Insufficient processes presently exist in the West African Sahel to promote farmer learning, adaptation and final adoption of agroecological Intensification (AEI) practices. Isolated technologies cannot lead to sustainable farming systems. What is required is an action-research process that emphasizes a progressive transition to adopting innovations that make agricultural systems more intensive and sustainable. Furthermore, transitions from current farming techniques toward those which are more sustainable and productive can only take place where there is buy-in and sufficient leadership by farmers and community organizations, whose technical and organizational capacities need to be strengthened. The present project aims to strengthen farmer-led agroecological approaches in Burkina Faso. The project is undertaken by a consortium composed of Groundswell International, the NGO ANSD (Association Nourrir Sans Détruire) at Fada N’gourma, the farmer organization AMSP at Kaya, and INERA (National Agricultural Research Institute of Burkina Faso), and covers the rural communes of Bilanga-yanga, Gayéri, Andemtenga and Pissila within the buffer areas, Zone I and Zone II of Burkina Faso.
The present project aims to improve and spread an agroecological approach that enables small scale farm households to transition to a productive, sustainable and resilient sorghum and millet farming system, and achieve food security. The project will support communities to test, adapt and spread these strategies for AEI, combining local knowledge and capacity with the expertise and experience of researchers. The two major intervention domains will be integrated soil fertility management and improved management of agroforestry landscapes.
Specific objectives of the project include:
Determine the optimal combinations of agroecological technologies, and appropriate sequences for their adoption, for different categories of households.
Assess the criteria used by small scale farmers (women and men) for selecting and adopting agro-ecological technologies.
Strengthen the technical and organisational capacities of community-based farmer organizations and other actors at pilot sites to develop and spread agroecological farming systems.
Determine and assess participatory strategies to rapidly spread and take to scale an approach for agro-ecological intensification.
Outputs and Outcomes:
The project aims to target 24 communities and extend AEI approaches to a total 4,000 households in Burkina Faso. Expected outcomes include:
Increased household adoption of combinations of agro-ecological technologies, in a graduated sequence, for a transition to a farming system characterized by the use of improved, short cycle seeds and other innovations to improve resilience to the changing climate; techniques that increase soil organic matter and enable soil and water conservation; mutually reinforcing combinations of agro-ecological techniques adapted to the needs of different categories of households; increased engagement of women in adoption of agro-ecological technologies within the farming system; and effective integration of crops, trees and animals for production.
Strengthened organizational capacity of community based structures to develop, test, adapt and extend an agro-ecological approach to improving local farming systems. The project will seek to support the following capacities: improved organizational practices to convene community meetings to discuss and decide on program issues; effective planning of extension and promotion of proven agro-ecological innovations; mobilization of local volunteers to experiment with and extend agro-ecological technologies; enabling of women’s participation to develop and adopt agro-ecological techniques; negotiation with other actors to access services and better marketing opportunities; and ability to manage, support, monitor and evaluate activities.
Strengthened organizational capacity of actors at the district level to support communities to promote and extend an agro-ecological approach, reflected by: facilitating access to inputs, tools and equipment; and providing high quality technical advice, follow-up and support.