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
Empowering women by strengthening agricultural institutions
Around 70% of Benin’s working population are employed in agriculture – a sector which is growing steadily and has a lot of potential. On the flip side, however, the country faces major challenges such as low agricultural diversification, severe soil degradation and vulnerability to climate change. In northern Benin, Swisscontact is helping to improve the working and living conditions of the rural population – particularly women – on a lasting basis.
Sustainable agriculture
Training mango growers in fruit fly control
Most mango orchards in Benin are exposed to attacks by the fruit fly and other insects that destroy mango trees and cause production losses, diminishing commercial success. To avoid these attacks, the PASDeR programme supported the National Federation of Mango Producers (FeNaProM) in organising training on fruit fly control techniques. This training aims to considerably reduce post-production losses in order to improve producers' income.
Sustainable agriculture
Improving the quality of "Gassirè" cheese for the empowerment of Fulani women
The PASDeR programme aims to contribute to a sustainable increase in the productivity of family farms and pastoralists through the promotion of agri-food sectors, including milk and meat. In Benin, milk is still produced in marginal quantity despite its economic and nutritional importance. This is why the Programme supports the umbrella organisations of professional ruminant breeders in the departments of Borgou-Alibori and Atacora-Donga in order to enhance the value of milk products, particularly "Gassirè" cheese, by improving its quality.