Impact of Floods on Farmers’ Livelihoods in the Semi-arid Zone of Benin

  • Alice Bonou
  • Tobias Wünscher
  • Anselme Adéniyi Adégbidi
  • Adama Diaw
Part of the Science for Sustainable Societies book series (SFSS)


Fluvial flooding is a common and devastating natural disaster that causes significant economic and social damage. Since 2007, Benin has experienced frequent floods. In the semiarid zone of Benin, the last flood occurred in August 2012, and many farmers lost most of their crops. However, no study was conducted to show the effects of recent flooding on the livelihoods of farmers. To fill this gap in knowledge, a survey was conducted in Benin, a small country located in the south of the Sahel. Two municipalities, Malanville and Karimama, were chosen because of their locations at the downstream of the Benin part of the Niger basin and the harsh effects experienced by the farmers during the flooding in 2012. Within these municipalities, we focused on the villages near the four rivers of the basin. Within the 19 villages targeted, the sampling rate was 14.67%, and the sample size was 228 farmers. The econometric framework adopted was the Rubin causal model with simple linear regression using ordinary least squares. The results show that the 2012 flood had significant impacts. An increase of 1% in flooding duration was found to correspond to a loss in agricultural income of approximately 0.40%. When a farmer stated that the severity of flooding in 2012 was major, his household agricultural income was reduced by approximately 1.44% compared to a farmer who stated that the flooding was minor. An increase of 1% in the cultivated area that was flooded corresponded to a loss in agricultural income of approximately 0.27%. The introduction of water-resistant species to withstand the effects of flooding should be encouraged in the study area. Future researches will focus on the estimation of flood insurance premiums, the design of the insurance, and the implementation of the insurance.


Flooding Semiarid zone Livelihoods Agriculture Ordinary least squares Off-farm income Benin 



This work was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). We would like to extend our gratitude to the reviewers, Dr. Sanfo Safiétou and Dr. Boris Lokonon, the two anonymous referees, the editors, and seminar and conference participants for a number of useful comments and discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Bonou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tobias Wünscher
    • 4
    • 5
  • Anselme Adéniyi Adégbidi
    • 6
    • 7
  • Adama Diaw
    • 8
  1. 1.African School of Economics (ASE)Abomey-CalaviBenin
  2. 2.Graduate Research Program (GRP) Climate Change Economics, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL)University Cheikh Anta DiopDakarSenegal
  3. 3.Laboratory of Applied Ecology/ Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  4. 4.Graduate Research Program (GRP) Climate Change Economics, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL)University Cheikh Anta DiopDakarSenegal
  5. 5.EARTH UniversityGuácimo de LimónCosta Rica
  6. 6.Laboratory of Applied Ecology/ Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  7. 7.Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviAbomey-CalaviBenin
  8. 8.University Gaston BergerSaint-LouisSenegal

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