Tag Archives: agriculture

Benin’s #1 Crop: Cotton


Cotton is, economically, Benin’s most important crop, making up 40% of GDP.


Preparing for Planting



Brush and the remnants of last year’s crops are burned to prepare fields for planting. This is a commonly used technique across Benin.

Pineapple Harvest


Truck o Pineapples

These two photos from January show pineapples being prepared to be transported to market. They are packed into the truck until the entire bed bulges with thousands of pineapples.

Pineapple Fields Forever

Pineapple Fields Forever

Central southern Benin grows a lot of pineapples. Lack of infrastructure and industrial processing plants prevents most of the pineapples from being exported. Instead, pineapples flood the market. I have gotten spoiled by the abundance of cheap, delicious pineapples that are usually sold for 75 – 100 cfa ($0.15 – $0.20) each. This is a field of pineapple plants. Each plant grows one pineapple.

Grass Fed Beef

Grass Fed Beef

Very few industrial sized farms exist in Benin. Most farming is done by hand at a small scale. These long-horned cows are grazing on the side of the road, a common sight in Benin. The photo below shows the herder with his cows.

Grass Fed Beef

Hèvioso: Divinity of Thunder and Revenge

Hèvioso: Divinity of Thunder and Revenge 1

Statues and monuments of Vodun divinities abound in our town, frequently to protect a house from evil spirits, a family from illness or a field from bandits. Most are small and simple. Some, like this statue of the divinity of thunder and revenge, show complex scenes with ten-foot tall statues. It was explained to me that Hèvioso can protect you from directed harm and will then take revenge on the person who sought to harm you. The scene in the photo above apparently shows Hèvioso killing a woman who tried to poison another person. Note the small bottle of poison resting on her stomach. The photo below also shows Hèvioso; this statue is a neighboring town.

Hèvioso: Divinity of Thunder and Revenge 2

Yams (Not Sweet Potatoes)


Yams are more commonly eaten (and grown) in northern Benin as opposed to the south where we live. Different than what we refer to as a yam in the US, yams here are enormous, starchy tubers similar to manioc. Yams can be huge — some thicker than my thigh and longer than my arm. They are commonly eaten fried or mashed. Yum.