The Ouémé Valley is characterized by its green ground filled with water that extends as far as the eye can see. Located between a lake and an Ocean, affected by the monsoon and the dry winds coming from the Sahara, this territory is highly impacted by seasons.
Its diversity can be illustrated by the Nokoué lake which tributaries (The Ouémé and the Sô) originate in Zangnanado and Allada plateaus. The salted water that comes from the Cotonou channel is softened thanks to the equatorial backward-flow.
With considerable natural assets, the Valley faces also serious challenges such as the disorganized urbanization of the lagoon and hazardous agriculture projects due to a rising water level.
In Benin, the majority of the population works in the agricultural sector and the agriculture is essentially domestic. The main challenges of Benin’s agriculture are a hard access to quality seeds, soil and equipment. The context of global warming recently added the issue of water supplying.
Since the 2008 economic crisis, the government initiated a self-sufficiency policy. Even though rice is a staple food in Benin, it is mainly imported from Asia. In 2016, a USDA report indicated that 425 000 tons of rice were imported when only 151 000 tons were produced locally. Benin is Thailand’s first customer.
The Ekpé district is at the front line of water control issue in agriculture. It is located on the coast of Nokoué lake between Cotonou and Porto-Novo.
Working on the lake shore seems to be a priority in order to improve the agricultural areas. The study of the geology of soil, flora, water streams and salinity of the lake would be the main points of our intervention. In the first place, the mangrove swamp will purify the salted waters. This vegetation will mainly settle on the lakeshore, creating a green belt that will protect the ground around the lake from the salted water. This source of wood will also contain the urbanization and prevent the seasonal floods.
In order to answer to the high rice demand, we are projecting rice fields along the lakeshore. Located just behind the mangrove swamp, the fields will be continually irrigated in order to prevent them from drought between the monsoon periods. Navigable canals will allow crops circulation to the diverse selling points. The fields that already exist in the periphery of the Ekpé district will also benefit from the purification of the soil and will be easier to irrigate.
The highway connecting the two main cities of the country is bordering the Ekpè district. Connecting the district to the transport network seems to be a priority, regarding to the high demographic and agricultural expansion. Particularly, a focus should be made on public transport and crops logistics.
First of all, the East-West axis connecting the edge of Podji to Tchonvi village on the lakeshore will be reinforced with a regular bus line which will make stops in the main public infrastructure of Ekpè (such as schools, hospitals and markets) as well as the mostly populated areas of the district. With a length of 13.5 km, this path will be realized in around 30’ with a pace of a bus every 15’. Secondly, a road will connect the urban center of Ekpè on the edge of Sèmè-Kodji with the main agricultural area in the north of the district. This road will highly improve the commercial traffic in the district. Finally, the extremities of these two axis will become important communication poles since it will be connected with the country's main axis, connecting the whole district with Benin’s major towns and neighboring countries.