ORGANIC AGRICULTURE - ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS - GENDER: BENINCAJU INSTRUCTS AGRICULTURAL TECHNICIANS OF NASSARA COMPANY
In its implementation, the BeninCajù project for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in Benin, funded by the USDA and executed by TechnoServe Benin and CRS, includes a Fund for Innovation and Enterprise Development (FIDE). This fund is intended to complement ongoing interventions of the BeninCajù project to promote and accelerate innovation and adoption of improved technologies, and to fill short-term gaps in cashew sector investment financing.
Nassara, a pioneer in Benin in the production, processing and export of organic and fair trade certified cashew nuts, and promoter of a factory processing organic cashew nuts into white almonds, is a beneficiary of the FIDE to secure its supply chain from producer cooperatives.
As such, several activities are conducted including training organized for the benefit of women and men technicians of the Company. During the month of November 2020 and for 9 days, they participated in training sessions on five major topics: the basic principles of organic agriculture and the specificities of organic and fair trade certification standards; the deployment of Farmforce software; the gender approach; contractualization, and the organizational dynamics of cooperative societies. Read more here.
Native of the town of Bohicon, 125 km from Cotonou, Melanie, 32 years old, was born into a family of farmers. She studied in primary and secondary schools, then obtained a university degree in Marketing and Commercial Action. Passionate about mathematics and with her scientific baccalaureate, she taught this subject for two years.
" I was doing the shift work and it was very difficult to find hours to teach. I had to deal with several unknowns including the uncertainty of having a contract during the school year, and the lack of income during vacations and vacations." Melanie AKOHA.
Married and mother of 3 children, Melanie lives with her small family in Bohicon. She knew about the BeninCajù, project in 2015, when one of the Managers informed her that the Fludor processing plant was recruiting. It was the first factory created in the area. Curious and interested, she submitted her application, passed the test and was selected. Today she manages the cutting section of the factory with more than 200 women under her supervision.
" As soon as I joined the cashew factory thanks to the project, BeninCajù trained us for two months on the whole cashew transformation process. I have gained a lot of experience since then and I master all the steps, especially in the "shelling" section that I manage. The factory is located not far from my home and the benefits are better than in the vacation. Today, I work in a secure professional environment. I have a regular monthly income and there are periodic increases. This allows me to easily support myself and my family. I am very proud and comforted by my financial freedom. " Melanie AKOHA.... Read more here.
The National Federation of Professional Buyers of Agricultural and Tropical Products (FENAPAT) is an association of Beninese professional buyers of agricultural and tropical products. It is governed by the law of July 1, 1901 relating to contracts of association and the decree n°2001-234 of July 12, 2001 fixing the conditions of existence and the modalities of operation of Associations, Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) and their umbrella organizations.
FENAPAT is the grouping of five (05) Groups of Buyers of Agricultural Products at the regional level called GAPA. Its main objective is "the organization, professionalization and training of its members, the internal mobilization of resources and the negotiation of material and financial means that can allow the implementation of its actions for the development of the cooperation of buyers.
Aware of the economic stakes and the great challenges to be taken up by the Beninese private sector to improve the living conditions of its members, create stable and occasional jobs and contribute to the improvement of the Beninese economy, FENAPAT decided to undertake with the technical support of the BeninCajù project a series of actions to strengthen the capacities of the companies, members of FENAPAT. Among these, the training on the measurement of KOR (Kernel Outcome Results) is listed.
Indeed, in the marketing process of raw cashew nuts, several quality criteria determine the price to be paid by exporters. The main criteria, listed in most of the commercial contracts, are among others: moisture, presence or absence of foreign matter (sand, plants), defectiveness, grading, phytosanitary criteria, homogeneity and consistency of quality.
The KOR is therefore a measure that is taken on raw nuts, at the time of purchase by large buyers and exporters or between buyers and producers. It is a major element in the marketing of cashew nuts. It should be noted that many buyers do not know what KOR is or how to determine it.
In order to fill this gap, a series of free itinerant trainings of three (3) days each was conducted in Allada, Kétou, Parakou, Glazoué and Savalou during the months of November and December 2020 for the benefit of the actors members of FENAPAT divided into several classes of 20 per sessions to respect the barrier gestures of COVID-19. Read more here.
FINANCING THE CASHEW NUT INDUSTRY IN BENIN: BENINCAJU PROJECT INITIATES THE SFD GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM
Since September 2015, TechnoServe and CRS have joined forces under the banner of BeninCajù, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA to strengthen a sustainable cashew sector in Benin. One of the components of this project is Access to Finance (A2F), which aims to improve access to financial services for several actors in the cashew sector in Benin.
This is justified because it is no secret that in sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly in Benin, financing is identified as one of the main constraints to the development of agriculture, as well as the secondary and tertiary sectors, of which it is the foundation. In Benin, this financing is essentially provided by decentralized financial systems (DFS) supported by projects/programs that accompany the agricultural sector via financing mobilized outside Benin.
However, it must be said that cashew financing is faced with several constraints marked by the lack of choice of financial services available to producers, but also the lack of knowledge by the DFS of the potential clientele available in the cashew production zones.
Indeed, multiple experiences carried out in several countries reveal sufficiently that the promotion of cashew nut production financing is ensured only with minimal conditions of success among which, are in good place, the accessibility of all the producers to financial services of proximity, to a varied range of adapted financial services. And to better identify the impact of services related to production financing, it is essential to have geo-referenced data on the coverage of cashew nut production areas by the SFD.
It is in this perspective that BeninCajù proceeded to the realization of a geographical information system of the SFD and launched a program of professionalization of the SFD in order to facilitate the setting in relation between these and the beneficiaries of the project. This information will help the SFDs to improve their service offer on the one hand, and the cashew producers' knowledge of the availability of financial services on the other.... Read more here
CASHEW INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT IN BENIN: APIEX AND BENINCAJU JOIN FORCES TO EVALUATE THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR INVESTMENT
In its strategy of acceleration of the cashew nut sector in Benin, the BeninCajù project, through its component ''Sectoral Policies and Institutional Supports'', ensures among others, the technical assistance to the public institutions and to the actors of the Interprofession of the cashew nut sector, the harmonious institutional development of the sector, the sensitization of the public and private actors, the technical assistance to the whole of the actors in particular to the service providers of the transformation industry. Within this framework and based on the priority that the Government of Benin attaches to the development of the cashew nut sector to make it attractive, generating employment and income, the BeninCajù project initiated, in partnership with APIEX, a study focused on the rules and regulations related to the investment environment, the organization of the various actors in the sector, access to credit and market-oriented policies and programs to support the State's ambition to create a favorable environment for cashew nuts in Benin so as to identify long-term growth opportunities in the context of a rapidly changing global market.
Indeed, despite all the efforts aimed at increasing the total production of raw cashew nuts from 130,000 to 300,000 tons through 60,000 hectares of new cashew plantations, and the local processing of at least 50% of the national cashew production, several challenges remain to be met to release the full potential of the country in the cashew sector. These include the rules governing the investment-friendly environment. It is in view of this observation that, following the above-mentioned study, the BeninCajù project organized, in partnership with APIEX on December 3, 2020, a workshop to validate the study's findings and conclusions.... Read more here.
From left to right: Laurent GANGBES, General Manager of APIEX - Nicholas MANCUS, Chef of Party of the BeninCajù project - Edouard ASSOGBA, President of the Cashew nut industry Interprofession. Cotonou, December 3, 2020
Born in the commune of N'dali, 474 km from cotonou in northern Benin, Roméo Garadima, in his forties, is an accountant by training. Married and father of two children, he is passionate about agriculture, especially cashew which he started 12 years ago in association with other crops such as corn and soybean which he grows on an 8-hectare plantation. Roméo is also a butcher.
In 2015, he received a visit from the BeninCajù project agents who advised him on the spacing of trees to be pruned.
I joined the BeninCajù project in 2015. I was producing 800 kg of cashew nuts per season at that time. I had no agricultural or business skills. I received training in N'dali, Dassa, Bohicon on plantation maintenance techniques, good production, harvesting and post-harvest practices and crop association. The application of this knowledge has allowed me to increase my yield. Currently, I produce 3000 Kg of nuts per year''. Romeo GARADIMA. More details here.
WOMEN AND ACCESS TO LAND IN THE CASHEW SECTOR: OPPORTUNITIES OF THE NEW LAND AND STATE CODE OF BENIN (3)
* Today, the cashew nut industry is one of the key springboards for improving incomes and creating jobs, particularly in rural areas. As a result, the Government of Benin's Action Program has selected cashew nuts as one of the priority sectors to be promoted within the framework of agricultural diversification. In addition, many Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs), including the US Department of Agriculture USDA through the BeninCajù Project implemented by TechnoServe Bénin in partnership with CRS, two US NGOs, are joining forces with the government to invest more in the development of this sector, which is emerging in Benin as an interesting alternative to cotton, along with pineapple, rice, oil palm, cassava and soybean.
However, in spite of this growth, and although they are heavily involved in the sector, women still face difficulties in the production chain, particularly with regard to their access to factors of production. In fact, they have responsibilities in harvesting, drying and related tasks, semi and harvesting of crops associated with the plantations (necessary food production). They participate in the activities, either independently on their own farm or on the family farm (husband's field), whether or not they are paid. Nevertheless, very few of them are owners of large farms.
Indeed, at the global level, it should be remembered that women produce more than 50% of the world's food; they represent only 13% of the owners of agricultural land. (FAO). At the national level (BENIN), the analysis of the agricultural situation shows that :
* Women are users of land that is sometimes of poor quality. Her conditions of access are determined by her marital status: unmarried girl, woman married alone or in a polygamous marriage (in this case, the rank of the wife counts), divorced or widowed woman, wife with or without children, etc., the number and sex of her children.
* 12% of women have access to land by inheritance
* 15% of women own plots of land
* 2% of the women own the land they work.
* 19% of rural women have access to land.
In view of this situation, the Government of BENIN has developed a legal mechanism for equal access to land for women and men. As a result, the BeninCajù project, through its "Gender" component, trains its beneficiaries by popularizing the opportunities offered by the new land and state code in Benin. The month of September was once again marked by information and sharing sessions, with the objectives of enabling them to better understand the law and its implementing decrees; then to equip gender focal points to seize the opportunities offered by the land and state code for access to land and land security.
During these sessions, various points of attention were discussed.
Read more details here.
In 2016, the BeninCajù project for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in BENIN, funded by USDA and implemented by TechnoServe Bénin in partnership with CRS, was launched. Benefiting producers, processors, professional associations of the cashew sector, and public structures concerned with the development of the sector, the general objective of BeninCajù is to strengthen and expand the cashew sector and make it more productive and profitable for the benefit of Benin's socio-economic development.
BeninCajù implements its activities through 6 components namely: Production, Cashew Nut and Apple Processing, Sector Policy-Institutional Support, Access to Finance, Gender, and Producer Support. The Access to Finance component strengthens the capacities of small and large financing institutions and deals with the relationship with clients. It includes a grant fund which is the Fund for Innovation and Enterprise Development (FIDE). The objective of FIDE is to complement the ongoing interventions of the BeninCajù project to promote and accelerate innovation and the adoption of improved technologies, and to fill short-term gaps in financing investments in the cashew sector.
Two actors in the sector, including NASSARA BENIN, beneficiaries of FIDE, have already been supported by this fund on various projects in connection with producers and the subsidy lines approved by BeninCajù in this regard amount to nearly 150 million FCFA. NASSARA is a pioneer in Benin in the production, processing and export of certified organic and fair trade cashew nuts.
More details here.
Visite d'une plantation d'anacardiers bio à Nikki par BeninCajù.
For women and girls in the developing world, COVID-19 exacerbates existing inequalities and creates new challenges. In Benin, cashew producers like Elisabeth ATCHADE must juggle many responsibilities, including earning money for the household while taking on most of the duties including childcare. Find out here, how the BeninCajù project is helping women meet these challenges and emerge even stronger from the crisis.
In the expectation to accompany cashew nut producers to a better redevelopment in accordance with the OHADA Uniform Act relating to the law of Cooperative Societies (AUSCOOP), the BeninCajù project gives all its support to the actors of the sector.
During the month of August 2020, a two-day reflection and planning workshop on the redevelopment of the cooperative movement - Cashew sector - FENAPAB was organized by the ''Support to producers'' component of the BeninCajù project. It was in Komiguéa, in the north of Benin, with the active participation of several structures such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIC), the Departmental Directorate of Agriculture, of Livestock and Fisheries (DDAEP), the Agency for the Promotion of Imports and Exports (APIEX), the Chamber of Agriculture, the Interprofession of the Cashew Industry (IFA), the Technical and Financial Partners (PTFs), the FENAPAB networks - Producer Organizations (POs).
For the thirty or so participants, these two days of reflection focused in particular on:
1. A reminder of the context of the workshop and a brief overview of the provisions of AUSCOOP relating to the structuring of the cooperative movement;
2. The presentation and discussion of the different structuring options;
3. The elaboration of an action plan for restructuring;
4. The establishment of a restructuring support committee;
5. The presentation of the professionalization program of BeninCajù ;
6. The evaluation-synthesis of the workshop and determination of the next steps.
The series of speeches delivered respectively by the President of FENAPAB, the BeninCajù Head of Mission, the Director of Internal Trade Promotion of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, then the APRM Technical Adviser on Takeover Bids, highlighted the importance of the cashew nut sector for the country's economic development. Read more here.