Farmers in Burkina Faso and Mali face severe challenges, including the fragility and poverty of their soils, losses due to pests and diseases, and adversities related to climate change. The current situation is likely to worsen due to rapid population growth, extensive agriculture and livestock production, undervaluing of local knowledge and low use of improved production technologies. In the face of these challenges, some farmers have developed agroecological innovations that have proven to be locally effective in their specific socio-economic contexts. Several production technologies have also been proposed to manage these biophysical constraints. However, both local innovations and production technologies need to be adapted and scaled up to ensure food and nutritional security of rural populations. The implementation of Farmer-Led Research Networks project (FaReNe I) in Burkina Faso and Mali has enabled the identification and evaluation of several local innovations in the field of agroecological intensification (AEI). In Burkina Faso, joint experiments were focused on soil and water conservation technologies, including improved compost production and assisted natural regeneration in two provinces and natural resources management of a community botanical garden. In Mali, joint experiments focused on degraded lands recovery through farm manure incorporation and cropping systems integrated with trees. Three formal farmer-led research networks have been set up in Burkina Faso and two informal ones in Mali to address crop and livestock production constraints and natural resource management issues. In addition, FaReNe I strengthened capacities in research methods, application of local innovation support funds and leadership to the benefit of team and groups’ members in the two countries. In Mali, the use of support funds included sheep rearing by women in three sites, allowing them to multiply four-fold the initial funds invested. In Burkina Faso, support funds focused on soil and water conservation practices, improved compost production, bio-pesticide use and production in two provinces and formalization of farmers’ networks. This project continues the work of the FaReNe project.
The project aims to support and strengthen farmer-led research networks to facilitate the development and evaluation of AEI options in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Objective 1 – Output:
At least two new farmer experiments on land reclamation options combined with intercropping of dual purpose sorghum with cowpea, peanut or soybean are evaluated for systems productivity;
Both cereal and legume crop yields are increased by 10-15% on recovered soils compared to farmers’ practices;
Soils organic matter content is increased;
Use of external inputs is minimized.
Objective 2 – Output:
The technical and socio-economic performance of at least two improved innovations in the field soil and moisture conservation based on crossed ridging and crop diversification is evaluated;
The social performance of each production system assessed;
The profitability of component systems increased by 10% over farmers’ practices.
Objective 3a and b – Outputs:
At least two farmer initiatives on crop livestock integration in the area of agroecological intensification through intercropping and manure application for increased global productivity are assessed for feasibility and profitability;
Nutrition improvement of 20 children based on products from intercropping experiments or other sources with and without supplement supported by the local innovation funds are evaluated for effectiveness and synergies development;
Crop productivity increased by 15% as the result of integration;
Animal productions increased by at least 10% as the result of integration;
Nutrition of malnourished children fed with compound cereal and leguminous flours with and without supplement improved by 10% over the control.
Objective 4 – Output:
At least two formal and one informal FRNs are evaluated for their effectiveness and sustainability in agroecological intensification activities.
Governance, gender and diversity, equity, inclusivity issues and over all access to resources are assessed for each farmers’ research network;
Performance on farmers’ experimentations and evaluations is assessed.