Fresh from the August 2014 regional training and workshop in neighboring Togo, the Benin WAAPP host organization PROCAD held the first training in November of an initiative designed to mainstream SRI in the important Ouémé River Valley in the southern part of the country.
The training was held at the Hotel Behova in Dangbo, just northwest of Benin’s capital city, Porto Novo, from November 12th to 14th. Sixty farmers partook, with the training led by Dr. Pascal Gbenou, former West Africa head of rice for the West African Network of Farmer’s and Agricultural Producer’s Organizations (ROPPA) and founder of the nearby agricultural training school SAIN, and Antonin Akiyoko, an SRI trainer frequently active in central and northern Benin with the NGO DEDRAS. Participating farmers cultivate lowland rainfed fields, many with improved water management techniques. Over the course of the next few years future trainings of trainers and relay trainings will extend SRI to an estimated 5,000 farmers in the area.
Pascal was instrumental in introducing SRI to the area and to Benin in 2009 after first learning about it while in Madagascar.
All photos by Anne-Marie Mitchell