BENIN – The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries aims to increase national production of paddy rice to 1 million tonnes by the end of 2025 as the country strides towards acceleration food security.
According to the statement by the ministry, the initiative is part of the National Strategy for the Development of Rice-Second Generation (SNDR 2) implemented in 2019 by the Territorial Agency in charge of the development of agricultural Pole number 1 (ATDA 1).
In Benin, rice is the second most consumed cereal after corn with current demand estimated at 531,000 tons. However, the country imports almost half of its demand as only 21% of the country’s arable land is used for agriculture.
According to authorities, the initiative seeks to not only raise the acreage under rice cultivation but also increase the yield to an average of 5 tonnes per hectare against 3.5 tonnes currently.
To achieve this, the executive intends to strengthen its support, in particular through aid for mechanization and the supply of inputs in sufficient quantity.
This will encourage producers to increase the area cultivated with rice to 215,000 hectares over the next two years compared to an area of 126,700 hectares sown in 2021.
The initiative mainly targets the municipalities of Malanville and Karimama located in the north of the country which account for approximately 30% of the cereal supply.
“The stated ambition is unequivocal: to produce enough rice to guarantee food security, improve the incomes of actors in all links in the sector, ensure social well-being, and impact the Gross National Product and the national economy,” read the press release.
Benin sends its first shipment of processed cashew nuts to the United Arab Emirates
Meanwhile, Benin has exported 32 tonnes of processed cashew nuts to the United Arab Emirates, marking the first export after the government banned raw cashew nut exports in an attempt to boost local processing.
Last year, in an ambitious move to boost cashew processing in Benin, the government banned raw cashew nut exports effective April 1st, 2024.
The export ban was published in decree 2022-214 which set the conditions for the 2021/22 cashew marketing year.
According to the government, the development of the domestic cashew industry could see Benin’s Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone (GDIZ) house several cashew processing plants, with a combined capacity of 110,000 mt.
In terms of value, cashew nuts are Benin’s second most important agricultural export, after cotton, and raked in more than US$48 million in 2021.
Currently, the country produces around 200,000 tonnes of cashew nuts a year. However, the actual processing represents only about 10% of the cashew harvest is processed each year.
According to executives, India is currently the largest destination for Beninese raw cashews, but should Benin process all cashews domestically by 2024, it could lead to major changes in its trade flow.