Every year, the international community celebrates International Youth Day on August 12. As a prelude to this day, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) organized a field mission to soak up the realities of young entrepreneurs supported through its projects. The mission took place from Tuesday July 26 to Friday July 29, 2022 in the departments of Zou, Atlantique, Littoral, Ouémé and Plateau.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Benin supports, in collaboration with its partners, youth through interventions aimed at promoting employment such as the Agribusiness Development Project in Benin (PDAB). This project is financed by the Government (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), India and the UNDP, which supervises its implementation.
A visit by some young entrepreneurs supported by the PDAB to the departments of Zou, Atlantique-Littoral and Ouémé-Plateau revealed their achievements, the effects induced by the support received from the project and the difficulties encountered.
From Abomey-Calavi, to Adja Ouèrè in the Plateau via Bohicon in the Zou, UNDP support through the PDAB has enabled young people to embark on self-employment and contribute to the creation of jobs and the local economy in their respective communities.
The PDAB for bankable projects
The Agribusiness Development Project (PDAB) aims to provide support for the organization/structuring of young entrepreneurs; facilitate access to financing for young entrepreneurs; ensure the viability, sustainability and competitiveness of their agricultural enterprises; assist in establishing contacts and access to the market; develop synergy between agricultural entrepreneurs by agricultural development pole. To date, the PDAB has achieved the following results:
. 775 young and female entrepreneurs selected and trained in the know-how and know-how of managing a business;
. 450 young and female entrepreneurs supported and strengthened in all links of the support chain for young SMEs: from the formalization of their business and the setting up of their business plan;
. 411 young and female entrepreneurs involved in the negotiation process to facilitate their access to financing by banks and microfinance institutions;
. 32 entrepreneurs (including 2 women) benefited from credit put in place by financing structures (4 companies for banks and 28 companies for MFIs);
. 191,215,899 FCFA and 170,138.00 FCFA are the amounts of loans granted respectively by Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs);
More than 70 million FCFA in preparation to be put in place in the form of credits to SME beneficiaries of the PDAB
The young people visited recognized the substantial contributions of the PDAB. Josiane Worou marries Adjallé, a former employee of a mobile phone company based in Benin who has become an entrepreneur. After training in agrifood, leading to a certificate as a food processor, she created the company Eyram Services et Fils, based in Hèvié in the town of Abomey-Calavi, specializing in the processing of pineapple juice. Thanks to the PDAB, Josiane was able to complete her training in marketing.
“We have received enough training on good hygiene practices, bookkeeping, taxation, marketing and commercial action,” she acknowledged. This has helped to improve her performance: “These training courses have improved our structure,” she confided. With its 30 employees, it achieves a turnover of 20 million FCFA per year, for a production capacity of 3 tons per day with a clientele that goes beyond the borders of Benin.
Like Josiane, Augustin Agonma based in Adja Ouèrè benefited from the support of the PDAB. A former resident of the Adja Ouèrè Agricultural High School, he specializes in pig farming, the processing of palm nuts into red oil, market gardening and food crops. Augustin Agonma also benefited from the services of the PDAB. “Our contact with PDAB allowed us to strengthen our capacities, training on the entrepreneurial idea, business management, clusters,” he said. Augustin Agonma welcomes the support for the formalities related to land, the development of his business plan as well as the connection with financial institutions and the exercise in the development of business plans. The contributions made it possible to increase its palm nut production capacity to 40 tons, or 322 cans of red oil.
For her part, Annick Mèdédji based in Ifangni, a former fabric dealer, became, after retraining, the promoter of the agro-fish farm, Shri Pradmnaya-Pradmnaya. It specializes in the production of fingerlings, single-sex tilapias, feed in the form of pellets and training in fish farming. Like the others, she benefited from capacity building in economic and financial management of a company, entrepreneurial spirit, conflict management and many others… “Before the arrival of PDAB, we worked without any planning, but today oday we operate on the basis of a chronogram,” she confided. With its contact with funding institutions by PDAB and support in the development of projects, its file is selected to receive a loan.
Kouton Rodrigue based in Porto-Novo specializes in raising laying hens for the production of table eggs. It also benefited from the support of the PDAB for capacity building and access to credit. As for Loveline Sènou, an agronomist based in Houèto in the 1st arrondissement of Ouidah, promoter of Ferme Agricole pour le Monde, she carries out activities related to the breeding of clarias fish, tilapia, rabbits and local chickens. His contact with the PDAB enabled him to acquire knowledge in management and to set up his business plan in the form of bankable projects. “The training received thanks to PDAB earned my file selection by a local bank to benefit from a loan of 25 million,” she said. A fund which, according to him, will be used to strengthen its operations through the increased production of fish and table eggs, fingerlings, more intense breeding of local chickens, the construction of stores and the establishment of a maggotry.
Euloge Kadjahou, promoter of the Sirac 1er establishment, an agronomist by training, is based in Bohicon in the village of Zoungoudo and specializes in raising rabbits and poultry. His contact with the PDAB dates back to 2018. He received training in business management and support in obtaining a loan. This made possible the purchase of equipment, the expansion of the herd, the strengthening of working capital and the purchase of equipment. Like Euloge, the promoter of the Miva-Avaa farm, Francis Yaovi Missohou, settled in Attogon, in the commune of Allada. It specializes in the processing of oilseeds and oilseed kernels into cakes and oil, in particular soybeans and palm kernel kernels. Its turnover, estimated at approximately 18 million per year, is made possible thanks to its collaboration with PDAB.
The greatest difficulty reported by the beneficiaries is related to land. The requirement of a guarantee for access to financing, in particular land with a land title, is not likely to make the task easy for young entrepreneurs. The support of the PDAB, in collaboration with the National Land and Land Agency (ANDF), however, facilitated the steps for several of them to start the process of obtaining the land title. “My major concern was the guarantee, but thanks to PDAB, I was able to easily obtain the land title for my plot,” said Augustin Agonma.