Diary from Benin

Traveling with Mani Tese’s President

June 15-27, 2016

Curated by Valerio Bini, Mani Tese’s President,
and Paolo Santagostini, researcher in geography and doctoral student at the University of Paris VIII

JUNE 15, 2016 – THE WOMEN OF MAKA AND KABARE’

Having landed in Cotonou two days ago, yesterday was spent on the long drive to Natitingou, in the Atacora region (Benin), where we arrived in the evening. 10 days of research in the villages of the municipalities of Natitingou, Toucountouna and Kouandé liea head to observe the progress of the project in support of women’s […]

JUNE 16, 2016 – AGROECOLOGY IS NOT A LUXURY FOR RICH COUNTRIES

This morning we met Kader Toko, Director of the “Promotion of supply chains” sector of the local structure of the Ministry of Agriculture. The aim of the meeting was to understand the situation of cotton in the region. Until 2004, in fact, cotton was a very profitable crop, but the lowering of the price on […]

JUNE 17, 2016 – THE DANCE OF WOMEN

In the villages of Tectibayaou, Tampatou and Borokonné, in the municipality of Toucountouna, we meet three groups of women who, with local songs and dances, create a festive frame in the morning. Thanks to the translation work of Louis, the animator of the project in this municipality, we discuss the progress of the project with […]

JUNE 20, 2016 – IN TIGNINTI BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS AND SOYA CULTIVATION

We are in Tigninti, a few kilometers south of Natitingou. Here the proximity to the city creates a strong pressure on the environment: trees are cut down to produce coal and the resulting environmental damage is in no way offset by the modest economic benefits. In these villages, the activation of local agri-food networks therefore […]

JUNE 21, 2016 – LOCAL FOOD IS THE MOTOR OF LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

The road to Kouba is lined with cashew trees. Along with cotton, the cashew nut is the great commercial crop of the area and is the symbol of the new globalization. Dramane, the driver, tells us that cashew nuts are harvested in the villages by trucks serving large Indian and Brazilian companies. Mani Tese has […]

JUNE 22, 2016 – AT WORK IN THE MANIOC FIELDS!

We arrive at the village of Tampegré, in the municipality of Toucountouna, after a night of torrential rain. In the fields, which in recent days were almost empty, today we see the farmers taking advantage of the first rains to prepare the “hillocks” of land that will host the cassava plants. It is hard work, […]

JUNE 23-24, 2016 – IN NATITINGOU AND KOUBA

Day 7 Natitingou Mani Tese’s headquarters in Natitingou is located in a quieter suburb, where you can enjoy a view of the city that fades into the hills of Atakora. Today is a meeting day. In the presence of all the staff we discuss the first results of the mission: the three municipalities involved in […]

JUNE 25-26, 2016 – BETWEEN COTTON, GARI AND MANIOC

June 25, 2016 Parakou We begin the return to Cotonou, where the plane awaits us to return to Italy. Today we arrive in Parakou, the third largest city in the country and the economic capital of the north-central area. The history of Parakou is closely linked to cotton which, since the time of colonization, arrived […]

JUNE 27, 2016 – LAST DAY IN BENIN

Today is our last day in Benin. Cotonou, the country’s economic capital, is very far from the villages of the project, not only in terms of distance: the traffic of cars and mopeds, exasperated by the seasonal rains, has little to do with the life of the Atakora farmers. The only trace that connects us […]