Study trip for associations from Benin

by Nicole Bolomey

Nothing replaces personal contact between people. Especially when they come from different cultures and regions. There is no doubt that you learn better if you can inform and exchange information directly on the spot; experience and understanding are close together.

Every study trip confirms these principles. This was also the case in May 2019, when 30 representatives of six Beninese national farmers’ associations, together with some employees of the Beninese Ministry of Agriculture (DLROPEA), travelled with us for a week through the Münsterland region. The association representatives were accompanied by the client, the GIZ Green Innovation Centre (ProCIVA) from Cotonou.
The honorary and full-time representatives, mostly farmers themselves, came from the Beninese national associations of the soya, rice and poultry value chain. A youth association, seed producers and the national umbrella organisation were also represented.

The focus was on two closely related topics.

(1) How is German agriculture organised? Which forms of organisation are used in which way to optimally meet the needs of farmers?

(2) Which business models exist to ensure that member-based organisations remain sustainable; which services do they offer and how?

The AHA is grateful for the generous partners in the Münsterland region who opened their doors and gave our African participants an understanding of their work, business models, economic considerations and many years of experience and entertained us with great friendliness and joy. Among other things, we visited the Westfälisch-Lippischen Landwirtschaftsverband e.V. (Westphalian-Lippe Agricultural Association), the Maschinenring Warendorf-Münster e.V., the Experimental and Training Centre for Agriculture at Haus Düsse (LWK Nordrhein-Westfalen), the Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster GmbH, the Raiffeisen Vital Sauerland Hellweg Lippe eG, the Agravis, as well as the farms of the Schulze-Bockeloh and Selhorst families.

At the end of the week we divided the group into smaller topic-specific working groups to reflect on the experiences from the excursions and farm visits. Here the thematic focuses and related value chains were deepened – in each case together with experts, such as representatives of the UFOP, Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants e.V. as well as and with the Bund der Deutschen Landjugend e.V. (Association of German Rural Youth). (BDL). The direct exchange with the German representatives was very enriching for all sides.

The Author

Nicole Bolomey

Director AHA International

Services

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