Changing Land Uses - Changing Livelihoods
Agricultural yields have been on a long steady decline in Benin. As farmers strive to maintain livelihoods and food security, remaining forests lands and other natural habitats are converted and cleared at alarming rates.
This trend has direct and indirect knock-on effects on people and nature, further jeopardising the long-term resilience of farm systems. Fortunately, there is a wealth of knowledge in Benin about Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices that can boost agricultural yields and lower pressures for land expansion. However, there are a number of factors - including political lock-in - that needs to be confronted in order for investment to flow into SLM.
Altus Impact is working with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) initiative and a number of governmental partners in Benin to reveal the costs and benefits behind different farming practices. The assessment in the municipality of Banté include a landscape level analysis of how hydrological flows, carbon emissions and crop yields (of cashew and yam) are impacted by sustainable land use management practices that challenge 'status quo' techniques.
In the municipality of Banikoara, we are estimating the Cost of Illness from pesticide use and comparing the economics of organic and conventional cotton production. Changes in ecosystem service flows are further estimated in monetary terms to allow local and national decision makers better understand the implications of various agricultural policies on farmer livelihoods, food and water security.
"We enjoyed working with Altus Impact, both professionally and personally, in the context of sustainable land management in Benin and Georgia. Altus has delivered two very robust and strong studies. These documents now provide substantial information and a reference basis for our ongoing work to promote sustainable land management practices with decision makers at national and sub-regional levels. We look forward to working with Altus Impact on other projects in new territories."
Coordinator, Economics of Land Degradation Initiative
Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing
As part of the study, Altus Impact has led surveys with farmers in the north and centre of Benin using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). CAPI allows for signficant time savings, improved precision during the data-entry process and better data sharing amongst project partners.