Arouna Aminou from Benin at SOW-VU

Arouna Aminou from Benin is visiting SOW-VU to receive a three months training in (spatial) data management and production function analysis at SOW-VU. He is a 30-year-old Agricultural Economics researcher who lives in Porto Novo, Benin’s capital, with his wife and six months old son. After he graduated from university in 2002, he has been working as a researcher for the Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Benin (INRAB). This institute advises the government on agricultural policy and measures the impact of government policy on agricultural productivity. INRAB is one of the partners of SOW-VU in the Rivertwin project. The project studies water flows and water availability in twinned river basins and develops models on how water resources can be managed. The Rivertwin project is funded by the European Commission.

At INRAB Aminou has been collecting data on agricultural activities and water use in the Ouémé river basin in Benin, one of the three basins the Rivertwin project focuses on. The basin  of the river Ouémé is the largest within the Republic of Benin. It has an extension of about 50,000 square kilometers. To analyze the data that has been collected Aminou is receiving a training in methodological tools at SOW-VU. Among others he is getting experience in working with ILWIS-software. It makes a better overview and analyses of available data possible. Besides receiving training he finds the exchange of research experience with the people working at SOW-VU very valuable.

Aminou likes his job at INRAB. The topics on which research is done are very broad: husbandry, environmental protection, food and nutrition. He finds that research on these topics is extremely important because 70% of the Beninese live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture. One of the topics he has done research on is the impact of improved maize storage technologies on household welfare. When storing maize farmers risked high loses due to insects. New materials for barns prevented the insects eating the maize. After doing household surveys and applying econometric tools on the data collected he found that household welfare was significantly improved by using this new technology.

It is economic theory and mathematics that Aminou finds most interesting. To develop his skills as a researcher he has applied for a PhD position in Germany. He has no intention though of leaving Benin permanently. His ambition is to become a lecturer at Benin University.