouraged given climate change and the huge business opportunities this presents for young people like mobile phones. He encouraged the various actors involved in the project to continue the work for its success. This event allowed the participants to better understand the CajùLab project and to inquire about what is planned on a large scale with drones in agriculture in Benin. Some pictures of the presentation session!