Rural Economic Development Support Programme PASDER

The agricultural sector employs around 70% of the working population in Benin, most of whom live in rural areas. It contributes nearly 33% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides about 75% of export earnings and 15% of government revenue. This sector is characterised by stable growth and strong potential. It is dominated by small family farms, low agricultural diversification, subsistence farming, high soil degradation, and vulnerability to climate change. Women and young people are more affected by limited access to goods and resources needed for agricultural production. The institutional reforms undertaken aim to diversify agricultural sectors according to geographical centres and so that they are contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the new institutions set up to promote the sectors are not very functional and their skills are underdeveloped. A transfer of skills to the new structures is therefore necessary as well as support for the role of socio-professional farmers organisations in the new system.
parakou, Benin
Project duration
2020 - 2024
Financed by
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

The project

The general objective of the programme is to contribute to the sustainable improvement of the living conditions of rural populations in 27 communes of the departments of Borgou, Alibori, Atacora and Donga, to reduce poverty and food insecurity.  

The programme is structured around 3 Outcomes:

  1. Institutional arrangements and governance;
  2. Primary production;
  3. Value chains and market access.

The direct beneficiaries are socio-professional and inter-professional farmer organisations (organisations socioprofessionnelles (OSP), family farms, Women's Cooperatives, Youth Cooperatives, Agricultural Enterprises, and Processing Units.

Project partners

  • Unions Départementales des Producteurs (UDP) ;
  • Unions Départementales des Organisations Professionnelles d’Eleveurs de Ruminants (UDOPER).

Expected results

  • Farmer organisations apply the rules of good governance at all levels and participate fully in the dialogue with government structures for the promotion of targeted Value Added Chains;
  • Family farms have access to and make good use of inputs, equipment, infrastructure, and finance;
  • Seasonal movement of livestock in the project's intervention area is lessened thanks to constructive dialogue between stakeholders and adapted infrastructures;
  • Processing capacities in the main added value chains are increased, the units are well organised and connected to the market;
  • Viable and functional business models are put in place by added value chains and allow for an increase in marketed quantities and revenues.


Sustainable agriculture, Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Challenges in rice cultivation in Benin
Farmers in the West African country of Benin face constantly changing environmental conditions: ever more frequent weather events, unreliable seasons, and a deterioration of soil quality due to increasing acidity, especially in the north of Benin. Moreover, family farms are strongly dependent on synthetic fertilisers that are difficult to procure and harbour enormous risks to health and the environment. Over the course of the “Rural Economic Development Support Programme", Swisscontact has developed a promising alternative together with local partners:  the use of so-called “biochar.”
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation strengthens ties with Benin: an important visit
In an ongoing effort to strengthen its international cooperation ties, Benin was honoured to receive Patricia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), who was accompanied by Rémy Duiven, Head of the West Africa Office. This four-day visit turned out to be a crucial step in the partnership blossoming between both countries.  The Swiss delegation also included Simone Giger, the Swiss Ambassador to Benin, and a team of Swiss international development representatives in Benin.
Biochar: A key to combating the effects of climate change in Benin
Benin, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate disruption, faces major challenges such as prolonged drought and excessive rainfall, which have devastating consequences for small-scale farmers. These climate changes threaten food security and biodiversity in the region. However, a glimmer of hope is emerging thanks to the Programme d'Appui au Secteur du Développement Rural (PASDeR), financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by the Swisscontact-Lares consortium. Together, they are working to implement adaptation and mitigation measures to counter these challenges.