Skip to main content

Supporting climate resilient agriculture in Benin

A farmer in northern Benin. Photo: UNDP Benin /Elsie Assogba

Government of Benin launches GEF-financed 'Sustainable Livelihoods' project with support from UNDP

6 March 2018, Benin - Climate change has negative impacts on food security and livelihoods in Benin, where 70 percent of the population, especially in rural areas, depend only on agriculture. To reduce the vulnerability of populations towards the negative impacts of climate change, the Government of Benin recently initiated a new project supported through UNDP and financed by the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund on “Sustainable Livelihoods.”

"There is an urgent need to find ways to strengthen the resilience of our populations toward this disruptive phenomenon. Innovative approaches will be needed to help agricultural stakeholders to anticipate and overcome shocks from these adverse effects of climate change and climate variability,” said Mr. Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, Senior Minister in Charge of Planning and Development. 

According to his remarks, the new project comes at the right moment, adding perspective and strategic reflection for the Government of Benin’s development plans, and achievement of goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. "I have one more reason to celebrate because it places a premium on climate change adaptation planning through capacity building for actors at both national and local levels," he added.

With a total cost of US$34,950,000 (including US$4,450,000 from the Global Environment Facility and UNDP), the Project for "Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihoods and Sub-national Government System to Climate Risks and Variability in Benin," was launched on February 10, 2018 in Ouaké.  It will be implemented over a five-year period, from 2017 to 2022, under the technical guidance of the Partnership and Expertise Center for Development (CePED). It ties in with pillars 2 and 3 of the Government's Program of Action.

Life in the municipality of Ouaké like other municipalities in Benin is being severely impacted by climatic variations, which are manifested by drought and hot weather, irregular rains as well as violent winds followed by heavy rains, according to the Mayor of the municipality of Ouaké. As a result, farmers no longer control their production cycle, and they are experiencing a decline in agricultural output, leading to a reduction in overall purchasing power.

"To eradicate poverty, the focus should be on building households and livelihoods resilience to shocks; this is essential for ensuring food and nutrition security and sustainable management of natural resources. There is a need to strengthen the capacity of the often-poor rural populations to manage the risks they face and to reduce their exposure and vulnerability in this regard," said Mr. Adama Bocar Soko, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Benin. He urged CePED, the project implementation partner, to make every effort to achieve the objectives assigned to the project.

The Sustainable Livelihoods Project is intended to  build the capacity of municipalities, departments, and all relevant ministries to integrate climate change risks and opportunities into development planning and budgeting processes; reduce the vulnerability of targeted communities to the negative impacts of climate change through technical training and smart investments in agricultural production and water management infrastructure; and improve the adaptive capacity of targeted communities by supporting the diversification of their income-generating activities.

It will benefit more than 10,000 farmers including 3,281 women in the municipalities of Bopa, Bohicon, Avrankou, Ouaké and Savalou through productive agricultural infrastructure. Given the predominance of rainfed agricultural activity in rural areas, project interventions will focus on agriculture, fishing/fish farming and some agri-food processing activities.

Available in French.

Isidore Agbokou - Team Leader Unité Développement Durable et Croissance Inclusive.