Monday, 23 September 2013

Green Action Fund helps organic farming in Benin

Romain Houehou of CI Member League for the Consumer Defense in Benin (LDCB) explains how, thanks to the Green Action Fund,  his organization is helping to improve consumer awareness of organic farming in Benin.

Lessan is a smallholder farmer in the small district of Kpakpaza in Glazoue, which lies in central Benin. She has been cultivating rice for 20 years now, using traditional organic methods.

In addition to climate change challenges, Lessan’s situation is compounded because she could not make profits from her agricultural crop due to poor sales.  Many times, she had to sell out the rice at cut price.

Lessan said: “VECO West Africa [an international Belgian non profit organisation working to develop organic farming] has helped us to increase our production. Your [Green Action Fund] campaign will contribute in increasing commercialisation of our crop.“

The LDCB campaign aims to:
  • strengthen the contact between producers groups and consumers for the promotion and consumption of healthy foodstuffs from organic farming, including local rice,
  • draw on the locally grown organic rice to show the importance of organic farming for a healthy and sustainable food consumption, 
  • show the dangers associated with the use of pesticides,
  • raise consumer awareness on the actual quality indices of food, especially local rice, and encouraging smallholder farmers using organic methods of production.
It is hoped that, in meeting these aims, the campaign will spark interest in marketing and consumption of locally grown rice, for the benefit of struggling rice farmers.

We also plan to create  an infomercial on local rice and organic farming, as well as drafting a buying guide for local rice.

:: This year’s Green Action Fund seeks to highlight some of the problems associated with irresponsible use of pesticides in farming’ and to drive consumer awareness and demand for food that is produced using alternative techniques that are not damaging to the health of consumers, farmers and the wider community, or to the environment.

:: Romain Abil√© HOUEHOU, President of the League for the Consumer Defense in Benin (LCDB) met Lessan as part of a campaign to be held in October. It is supported by the Green Action Fund which is run by Consumers International (CI) in partnership with the Swedish Society for Nature and Conservation (SSNC) and made possible by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 

Find out more on CI’s dedicated Green Action Fund Facebook page.

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