Technology Introduction and Marketing

Lead Organization:

Purdue University, INERA, INRAN

Community of Practice:

West Africa


Burkina Faso




This project is led by Purdue University in partnership with INERA in Burkina and INRAN in Niger, in collaboration with farmers’ organizations of the two countries. The basic hypothesis of the project is that the price collapses (seasonal and good weather) and the lack of market power of farmers reduces the expected prices of farmers for their food staples (sorghum and millet). Hence, farmers are unwilling to invest in the necessary inputs for yield increasing technology. To test this hypothesis, the project combines improved technologies with new marketing strategies. The latter will moderate the price collapse and obtain a premium price through increased added value. The project also supports farmers’ organizations to become sustainable marketing cooperatives and thereby increase the bargaining power of farmers in both input and product markets.

Grant Aims:

  • Increase mean farmers’ yields, prices and incomes
  • Create viable marketing cooperatives able to deal with input and product markets for farmers and to borrow money from financial institutions especially for inventory credit
  • Engage in specific marketing studies to improve connections of the farmers’ associations with expanding markets for processed food/feed cereal use

Outputs and Outcomes:

The marketing project promoted the sorghum cultivar Sepon82 as flagship technology in Niger, and stated the need to identify alternative sorghum cultivars (other than ‘Grinkan’) for Burkina Faso. Model calculations revealed that if farmers’ associations cultivate 150 ha with the new technologies disseminated by the project (improved seed, fertilizer, optimized marketing) they have the potential to become independent. At this scale, the farmers would perform well the agronomy, the farmers’ associations would become more proficient with the marketing strategies, and the farmers’ associations would have a bank account and could get bank financing/credits.Yields of sorghum and millet were compared on farms in the Maradi region in 2013. The good alluvial soil in this area is appropriate for getting high sorghum yields, whereas millet does better in sandier soils and does not have as much yield potential as sorghum. On the farms sorghum yields ranged from 838 kg /ha to 1.7 tons /ha whereas, millet ranged from 723 kg/ha to 1.1 tons/ha. Besides the differences in insect attack the substantial yield variation of sorghum indicates the importance of following well the agronomic recommendations.With regard to scaling up the goal was exceeded. Approximately 400 ha of farmers in the region outside the program using Grinkan. Moreover, the UPPA bought 1,300 kg of Grinkan from Kouakale farmers to expand the Grinkan area another 200 ha. Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture of Burkina adopted their own scaling up program by distributing Grinkan seed and inorganic fertilizer to farmers on 1,000 ha in 2013.Improved marketing through the farmers’ association allows the farmers to sell later and avoid the post-harvest price collapse, utilize the storage facility of the farmers’ association and produce a clean sorghum thereby obtaining a value added price premium. The association can find buyers higher up in the marketing chain by selling larger quantities and thereby increase its bargaining power and obtain part of the marketing margin. Farmers reported prices 34 to 39% higher by following elements of this marketing strategy.Farmers reported prices 34 to 39% higher by following elements of the marketing strategy. The marketing effect substantially increased the profitability and the rate of return to these combined production and marketing components of the project. In summary, the technology-marketing project has resulted in increased yields and profits for farmers in Niger over this long period of 2008-2012.It was estimated that around 60% of the Niger farmers in the project followed the recommendations when introduced. Then over time the other farmers began imitating the best farmers following the program. This variable of a higher probability of farmers following the recommendation as a function of their time in the program was found to be highly significant.The evaluation of the residual to determine how to further increase productivity showed that the two variables that were highly significant in further raising yields were the time in the program and the quantity that farmers marketed through the association above the reimbursement in kind for the input credits. So the first was another validation of our extension strategy and the second indicated the interconnected nature of better marketing and of increasing yields.In terms of fertilizers and their costs, the DAP (diammonium phosphate) was recommended by the project as an alternative to the more expensive NPK fertilizer (recommendation to use  a single bag of DAP with prices ranging between 21 000 and 23 000 FCFA instead of 2 bags of NPK prices ranging between 36 000 and 40 000). However, after two years of testing in the Bobo region and specifically at Kouakoualé, yields have shown the superiority of the two bags of NPK relative to the contribution of one DAP bag. This corresponds to the evaluation and the preference of the producers. The agronomic explanation is that the NPK formulation (14-23-14-6-1) contains more nutrients than the DAP (18-46), especially the DAP does not contain potassium.