The context

The project is concentrated in the Atacorà department, located in the northwest, on the border with Togo and Burkina Faso.

The department has experienced a strong dependence on the cotton production system for several decades, which has discouraged communities from investing in agricultural production for food. After the decline of the subsidized cotton system, communities are looking for productive differentiation and the local government itself has started to promote and invest in agricultural food supply chains.

The coverage of daily caloric needs does not exceed 1,300 kcal for the majority of the population instead of the 2,400 minimum required for an active adult. Children are the most vulnerable category: more than two-fifths of children under the age of five suffer from stunting and 39% of infant mortality cases are linked to malnutrition.


Boukoumbé, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin


Kouandé, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin


Natitingou, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin


Toucountouna, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin

The Objectives

The project, lasting 24 months, focused its attention precisely on the development of agricultural supply chains, involving in particular women gathered in groups, believing that they can play an important role in the development of rural areas and consequently defeat food insecurity.

The second axis of work was instead educational, both in Italy and in Benin, and responded to the need to recover and enhance local foods.

Project Details



Department of Atacorà, Municipalities of Boukoumbé, Kouandé, Natitingou and Toucountouna,


Over 2,000 women, 540 educators and teachers, more than 1,700 students

The Activities
  • The production and use of compost for women has spread following the appropriation of these techniques.
  • The new variety of white cassava with reduced cycle and better yields has spread over the entire surface of the geographical area covered by the project. The same goes for the adopted soybean and peanut varieties. Yields were up by 92.88% for soybeans and 244.89% for arichids.
  • 200 improved ovens were distributed among the various groups involved in the project. Totally made by local artisans with materials readily available on site, they will allow significant energy savings and a significant reduction in the work (purely female) of collecting firewood.
  • New machinery was introduced for the processing, storage and packaging of cassava, peanut and soybeans and their derivatives, creating local distribution platforms.
  • A microcredit system has been developed to support female small business.
  • The partnership with SLOW FOOD has fostered the advent of a food community in Kouba Kouba based on the gari. Eight missing local agricultural products have been identified, of which production fields have been created by the five women’s groups of the Kuba federation, as well as the local public primary school.
  • In Italy, the Mascagni middle school and the IPSIA institute in Melzo, the high school in Pioltello and a middle school in Gorgonzola, hosted experts on the subject of food to reflect on food sovereignty and food production chains. A blackboard was then produced that would collect a message for the students of Benin in order to create a dynamic of exchange and communication.
  • Research work on the wheat supply chain was started with 4 classes of the Anemoni elementary school in Milan. Wheat has already been planted, with areas dedicated to flowers, thanks to the collaboration of an expert horticulturist. The garden is worked by students who are equipped with tools. At the same time, in Benin, gardens of typical local products were created in two different schools. Classroom meetings focused on the exploration of the bread supply chain and the different players in the supply chain were recognized and what imbalances occur during production.
  • A Beninese actor/storyteller took care, through music and stories, to convey to Italian students the situation in Benin and its cultural traditions related to food.
  • Public primary schools in the municipalities of Toucountouna and Kouandé have pursued their gardening activities, receiving support through fences to protect the gardens, irrigation materials and agricultural equipment, as well as seeds. In addition, 450 fruit trees were delivered to 9 primary schools.
  • During the EXPO semester in Milan, the theatrical show “Food: sacred son of the divinity” was prepared and realized, through which the different typical products of the country, their cultural and nutritional value were presented.

Project Partners: