© Helvetas
Benin

Training and Inspiration for Young Farmers

© Helvetas

Farming, the way it has been done for generations, no longer appeals to young people. Many dream of moving to the city, but there is hardly any work for them there. Helvetas instills an entrepreneurial spirit in young farmers and imparts new ideas and methods of growing new kinds of produce, tapping new markets and making better use of the soil.

  • Project Name
    Anfanni, Dare to Be an Entrepreneur
  • Project Phase
    2017 to 2020
  • Funding
    This project is funded by donations.
  • Thematic focus
    Sustainable and Inclusive Economies

Rural youth with entrepreneurial spirit

“Youth represent promise, not peril,” then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a Security Council meeting in 2015. His call for a positive view of young people applies to ageing Europe as well as to developing countries, where up to half the population are under 18.

Helvetas is pinning its hopes on the youth of Benin. Three key factors are intertwined in project Anfanni, osez entreprendre (“Anfanni, Dare to Be an Entrepreneur”): First of all, vast tracts of farmland are under-utilized in Benin. Secondly, agricultural production is far from meeting the urban population’s growing food requirements. And thirdly, there are 2.2 million young people age 15 to 24 in Benin, most of them in rural areas, where they run their parents’ farms using traditional methods.

For real change

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© Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
Young people receive the know-how to become successful young entrepreneurs. © Helvetas/Stephane Brabant
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© Helvetas
If producers continue to process the harvest, they can make a higher profit from it. © Helvetas
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© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Breaking new ground in agriculture, which brings more income and more pride in one's own work. © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
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© Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
Farmers sell their organic vegetables on a subscription basis to urban families - a business model with a future. © Helvetas/Flurina Rothenberger
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The "Anfanni, osez entreprendre" project holds out new prospects for young farmers. In the first phase, 600 to 800 of them will learn to tap their farm’s unused potential using new products and techniques. They react to their buyers’ changed consumption habits and cultivate new sorts of vegetables. They are now starting to raise chickens and pigs and learning to process vegetables and fruits according to market standards. In a word, they are beginning to think along entrepreneurial lines. The target for the first phase of the project is to increase farm income by 20 to 30%. But we also seek to improve the image of farming as an occupation and restore young people’s pride in their work.

To this end, Helvetas works together with training centers, farmers’ organizations and private companies. Institutional and private actors in agriculture and education pool their forces in local consultative bodies to share and promote the project’s positive experiences, especially its entrepreneurial spirit, with the rest of Beninese society well beyond the confines of the project itself.

© Flurina Rothenberger
A young farmer attracts seedlings of new vegetables that are in demand on the market. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Flurina Rothenberger
In order to learn entrepreneurial thinking, the young farmers press the school bench. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Flurina Rothenberger
The learners of a training course with their documents, women are given special attention and young mothers can also participate in the programme. © Flurina Rothenberger
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© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
The two young entrepreneurs sell everything they need for organic vegetable cultivation in their business. © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
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Sustainable and Inclusive Economies

Economic growth does not always benefit the poor and poverty is bad for growth. We need to make a proactive effort to break this vicious cycle.

How Helvetas Supports People in Benin

Helvetas focuses its efforts in Benin on education and occupational integration and on the supply of clean drinking water.

Multimedia Story: Benin’s Urban Farmers

Find out how growing organic vegetables has changed day-to-day life for the better for many smallholders in Benin.