The western African country of Benin has received funding to set up an Agricultural Innovation Centre from the federal German ministry for economic development (BMZ). The Green Innovation Centre which is being supported by the Benin Agriculture ministry is set to boost the level of productivity among small scale farmers.
BMZ has given 2.7 million euros to AfricaRice for the implementation of the centre’s activities for the years 2016 and 2017. The main aim of the centre is to educate small scale farmers as well as creating jobs for youth and women.
“Researchers will develop a set of services and innovation that will serve as youth training tools and help increase sustainable productivity and incomes of agricultural producers”, that is According to Bernard Marc Winfried, knowledge management specialist at AfricaRice
“The main gap that the centre seeks to close is the low capacity of the present extension service. The activities will decisively improve access for farmers and traders to advisory, technical and business development services,” Winfried explained.
BMZ’s minister, Gerd Muller has explained that agriculture doesn’t just only need water and fertiliser but also knowledge and innovation.
National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin’s General Manager, David Arodokoun has praised the creation of the centre. Arodokoun explained that, ‘a development without innovation technology is a blind development.’
According to arodokoun, ‘african countries have not understood and managed to develop innovative technologies’, and hopes the centre could also help create innovations that are friendly to the environment and can address climate-change related impacts.
The centre will benefit youth and women in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia and Zambia