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International development

DEFIA project in Benin expands to include rice sector in addition to pineapple sector

February 1, 2021

In Benin, rice is the second most important grain produced after corn, and women play a key role in its production, processing and marketing. In addition, the rice sector has been targeted by local governments as adding significant value and having the potential to contribute to Benin's economic growth and food security.

To help Beninese rice producers improve their farming practices and boost their processing and marketing capabilities, Enabel, the Belgian development agency, has added the rice sector to the Développement de l'entrepreneuriat dans la filière ananas (DEFIA) project. Développement international Desjardins (DID) has participated in this project since 2020, with an initial role of financing pineapple sector operators.

Finance at the service of agricultural productivity and food security

Through this project, DID will strengthen the capabilities of local microfinance institutions to ensure that their financial services (including digital services) better meet the needs of rice producers. This will help create an environment that's conducive to the development of the value chain and to innovation. Improved access to financing will help producers obtain quality inputs and modern agricultural equipment, as well as spur job creation for young people and women. Thanks to this project, producers will be able to boost their productivity, earn a better income and promote food security for their families and communities.

The two-year project will involve 5 financial institutions that are already DID partners for the Appui au développement, à la professionnalisation et à l'assainissement de la microfinance (ADAPAMI) project, which receives financial support from the Canadian government:

  • Association de Lutte pour la promotion des Initiatives de Développement (ALIDé)
  • Promotion de l'épargne-crédit à base communautaire (PEBCo)
  • Union nationale des caisses rurales d'épargne et de prêt (UNACREP)
  • Faîtière des caisses d'épargne et de crédit agricole mutuel (FECECAM)
  • Réseau National des Caisses Villageoises d'Épargne et de Crédit Autogérées (RENACA)

Together, these institutions boast 166 points of service, representing 26.5% of the coverage provided by all accredited institutions in Benin's microfinance sector. Ultimately, the project will help more than 3,000 rice producers obtain financing from one of these institutions and facilitate access to their digital finance services for more than 7,000 people.

In 2021, Enabel also entrusted DID with a project to develop agricultural and women's entrepreneurship in Guinea.