Improving the diets of children and adolescents through urban farming

Cotonou, the biggest town in the Republic of Benin is located on the coast of Western Africa. The population in Benin have a very different socioeconomic status.

In Benin, only 18% of the population are food secure and malnutrition remains as a challenge. Food products accessible are mainly cereal based whereas fruits and vegetables and flesh foods are less consumed. However, the presence of urban farming and availability of fish products offers opportunities for this Food System Lab.

FSL Cotonou: urban farms
FSL Cotonou: urban farms


FSL Cotonou: School childrens
FSL Cotonou: school children







Improving the diets of children and adolescents in public primary schools through urban farming will be the main focus in Cotonou. The project will increase the efficiency of urban gardens and link urban farms to school canteens, as well as establish school gardens to increase nutritional awareness and behavioral change among the youth. 

Specific objectives of the Food System Lab

  1. To identify dietary habits and nutritional status of school children in public schools, and the urban farming production systems
  2. To increase dietary quality and nutritional status of urban poor consumers especially school children and production system of urban farmers
  3. To improve farming practices and nutritional and sanitary quality of market gardening products


  1. Development of school gardens to improve urban farming food production system to ensure supplying school canteens in local healthy and nutritious foods
  2. Production of a recipe book based on healthy and nutritious foods which will be distributed in all primary schools alongside other educational material
  3. Organization of trainings for teachers, schools’ children and canteens cookers
  4. Organization of trainings on best cropping practices for market gardeners and farmers

Cotonou, Benin