The past project achieved much in collaboration with female farmers. Mother-and-baby trial design was implemented with female farmer associations in more than 30 Burkina Faso villages, with all organizations moving to FRNs at each village level. Farmers and researchers designed, implemented, monitored, and evaluated baby trials. They used mother trials as “school field,” while, in every baby trial, small farmers voluntarily chose base options to implement. Research and development (R&D) at the plot level moved to farming R&D at individual female farmers’ fields and farm levels.
Previous McKnight support allowed Bambara nut R&D in Burkina Faso to improve knowledge, collect genetic resources, select highly productive varieties (registered in the national varieties catalog), increase growing management efficiency, identify and characterize Bambara nut leaf diseases from viruses and fungi, list Bambara nut-based recipes, and highlight Bambara nut social, agronomic, cultural, and economic roles across the country. The project got into fields and several growing conditions with Bambara nut yields ranging from 1,500kg/ha to more than 2,500 kg/ha.
Bambara nut is mostly grown in pure system with no fertilization. It is an element of female farmers’ individual farming system, which is part of the whole farming system. The integration of AEI principles in semiarid conditions requires R&D activities that maintain soil fertility and nutriments recycling. The project showed phosphorus to be the major limiting element in Bambara nut growing and soil fertility constraint.
Bambara nut and all crops are integrated in small farmers’ farming systems and communities’ management of natural resources. There remain R&D gaps based on agroecological principles, among them:
Moving the conventional farming system from farm and community levels to a sustained, improved system
Community management of natural resources where food crops and cash crop production allow farmers to meet their food, nutritional, and revenues needs
Integrating small farmers as key partners in the crop production, processing, and commercialization value chain to allow farmers to get added value from those activities
Involving individual farmers in FRN-organized groups and acting at the community level on growing, processing, and commercialization stages for the given agricultural product value chain
The overall goal is to contribute to qualitative and quantitative change in individual farming systems and their communities for reaching their food and regular revenue needs by improving farms and landscapes productivity by integrating value chain, FRN, and AEI approaches. The ultimate vision is to transform millet, sorghum, cowpea, Bambara nut, and female farmers’ vegetables-based food system in Burkina Faso to a more just, equitable and sustainable food system.
Specifically, the project seeks to:
Increase farm access to equilibrated and completed organic matter-based fertilizer.
Maintain crop and seed diversity and farmer access to them.
Intensify the use of biopesticides in crop production and seed storage for improving food quality.
Empower individual farmers and farmers’ organization in input/output and cost/benefit analysis at farm, household, and community levels in domains of organization functioning, agriculture production, product processing, and commercialization.
Implement social and equitable community enterprise for improving efficiency of value chain of Bambara nut and farmers’ selected crops that will contribute to generating changes and progress in crop production, products processing, and commercialization.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Grant Aim 1
Efficiency gained on small farmers’ farming systems using crops and species diversities and complementarities that increase household and community health, food, and nutrition securities and revenue
Increase of land’s organic matter content improving soils health at farm and landscape levels and benefiting agriculture sustainability and yield long-term
Increased soil and human health and sustainable agriculture system from intensified use of biopesticides in crop production and harvest storage
Small farmers’ and their communities’ farming systems improved and sustained through integration of crops and species diversities and complementarities, increasing soil content in organic matter and use of biopesticides
Grant Aim 2
Improved efficiency of farming system at farm and community levels from integration of cost/benefit analysis by farmers in production (IAE/FRN/value chain), processing (FRN/value chain), and commercialization (FRN/value chain) activities
Small farmers’ farms and communities qualitatively and quantitatively changed in terms of food, nutrition securities, and increased revenue (based on reaching annual food and revenue needs) through intensive use of combined FRN, IAE, and value chain approaches (farmers’ selected crops and activities)
Improved livelihood of small farmers and their communities from efficiency of AEI implementation coupled with FRN and value chain approaches at farm and community levels