How to: In Benin, farmers are opening factories now that they have learned what an entrepreneur needs to know.


Mann vor Reissäcken
Saliman Issa Assouma was a rancher who switched over to manufacturing feed, because he knew what animals needed and learned to market it. All Photos: (c) GIZ

Project sponsor

Green Innovation Centers in Benin


Raising income by 33 per cent in 50,000 small farms

Increasing employment by adding 1,000 new jobs

50% increase in agricultural productivity for rice and soy, 100% in poultry


EUR 11 million

The smell of hay fills the air. Wherever you look there are sacks stacked high and filled with rice and millet, cassava peanut and yam shells, bean cabbage, soybeans, and gingered corn cobs. The heat shimmers above the courtyard, men tirelessly place sacks for the mill in the middle of the yard, stems and pods are added and then they mix the flour according to a fixed formula. In an hour, a sheep-breeder will be here and the feed mixture has to be ready for the customer.

Assouma Issa Saliman, the miller and owner of "Betail et Developpement" in Kandi, in northern Benin, has his business firmly under control. He gives instructions about which ingredients will make up the final feed mixture and in what quantities: "Not all sheep feed is the same. A mother sheep needs a different mixture than a pregnant sheep or a young animal."


The best decision of his life

Ich bin ein Alternativtext
For each animal, the right mixture.

Assouma Issa Saliman has been a farmer and rancher for many years. "I want to give my animals healthy and adequate feed. This is a big problem in the dry season, because there are not enough plants in the grazing land." For this reason, he set out to learn how to produce healthy animal feed a year and a half ago.

Actually, he only started manufacturing seed to meet his own needs. Farmers and ranchers have never seen each other as business opportunities because, in their eyes, that was the territory of large factories. But then he got the opportunity to receive training on the subject of Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, in a course which was organized by the Green Innovation Center in Benin. The innovation centers are a project of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its partner SwissContact, as well as seven other local NGOs.


Great ambitions

Ich bin ein Alternativtext
The chopper makes husks and stalks into feed.

Assouma Issa Salima attended the five-day course. From his point of view, it was the best decision of his life. "This training has opened my eyes. I've learned to manage my company - and it really is a company - properly. Accounting, revenue and expense accounting, creating a business plan, thinking about marketing - all of this has really gotten my business rolling. I have developed a consciousness for quality and formally registered my company. I began selling feed five months ago and I'm now selling between five and ten bags per day!" The father of four earns EUR 370 in profits per month. He has hired two full-time employees to produce his feed.

Business is booming, although it is based exclusively on word of mouth. It was only last week that as many as 20 breeders came to visit him because they had heard that they can buy high-quality feed from Assouma Issa Salima. "I have very big ambitions", says the self-made man. "I want to invest in a second mill this year and produce larger quantities. My goal is to sell 20 bags per day so I can triple the amount per month - or even more."

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

GIZ is a globally active provider of international cooperation for sustainable development. It has more than 50 years of experience in a wide range of fields.

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