Rice is one of the staples of the Beninese diet. Rice is grown in Benin, but yields are relatively low. Therefore, much of the rice is imported, mainly from Asia.
To intensify rice farming in a cost-effective, participatory and sustainable way, we launched the Smart-valley approach in collaboration with Eclosio, the NGO of the University of Liège. That innovative approach focuses on better water management, inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, and soil fertility in the lowlands or bas-fonds. Our agronomists and the various rice growers were thoroughly trained in it.
Experts and rice growers who already apply the Smart-valley approach point out its many benefits, such as better water retention in the fields and more rational use of seeds and fertilizers.
Smart-valley is based on a three-phase methodology: water management infrastructure design, development and construction. It integrates socioeconomic and biophysical factors and extensively uses farmers’ knowledge.
The first project will occur in the villages of Yéroumarou and Bouyéro, each with about 30 rice growers. These villages were selected based on some criteria. First, there is a lowland or bas-fonds in the region. Second, the rice growers are willing and committed to try the new approach. A final important consideration is that the mayor of N’Dali fully supports the project and has given permission to use some of the lands.
The rainy season is fast approaching. Therefore, our agricultural consultants are working hard with the rice growers to make plans and prepare the land. The lands can now be further laid out and cultivated.
The agroecological Smart-Valley approach is currently being tested in several African countries.