Benin: agricultural entrepreneurship, a real solution to youth employment problems
After a short training of about six months in an agricultural business incubation center, the majority of young Beninese university graduates, hit by unemployment linked to the freeze on recruitments in the public administration from 1987 under the title measures to revive the country’s economy, have been converted in recent years into agricultural entrepreneurs.
“After obtaining my master’s degree in economics in 2014 from the University of Abomey Calavi, I completed a six-month training course at the Songhai project in Porto-Novo, where I specialized in animal production. Following this training, I was able to benefit from financial support from the government project for the promotion of agricultural entrepreneurship which allowed me to settle down ”, said Bernadin Sossou, a young rabbit breeder in the region. municipality of Abomey Calavi.
So, with a small rabbit farm just under two years ago, Mr. Sossou now has a large number of rabbits. “I deliver more than 400 kg of rabbit meat every month to restaurants and supermarkets in Cotonou at a price of 2,500 FCFA per kilo. So every month I make an inflow of more than one million FCFA, “he told Xinhua.
For Henriette Dossa, holder of a license in regional planning, who became by force of unemployment a farmer in Togba in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi, the agro-business that she opted for after years of unemployment, he not only to make ends meet, but also to provide for the financial needs of his brothers and sisters.
“I have a small artisanal pineapple juice factory, after a brief six-month training period at the Songhai project in Porto-Novo, where I was specialized in agro-food processing. With the financial support of the agricultural entrepreneurship promotion project, I was able to acquire two hectares of pineapple fields to start my factory activities. But today, with the profits that I realize from the sale of juice, I already have to my credit at least five hectares of pineapple fields that I intend to expand in the years to come ”, she said. Explain.
She claimed that her pineapple juice business is not only very profitable, but also her source of wealth.
Thus, with the success of many young entrepreneurs in the agricultural field, several thousand young unemployed Beninese graduates have engaged in agricultural entrepreneurship, by enrolling in the twenty agricultural incubation centers, spread over the entire territory of Benin.
Asked by Xinhua, Patrick Tossa, professor and researcher in economics at a university in Cotonou, estimated that this proliferation of young agricultural entrepreneurs in Benin, will not only solve the problem of unemployment, but also that of food security in the country.
“Benin records a visible underemployment rate of 31.5% and invisible of 50%, an unemployment rate of 14.3% among young people aged 15 to 29 working in the informal sector,” he added. he lamented.
Likewise, he stressed, in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), achieving sustainable progress in human development will remain wishful thinking without food and nutrition security.
“An essential component of human security, food security is essential for human development through food and nutrition”, he stressed, adding that Benin is full of enormous potential in the agricultural sector: earth, waters, people.
“With a proportion of 11.2% of the population enumerated as suffering from hunger in 2014, Benin achieved the MDG target 1.C which aims to + halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population who suffers from hunger. + Despite these performances, the country remains ranked among the nations of the world where the level of prevalence of hunger is worrying, ”he regretted.
Thus, he asserted that the massive orientation of young unemployed graduates towards agricultural enterprises will promote an increase in economic growth which will strengthen the fight against poverty in Benin in the years to come.