Minister sheds tears as Benin reaches milestone in cotton production
There could be many ways to react to a milestone achievement for anyone in a national assignment but shedding some tears was the best option for the Republic of Benin agriculture minister Cossi Gaston Dossouhoui after his country became the leading producer of cotton in West Africa Francophone.
While applause and standing ovations greeted the announcement by Republic of Benin President Patrice Talon of the country’s feet in cotton production in the region for the first time in five years, Dossouhoui was seen shedding tears at his seat.
The country was named the largest cotton producer for the African region for 2019/2020 marketing year (MY) in July 2019. The Republic of Benin produced 1,450 bales followed by Mali’s 1,425 and Burkina Faso’s 1,200 bales.
The ranking by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report also forecasted that the Republic of Benin might retain the ranking position for the following year.
Burkina Faso was the leading Francophone Zone cotton producer from MY 2004/05 through MY 2010/11 and MY 2012/13 through MY 2016/17 (Figure 3). Burkina Faso yields declined in 2017 when fall armyworms arrived and extensively damaged cotton and other cereal crops.
Mali overtook Burkina Faso to become the leading Franc Zone cotton producer in MY 2017/18 and last year Benin became the lead cotton producer.
Benin’s yield trend has increased in recent years after the government and private industry invested in modernizing the entire cotton supply chain and provided a more timely supply of seed and fertilizer inputs, the report said.
The country’s five-year average yield is 435 kg/ha which is also well above the five-year average yield of 393 kg/ha for the Franc Zone.
Prior to the ranking, the Republic of Benin was ranked third on the African continent behind Mali and Burkina Faso.
The leapfrogging progress perhaps irked Dossouhoui’s emotions that he had to shed some tears.
Other African nationals commended Dossouhoui for his rare passion to make an impact in his country through his job.