WEST AFRICA – The OPEC Fund for International Development has signed loan agreements with the governments of Benin (US$15 million) and Togo (US$10 million) to support the Regional Program for the Integration of Agricultural Markets (PRIMA).
The Program’s objective is to strengthen the agriculture and trade sectors to sustainably increase the income and food security of rural households.
OPEC Fund’s loan will contribute to finance components of the coordinated regional program PRIMA in Benin and Togo, and is co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the governments of both countries.
It is expected to benefit some 144,000 households (99,000 in Benin and 45,000 in Togo), representing more than 833,000 individuals, with a strong emphasis on creating jobs for women and youth.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said, “In both of our partner countries Benin and Togo, agriculture has a high development impact potential, employing a significant percentage of the working population.
“We are pleased to support the governments’ efforts to transform their local agriculture sectors through diversification, increased productivity and climate change resilience.”
The program will help to improve the performance of sub-regional commercial centers and cross border transport corridors, promote rural entrepreneurship for young people and women, and fully integrate smallholders into national and sub-regional markets.
The OPEC Fund’s loan will support market integration and rural entrepreneurship, as well as transformation of family farming adapted to climate change.
Specifically, the funds will help finance the rehabilitation of a total of nine semi-wholesale markets, 19 produce collection centers and 500 km of rural access road sections, connecting the production areas to markets.
Additionally, 4,000 hectares of agricultural land will be developed for sustainable irrigation management, enabling family farmers to increase their production and resilience to climate change.
Meanwhile in Togo, the government has launched a new fruit and vegetable processing unit.
Via this factory, the Togolese authorities aim to make the processing of fruit and vegetables a promising and wealth-creating sector.
“The operationalization of this processing unit opens a new page for the agrifood sector in our country and in particular for the production of fruit and vegetable juices.
“The unit will make it possible to derive better benefit from the strategic positioning of the city of Tsévié, in particular in relation to the Industrial Platform of Adétikopé (PIA) which is gradually being set up and to support the potential for job creation for the youth through entrepreneurship,” said Minister of Youth Grassroots Development and Youth Employment, Myriam Dossou-D’Almeida
This initiative, supported by the Youth Economic Initiatives Support Fund (FAIEJ), benefited from technical and financial support from GIZ’s program for sustainable economic development (ProDED), to the tune of CFAF 30 million (US$53,000).