In Benin, the Group Input Purchase Credit (GIPC), which aims to improve access to inputs, was put forward and tested in a pilot phase during the 2019 campaign to give producers access to an adequate quantity of quality inputs in a timely manner.
The GIPC was launched in Nikki, Kalalé and N’Dali by Centre financier aux entreprises du Nord, an entrepreneur financial center (EFC) affiliated with the FECECAM cooperative network. The product’s objective is to allow for a rapid increase in agricultural productivity through group loans. The GIPC is intended for local farmer organizations formally turned into cooperatives, which distribute it to their members who are willing to follow the technical steps required and to acquire inputs from accredited suppliers. The credit amount is determined based on the acreage members wish to put into production. An extra amount per hectare, paid in cash, is added to the input value to allow producers to work the fields.
This credit differs from a typical input credit, since it applies value chain funding principles that:
- Enable small-scale farmers to acquire all the inputs necessary to maximize their income
- Ensure the quality of the inputs financed and that they are available when necessary
- Strengthen farmers’ skills and foster a more efficient way of doing things
- Improve production quality and facilitate entry into the marketplace
Record yields thanks to the GIPC
During the pilot phase, the lowest yields recorded all exceeded the previous yields of participating farmers, even when the technique used wasn’t ideal. "The increase in yields is directly related to proper inputs used at the right time and in the right way thanks to the training. The lowest yields went from 500 to 1,500 kg/ha, with a record 2,800 kg/ha. It’s unreal! FECECAM provided very prompt assistance, helped put files together, and offered support that was greatly appreciated," said Mr. Kinnou of the Nikki municipal cooperative.
After a positive preliminary assessment, FECECAM plans to test the product on a larger scale with a view to releasing it throughout the network.