Since November 2020, WE4F/PEEPA, and partner Energy For Impact (E4I), have been working on a project to improve rice production and processing in Benin through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.
One year later, in November 2021, the West Africa RIH Technical Advisor Michel Digbeu, had the chance to meet with the rice producers during a site visit to Benin. He was able to see not only the first successes, but also the challenges and needs within the joint project implemented by E4I. Together with E4I, trips were planned to all project areas: Banikoara, Gogounou, Ouaké and Tanguiéta in the North, and Ouinhi, Adjohoun, Dangbo and Adja Ouèrrè in the South.
Solar Solutions for Farms and Businesses
WE4F and E4I are working to help actors in the rice value chain adopt solar solutions for their farms and businesses and introduce energy efficiency measures to improve their production performance and profitability. The expected results are:
- Raised awareness on solar irrigation systems among rice sector actors.
- Energy audits in rice processing companies being carried out.
- Raised awareness among rice processing companies on the benefits of energy efficiency measures.
- Strengthened and better informed Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) supplier companies on the potential of demand using demonstration sites as models.
- Establishment of business relationships between producers, financial institutions, CPUE suppliers, and processors.
- Contributions to the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
- Contributtions to communication, learning, and knowledge building on the results of the project.
The mission’s 5 main activities were to:
- Visit the sensitized cooperatives: a total of 68 cooperatives (a total of 1858 small producers, 42% of whom were women) were sensitized in the targeted localities.
- Visit the 8 demonstration sites.
- Meet with 3 of the identified rice processing units.
- Meet with 2 microfinance institutions.
- Technical exchange with 3 suppliers and installers of solar equipment.
The activities carried out were very enriching and fruitful. According to the testimonies of the end-users, they believe that they will now be able to produce rice in the off-season, which was not the case in the past. In addition, the processing units estimate that they will be able to achieve an energy savings of 25-50% thanks to the energy efficiency measures.
“On behalf of my cooperative, I thank GIZ and its WE4F program very much for having thought of us producers with meager financial resources, by making us beneficiaries of this project. We are very happy to have benefited from this project. Now we know that the sun can produce energy to run a pump. This is really a miracle for us. This system will contribute to the increase of our production, our magazines and will also improve our working conditions.”
Testimony of Mr. YAROU, President of the Komorado cooperative in Banikoara
According to the producers, all of the benefits will contribute to an increase in income of at least 50% and a reduction in expenses related to the cost of diesel and electricity. The benefits of this project will be very beneficial for agriculture in general and for the rice sector in particular in Benin.
“I am very happy to have supervised this project, and to see on the ground that the majority of the planned activities are completed before the end of the project. During my mission, I was able to see the obvious interest and enthusiasm of the beneficiaries towards the project. Their willingness to abandon the usual traditional practices and adopt the new good practices that were shown to them really touched me. For my part, I am confident that the project’s achievements will be sustained because of the strong involvement and motivation of all the beneficiaries”
Michel DIGBEU WE4F Project Technical Advisor
Michel Peudre Digbeu, West Africa Regional Innovation Hub, Technical Advisor
Michel holds a master’s degree in Water and Environmental Engineering with a specialization in Water and Sanitation from the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou. Michel works as an environmental consultant at Cabinet Africain d’Etudes Environnementales in Ouagadougou. Since 2018, Michel is in charge of the environment at the Nitidae Association on a project of energy recovery of agro-industrial waste.