LTA Djougou

Location: Benin |

We, Jan Douwe van de Wouw, Laura Spoelstra, Niels van den Dool and Yoël Janssen, travelled to Djougou in Benin as part of TU Delft's International Entrepreneurship and Development minor. Here, we are doing a project focusing on optimising water use in agriculture at the agricultural school: Lycée Technique Agricole de Djougou. Climate change is leading to longer dry seasons, making it increasingly difficult to meet growing food demand. At the school, we implement various methods to make water use in agriculture more efficient and demonstrate their practical benefits. These approaches enable farmers to market multiple crops throughout the year, even during longer droughts. This makes it more attractive for students to enter agriculture after their studies: Benin's most profitable sector.

As a first step, we constructed a 'demonstration plot', where we implemented an irrigation system powered by a solar-powered electric water pump. This makes it possible to harvest during drier periods and eliminates the labour-intensive use of watering cans. Moreover, drip irrigation ensures that less water is used to water the crops. We are also digging a water basin that can collect as much as 180,000 litres during the rainy season. This stock enables us to supply water to the demonstration plot for an additional month. This not only increases self-sufficiency, but also reduces the burden on the groundwater table. Currently, more water is pumped from the ground than replenished. This means that pumping, as it is currently done, is not sustainable for the future. We are currently researching even more ways to implement rainwater from the rainy season during the dry season. We have named this project "Rainin' Benin".

During this journey, we have continuously valued input from both students and teachers. Our aim is to generate awareness about the vital importance of efficient water use, with an eye on both climatic and financial benefits for students that are important in their future careers.

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