Institut National de Recherche Agricole
Mr. Bernadin Lokossou
West African Tall Ouidah (WAT06)
Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country of western Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The economy of Benin remains dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade.
As with other countries in the West African region, coconut is considered the second most economically important perennial oil crop in Benin. The most common variety planted is the West African Tall (WAT). The WAT was most probably introduced from Mozambique. Additionally, the variety was first planted in the country at Ouidah around the 17th century (Sanoussi, 1998). Aside from WAT, other varieties grown in Benin include the hybrid PB 121, which is a cross between the Malayan Yellow Dwarf and the West African Tall (MYD x WAT), and, less extensively, PB 111 which is a cross between the Cameroon Red Dwarf and the West African Tall (CRD x WAT). The total area planted with coconut in the country is estimated at 15 000 ha, about 90% of which is tended by smallholder farmers with average farm sizes ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 ha, although some large scale plantations or estates also exist varying in sizes from 5 to 50 ha each (Sanoussi 2005). Some of these smallholder farmers also rear cattle on their coconut farms, while others grow intercrops like cassava, maize, bean and groundnut as staple food, while their coconut palms are still young.
Located 20 km from Cotonou on the Porto-Novo Road, the Seme Podji research station was created in 1949 by the Institut de Recherches sur les Huiles et Oléagineux (IRHO) one of the research institutes now merged into CIRAD. Today, the station is part of a research facility belonging to the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin. The main research areas are: the creation of high yielding coconut varieties, the release of technological package for plantation management of hybrid coconut varieties, and the regeneration of soils under old coconut groves. Only four coconut varieties are conserved there, namely the West African Tall, Malayan Yellow, Brazilian Green and Cameroon Red Dwarf.
More info: Conserved coconut germplasm from Benin (1.2MB)
Collaborative Activities between BIOVERSITY/COGENT and Benin
1. Capacity Building
a) Technical assistance/expert advice
In 1998 and 2002, two experts visited Benin to identify research and development needs and to formulate an Africa/Indian Ocean coconut regional project proposal and assisted in the conduct of the multilocational trial project.
b) Training and human resources development
One local coconut researchers was sent to the Regional STANTECH Trainer’s Course in Cote d’Ivoire in 1997; Training Course on Technical Writing, Seminar Presentation, Public Awareness and Proposal Preparation for coconut Researchers in Merida, Mexico in 2003 and Statistical Design and Germplasm x Environment Interaction Analysis Training Course, 25 – 27 November 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
c) COGENT meetings/workshops
No COGENT –sponsored or –initiated meetings or workshops have been held in the country.
2. Research Projects
One project was carried out in the country, with the Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Benin (INRAB) as the implementing agency.
3. Financial Support and Funding
CFC provided funding support for the coconut project in Benin totaling US$39,083, with the national government giving counterpart financing of US$33,333.