Patrice's favourite activity is to spend time in the lush green fields of the Cité Verte (Green City), near his home village of Gobada, in the Savalou district. When he is off duties from his customs officer job, he dedicates himself to agriculture and cashews.
The so called Cité Verte (Green City) covers 32 hectares out of Savalou, 20 of which are occupied by cashew trees. The first plantations date back to 2011 and were seeds produced by cashew nurseries in Benin. Agriculture has always been a great passion of the Ahokpossi’s family. Patrice’s father worked as farmer in the Ivory Coast and his uncle, who took care of him in Benin, was a forest ranger. Already before becoming a customs officer, Patrice had a good deal of experience within agriculture. Thanks to the Cité Verte of Gobada, that was right outside his doorstep, he could accomplish his dream of creating a modern cashew plantation. The BeninCajù team, which has been supporting the development of the Cité Verte throughout the years, praised Patrice’s and his management team’s efforts. The plantation applies the latest cropping techniques and uses high tech machineries; it also functions as a "training field" for students to perform their internships. In 2017, the Cité Verte welcomed visitors from the annual African Cashew Alliance Conference (ACA).
"My greatest hobby is farming"
"Agriculture was all I wanted to do and thought I would do in my life, before going into the public service" says Ahokpossi, who sees working in the fields as his only hobby. This explains his ability to perfectly combine his work and tasks as customs officer with the demands and challenges of owning a cashew plantation. “Agricultural entrepreneurship is very promising if well organized”, assures the entrepreneur, who always tries to encourage other civil servants like him, who are eager to invest in the cashew sector, to embrace the “farmer spirit”. This is one of the strategies that will allow Benin’s agricultural industry to increase not only its annual cashew nuts production but also and above all, its orchard yields. “Owning a cashew plantation doesn’t automatically link to success, what makes the difference is adopting best practices”, concludes Patrice Ahokpossi.