In a context of greater climate variability and increasing population pressure, inland valleys are considered as high potential agricultural area. This agricultural potential has been subject to multiple initiatives for characterization which were generally based on the physical characteristics. However, support strategies based on such inventories often fail to fit with the promoters’ expectations. One of the reasons is that approaches used to classify inland valleys do not generally take into account socio-economic factors. This study aims to characterize the diversity of inland valleys in the departments of Mono and Couffo based on a joint consideration of biophysical, agronomic and socio-economic characteristics and to prioritize the factors affecting their agricultural use. Data were collected on 158 inland valleys and were related to biophysical characteristics, uses, management and economic productivity. Six types of inland valleys differentiated by the production systems, economic productivities and socioeconomic characteristics were identified. The production system based on rainfed rice and off-season vegetable with application of chemical fertilizer generated the highest economic productivity. Strengthening farmers’ technical abilities was important for a better capitalization on inland valleys. These results support the importance to combine several approaches in the classification of inland valleys and to fully understand the factors affecting their valorization by rural populations.
Key words: Diversification, inland valleys, intensification, performance, typology, uses.
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