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Republic of Benin ************* Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries ************** Roots and Tubers Development Programme (PDRT) ***************. SUPPORT FOR IMPROVING CASSAVA PRODUCTIVITY IN BENIN Paper presented by

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Republic of Benin


Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries


Roots and Tubers Development

Programme (PDRT)



Paper presented by

Idrissou BAKO, National Coordinator of the PDRT,

in the context of the IRTCM Workshop

(Douala, 14–16 November 2007)

outline of the presentation


1- Activities carried out

2- Results

3- Constraints

4- Future outlook


The PDRT began its activities in September 2001 for a period of 7 years. It is financed by IFAD, WADB and the Government of Benin.

  • General objective
    • To contribute sustainably to reducing poverty by increasing incomes and improving the living conditions of rural households in general and the most vulnerable rural women in particular.
  • Specific objective
  • To rationalize R&T production, processing and marketing activities for the benefit of disadvantaged rural households in agro-ecological zones suited to these crops.
  • Target groups
  • 330 000 rural households (R&T growers and processors, young people with or without schooling) with special attention to women.

Intervention approach

    • Participatory approach
    • Do–Do
  • (the programme team acts as supervisor in the identification,
  • mobilization and management of these external skills)
  • Programme organization: based on 4 components:
      • Support for improving productivity;
      • Support for processing and primary marketing;
      • Support for grass-roots institutions;
      • Programme management.

Improvement in cassava productivity

  • Specific objective
  • To ensure a sustainable increase in cassava productivity.
  • Anticipated results
  • 15 000 growers have gained knowledge about soil fertility management and have adopted it on 7 000 ha spread over 312 villages.
  • Specific inputs for cassava growing are available and accessible to growers.
  • Sustainable and appropriate technical packages for cassava growing are introduced.
  • Cassava yields have increased by 75%.

1. Activities carried out

  • Creation and/or strengthening of a support and advice mechanism for growers by making development and production advisers available to them;
  • Training and advice to growers on implementing the technical packages in general and fertility development in particular;
  • Formulation and implementation of a research and development programme to provide cassava growers with inputs (cassava cuttings, fertilizer etc.) and appropriate growing techniques for cassava;
  • Revitalization of cassava seed farms in the country and support to farmer-multipliers in establishing good-quality stockyards;

2. Main results

  • Research and development
  • Formulation of a research and development subprogramme on sustainable production of R&Ts in general and cassava in particular;
  • In collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin, development of:
    • The technical package for sustainable cassava production based on soil fertility management techniques (agroforestry, improved fallows, crop rotation, intercropping cassava with leafy, bush and grassy legumes),
    • 7 new drought- and disease-resistant cassava varieties,
    • 1 specific fertilizer formula for cassava.

Pre-extension and extension of the positive advances of research and development

  • In collaboration with the Directorate of Agricultural Advice and Operational Training, the programme undertook:
    • Pre-extension of innovations developed with research such as:
  • technical packages for sustainable cassava growing,
  • new varieties of cassava,
  • specific fertilizer formulas for cassava and yam;
  • Extension of techniques of:
  • rapid multiplication of cassava cuttings

Photo: Rapid-multiplication techniques for cassava cuttings


Boosting the skills of cassava growers

  • 312 village cassava growers’ groups set up, 249 of which already have a legal status for cooperative action;
  • 18 communal umbrella structures of professional organizations set up, all having an established legal status;
  • 272 local trainers identified and strengthened with regard to training and support for growers of R&Ts in general and cassava in particular;
  • Training of 12 000 cassava growers in technical packages for sustainable production of R&Ts in general and cassava in particular, on 799.5 ha of cassava demonstration plots.

Photo: Growers’ training session on a demonstration plot


Production of productive plant material

  • Establishment of a system to supply improved R&T seed to growers through:
    • In vitro production of 2 500 plants by the IITA and the Science and Techniques Faculty of Abomey Calavi University,
    • Planting of 21 ha of prebase cassava cuttings by the National Agricultural Research Institute (INRAB),
    • Planting of 107 ha of base cassava cuttings by the Directorate of Agriculture and multipliers on scattered farms,
    • Planting of 756.35 ha of certified cassava cuttings by farmer-multipliers in the villages covered by the programme,
    • Establishment of 22 scattered farms to produce base cuttings,
    • Establishment of a network of 312 multipliers of certified cuttings throughout the villages covered by the programme.

Photo: INRAB and Directorate of Agriculture production plots for prebase and base cassava plant material



  • 1 192 awareness-building sessions on the use of improved species of the “glyricedia” genus and specific developments organized
  • 674 487 ha of land with a highly degraded environment developed for growing R&Ts in general and cassava in particular


  • Improvement among small farmers in the productivity of R&Ts in general and cassava in particular through:
    • increase in cassava yields of 9 to 20 tonnes per hectare

Photo: Roots and tubers (cassava and yam) obtained from the application plots of the growers trained


Creation of a production and distribution chain for prebase, base and certified productive plant material of R&Ts in general and cassava in particular

Photo: A farmer-multiplier of base cassava cuttings

  • 3 650 ha of application plots using the technologies extended (improved varieties, rapid cassava multiplication techniques, use of specific fertilizers for cassava cultivation, improved fallows and intercropping of cassava with other legumes) established by the growers supported

Photo: Growers’ application plots using the settlement technique for yam and new varieties of cassava


Improvement in growers’ incomes thanks to receipts from improved harvests from application, demonstration and/or multiplication plots

  • Use of profits from the sale of harvests to contribute to the operation of consultative village committee (CVC) banks, investment in the growing of other crops, children’s schooling etc.

Photo: A house built by a grower using income from the sale of his yam harvest


Private actors and their roles in achieving the results

Individual growers:

- Participation in organized training

- Adoption of technologies learned during training

- Application of technologies learned on their own plots

- Production of certified cassava cuttings

Village growers’ groups:

-Organization of growers to participate in planned activities

- Establishment and management of demonstration plots

- Production of base cassava cuttings

Non-governmental organizations:

- Training growers in improved cassava production technologies

- Training and support to growers in applying improved cassava

production technologies on demonstration plots and their own farms


3 Constraints

1. The continuing problem of organizing the production chain for cassava planting material at three levels (prebase, base and certified), despite actions pursued in this area, for example with the Directorate of Agriculture.

2. The failure before the close of the programme to carry out extension of new varieties of cassava that are agro-ecologically suitable (high yielding and resistant to drought, disease and pests) and specific qualities for the manufacture of alcohol, starch and baking flour, introduced in association with the National Agricultural Research Institute.

3. The failure before the close of the programme to carry out extension of several sustainable cassava production techniques developed by research institutions in partnership with the PDRT, most of which are now at the pre-extension stage.


4 Future outlook

  • Boost the specific seed-producing mechanism for cassava, guaranteeing the availability of certified plant material for all production localities.
  • 2. Carry out extension on new varieties of cassava that are agro-ecologically suitable (high yields, resistance to drought, disease and pests) and have specific properties for the making of alcohol, starch and baking flour.
  • Bring the process of institutionalizing village-level cassava growers’ professional organizations to the national level.