Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Coaching and collaboration on soybean processing in Benin

2 July 2015. This video produced for the ICRA/IFDC 2Scale programme demonstrates the coordination and coaching of cluster actors of the soy cluster in Zogbodomey, Benin.


Beginning 2000, farmers of Zogbodomey - a commune in the Zou Department of southern Benin -, who were looking for an alternative to cotton, have started growing soybean. The initiative was supported by the local producers’ organisation, the UCP (L’Union communale des producteurs de Zogbodomè au Bénin). The UCP not only supported the farmers technically, they also arranged for proper seed and engaged in finding market outlets for the produce.

The initial experience with Fludor, a national oil seed processing company, met with many problems. The UCP did not give up, however, and in its search for alternatives, the women of the commune, who are locally processing soybean at small scale, were considered a potential market to explore. Therefore, the UCP organised an initial training on soybean processing techniques to diversify soybean products and make milk, cheese, brochettes, and biscuits. 

The UCP also supported the set-up of a women soybean processors association.
  • Together with the UCP and soybean processor village groups, GVPS, they now form the heart of the agribusiness cluster that is supported by 2SCALE. 
  • The  step-wise construction of a stable partnership, facilitated by a coach who is staff member of UCP, and supported by ICRA trainers, has resulted into several successes for both men and women: the men, soybean producers, have now secured access to quality seed and inoculum, and the women processors have extended their knowledge to others and have been able to buy simple processing equipment. 
  • More women actors have joined the cluster, including wholesalers, so less soybeans leave the zone. 
The partnership aims at win-win solutions for all actors involved,
  • for example, an inventory credit system was established that allows women processors and wholesalers to buy soybean from the UCP when market prices rise, without disfavouring the producers.
  • Cotton, once a men’s occupation, was turned into a profitable soybean business to the benefit of thousands of men and women. With support of the president of the federal farmer organisation FUPRO, the fire is spreading to other zones as well.
Published on 4 Aug 2015
Film of 2SCALE project (40 minutes) shot in Benin on local Soya business promoted through coaching and collaboration at various levels of the value chain.

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