Ecological and organic plantain: a new model for income improvement and economic growth in Benin

R. Tokannou, A.G. Dassou, S. Tovignan, S.D. Vodouhè, R.L. Mongbo
In Benin, bananas and plantains are produced by households as a secondary crop next to dwellings or on small plots at very low density, without or with the use of synthetic chemical inputs. In 2018, Benin’s annual production was only 22,000 t. However, bananas and plantains are part of the population’s eating habits and are in high demand nationally and regionally. It is believed that improved plantain production systems could benefit producers, consumers, and the national economy. It is for this purpose and specially to promote banana and plantain production systems without synthetic chemical inputs that the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Project in Benin, started in 2019. These improvements concern in particular: tillage and application of organic amendments before planting, the planting material used, the planting density, and a solar operated irrigation system. The first results indicate a relatively heavy investment cost (up to 11,657 USD ha‑1), and light annual operating costs (2,331 USD year‑1 ha‑1) associated with improved production systems. The 1st cycle harvests are made between the 9th and the 11th month and those following every 7 months. On average, revenues per cycle amount to 8,160 USD ha‑1. Thus, the entire initial investment is depreciated within the first 2 harvest cycles. A projection over the first 4 years indicates an average annual income of 6,994 USD ha‑1. It emerges that an intensification of ecological and organic production of plantains will induce an unprecedented improvement in the average income of households/businesses and growth of the national economy through, among other things, the taxes to be collected on imports of solar equipment for irrigation. The main constraint to this agroecological intensification of plantain production remains access to initial investment funds for households and micro enterprises. It will therefore be necessary to put in place suitable financial mechanisms such as loans at moderate interest rates over a period of at least 18 months.
Tokannou, R., Dassou, A.G., Tovignan, S., Vodouhè, S.D. and Mongbo, R.L. (2023). Ecological and organic plantain: a new model for income improvement and economic growth in Benin. Acta Hortic. 1367, 63-70
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1367.7
Benin, income of households, irrigation system, organic amendment, organic production, plantain, planting density, solar pumps

Acta Horticulturae