Agriculture top on Boni YAYI’s agenda
ANYWAY THAT IS THE MESSAGE HE IS EAGER TO CONVEY TO THE PEOPLE. ONE OF THE MAIN PROMISES BONI YAYI MADE DURING THE CAMPAIGN FOR 2006 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, IS TO SPEED UP ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT BY IMPLEMENTING AN AGRICULTURAL POLICY THAT WOULD INSURE FOOD SELF-SUFFICIENCY TO THE COUNTRY. NOW HE HAS BEEN TRYING TO SHOW HE IS STILL WILLING TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.
Boni YAYI has now been touring the country to meet farmers and consult them about what needs to be done for the beninese farming to develop. The farmers enumerate several demands that have to be met for the Government to achievement its purposes on agricultural development. After meeting the farmers in Atalantique-Littoral department and in Ouémé-Plateau department, the Head of State went to the northern region of the country.
Difficulties faced by the farmers are twofold. There are logistical issues regarding clearing, storing and conservation but also financing of the sector. The farmers suggest that a bank is set up to finance agriculture.
In response to these demands, President Boni YAYI promises to accelerate the reforms of the agriculture sector to enable producers of all sectors to diversify and to double their production.
Boni YAYI has promised once again to work diligently for mechanization of the farming. He reaffirmed his commitment to provide both the logistics and the technical assistance to insure this mechanization.
This is a message of hope that President Boni YAYI has wanted to convey to producers. «Our system produces more poverty than it creates wealth. But considering the population growth, we must go very quickly in order to reach food self-sufficiency. », said Boni YAYI. For the Head of the State, 422,000 hectares of farmland (among these 15% of the valley) belonging to the departments of Ouémé and Plateau are enough to feed all the Benin if we try to establish an agriculture development policy.
On the issue of agriculture development, Benin Government is engaged in a partnership with countries such as India and China. During his recent trip to India, the Benin Head of State had acquired tractors and other devices necessary for the implementation of agriculture mechanization.
Though, Boni YAYI’s courage, determination and willingness to develop the beninese agriculture must be praised, there are all of questions regarding land reform and the availability of the technical assistance. Many analysts raise a lot of questions about the success of the Government agriculture policy as in the past, Benin tried in vain to implement agricultural reforms.
Jérôme CARLOS who is a well-known columnist, historian and journalist argued that the country still has a long way to go before its ambitions regarding green revolution can be achieved: « …there will be no green revolution unless we care about training new generation of farmers that can ensure the safe continuation of farming activities. From this point of view, which education program have we put in place in our schools to support the announced green revolution? While it is true that there is not wealth other than men, we must be convinced that a new generation of women and men, armed with a new mentality and equipped with new knowledge and skills are needed to work as the major actors on the stage of our green revolution. »
Alfred Cossi CHODATON