Third “Operation Tabaski” generates $5.8 million of sheep sales in Benin

Trade Hub Livestock Value Chain Specialist Dr. Seydou Sidibe (third from right) interacting with traders and buyers in one of the new livestock markets in Benin created to sell animals ahead of the Tabaski festival. Photo credit: Mr. Jean-Didier Nacoulma, Trade Hub.

In Benin, four new livestock markets in smaller towns generated $5.8 million in sales for regional livestock farmers and traders during a 10-day Muslim holiday period.

The Trade Hub’s third annual “Operation Tabaski” opened markets in Djougou, Bohicon, Abomey, Parakou—inland cities with better security and shorter travel times for rural customers than traditional sales sites in the coastal capital, Cotonou. The strategy assisted farmers from neighboring Burkina Faso to sell 53, 274 sheep to customers in Benin between August 28 and September 7.

Mr. Yarga Timotee, a trader from Fada N’gourma who brought a truck of 230 sheep to sell said “I was not particularly happy with the idea of not sending my animals to Cotonou, which is the main center. But I have no regrets in my choice to sell at Bohicon Abomey. I made good money.”

During the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha or Tabaski—which commemorates the biblical sacrifice of a sheep—more than a million sheep traverse West Africa from the interior Sahelian countries to gigantic coastal markets, often losing animals to theft and disease along the way. For three years, the Trade Hub has worked with national livestock associations and municipalities throughout the region to create smaller, yet more profitable holiday markets along traditional trade routes.

The new livestock market in Parakou was among the four that generated $5.8 million in sales for West African regional livestock and traders during the Muslim holiday. Photo credit: Dr. Seydou Sidibe, Trade Hub

In 2017, the Trade Hub collaborated with the national livestock federations in Burkina Faso and Benin to hold preparatory discussions among participating stakeholders. Potential buyers and local authorities helped evaluate market needs, and facilitated logistics and sanitary measures.

Livestock farmers and traders brought truckloads of sheep – over 53,000 in all – to sell to customers in Benin. Photo credit: Mr. Jean-Didier Nacoulma, Trade Hub.

Last year, the Trade Hub in partnership with the Confédération des Fédérations Nationales de la chaine de valeurs Bétail/Viande de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (COFENABVI-AO), as well as participating federations— FENACOFBVI from Côte d’Ivoire, FEBEVIB from Burkina Faso, and FEBEVIM from Mali—helped move more than 80,000 animals from Mali and Burkina to secondary markets in Côte d’Ivoire, generating total sales of around at $10.3 million.

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