For many years, rice trade in Benin was marked by massive import from Asia and Nigeria, Benin’s eastern neighbour and the most populated African country. A situation that jeopardised rice production in Benin.
Nowadays, the trade borders for rice import and export with Nigeria are closed, and the government of Benin has the clear desire to curb Asian rice imports, ensuring food self-sufficiency in Benin. The production target is one million tonnes of paddy rice by 2022.
The strong focus on increased production means more land needs to be sown, and requires more fertilisers, pesticides and water. Under these conditions, how is it possible to grow rice without negatively affecting the environment in a context of climate change? It is therefore vital to equip farmers' organisations to ensure that their members adopt sustainable production practices.
For many years, Rikolto has been working with the regional rice growers’ organisation UNIRIZ-C (Union des Riziculteurs du Centre) in Benin’s Collines Department to market locally produced white and parboiled rice, under the brand name “Saveur des Collines”.