Promoting SMEs in the agricultural sector

The Swiss Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has launched a special initiative entitled “One world without hunger” to be implemented by bilateral and multilateral development cooperation to improve incomes, food security, and nutrition in a number of developing countries and emerging economies. 

In addition, as part of the Strategic Plan for Agricultural renewal (PSRSA), the Green innovation centres for the agriculture and food sector programme (GIAE) is being implemented under the direction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP) and aims to increase incomes and employment while improving food security. The programme targets smallholder farmers and SMEs, improving the transfer of innovation in various value chains.

The programme in Benin is based on three “fields of action”:

Field of action 1 : innovation implemented by smallholder farmers
Field of action 2 : innovation implemented by SMEs across the three VCs
Field of action 3 : implementing an innovation process for SMEs in the VCs

Field of action 2 involves supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to introduce innovations in order to improve productivity and employment using the SME Business Training and Coaching Loop. In order for key activities to help operationalize this intervention area, it is necessary to arrange contracts with service providers with confirmed expertise in supporting SMEs to implement the SME Business Training and Coaching Loop. It is within this framework that Swisscontact has won a mandate from the Green Innovation Centres for the Food Processing Industry Programme (ProCIVA) to support 1,000 SMEs with the SME Business Loop approach. This mandate began in December 2015 and will conclude in November 2017.

The Project

The project will improve productivity, increase revenue, and generate employment for SMEs in the rice, soybean, and poultry sectors in the Borgou, Alibori, and Zou Collines regions.

More specifically, the project will:

  • evaluate the entrepreneurial capacities and training needs of selected SME developers
  • train selected SME developers
  • coach entrepreneurs who participated successfully in training sessions
  • write a progress report for the incomes of businesses that have received coaching
  • facilitate access to financing for businesses

The project target population includes 1,000 SME food processors working upstream and downstream from producers in the rice, soybean, and poultry value chains.


The expected results are as follows:

  • Employment in the rice, soybean, and poultry/livestock value chains will have increased in the supported SMEs both upstream and downstream, including at least 700 new seasonal jobs; at least 20% of jobs created will be for youth and 35% for women.
  • Average profitability of work and/or capital across supported businesses in target value chains will have grown by 100%.
  • 1,000 entrepreneurs all along the supported value chains will have participated in basic and advanced trainings and advisory services, with at least 35% of beneficiaries being women and 20% youth.

Project countries

  • Benin

Project duration

2015 - 2017


  • GIZ

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97