Sorghum and pearl millet are the major staple foods for a majority of rural smallholder farm families in Niger and Burkina Faso. Both cereals contribute important amounts of protein, starch, fat, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber to human diets, are good for diabetics, and are satiating. Because of these characteristics, people in urban areas use them to complement their often rice-based diets. Increasing urbanization and demand for easy-to-cook processed products in the cities opens up new marketing and income generation opportunities for sorghum and pearl millet farmers and processors in Niger and Burkina Faso, provided a surplus is available for selling. During the previous project phase, the project focused on (i) enhancing smallholder farmers’ capacity to produce quality grain, (ii) linking smallholder farmers to village-based and urban cereal-legume processing enterprises led by women, and (iii) strengthening the capacity of these small enterprises in Niger. Phase II of the project builds on and further strengthens the initial results obtained in Niger and extends the activities to Burkina Faso.
This project phase aims to further strengthen the local sorghum and pearl millet value chains in both Niger and Burkina Faso by:identification of cereal varieties best suited for various processed food, thereby considering varietal differences in processing attitudes, decortications losses, water uptake, taste and final amount of processed food;developing new recipes integrating cereals, legumes and other local minor but nutritious crops for nutrient-enriched products that have the potential to reduce malnutrition;enhancing the number and capacity of women-led processing units that produce high-quality, easy-to-cook nutritious cereal/legume-based products for village and urban markets;bringing together quality grain producers (that were partially trained by other CCRP-funded projects such as genepool and marketing projects) and women associations engaged in grain processing in rural and urban communities; and bylinking also other actors such as farmer organizations, cereal and legume breeders, food scientists, systems agronomists, economists, nutritionists, extension agents, communicators, decision and policymakers to strengthen the traditional cereals’ value chains. By promoting processing of sorghum and pearl millet together with legume and other minor crops for local and urban markets, this project is expected to contribute to poverty alleviation, income generation, food security and nutritional improvement of vulnerable local communities at three sites in Niger (Tillabery, Maradi, Niamey) and two sites in Burkina Faso (Kaya and Ouagadougou). Project results will contribute to empowering farming communities to manage agro-biodiversity including improved sorghum and pearl millet varieties, legume and minor, nutritious crops, and to sell surpluses to village-level or urban processing units.