VEDCO FRN

Lead Organization:

Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa, Farmer research network (FRN)

Duration:

8/2018—8/2021

Overview:

This project will advance CCRP’s FRN approach as a key strategy in the Eastern Africa region, while strengthening existing collaborative linkages among our key partners in eastern Uganda and enabling large numbers of smallholder farmers to benefit from CCRP’s previous investments in NaSARRI’s sorghum and finger millet breeding programs. We expect it to help improve smallholder farmers’ food and nutritional security, as well as broader empowerment, in the eastern Ugandan region.  VEDCO and its partners will gain experience using an FRN approach to increase their effectiveness and impacts on smallholder agricultural development. VEDCO is a mature NGO that aligns with the Foundation’s goals and strategies, having been a grantee under the East African Women’s Empowerment Program, as well as a key implementing field partner for two CCRP EAf research projects (a past project on Grain Amaranth and a current project on Post Harvest Handling). VEDCO also has strong existing relationships with CCRP-supported researchers at Makerere University and NARO (Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization, to which NaSARRI, another project partner, belongs) and will play a mentoring role for a very promising young NGO, FINASP, which will lead the FRN work in one of the project’s three target districts. FINASP, a relatively new NGO, founded by a group of highly motivated Makerere agricultural graduates, is a current partner of the Sorghum Uganda CCRP project team. Finally, we expect the VEDCO FRN to help amplify the decade-long investments that the Foundation has made in NaSARRI’s sorghum and finger millet crop improvement programs. NaSARRI breeders have developed a large number of improved varieties that incorporate both improved drought tolerance (both crops) and pest and disease resistance (stem borer resistance in sorghum and head blast in finger millet), as well as integrated soil fertility management strategies for these crops. To date, relatively few farmers have had exposure to NaSARRI research products. This project will give nearly 2,000 farmers the chance to assess the performance of this germplasm on their own farms, in comparison to local varieties. Recent experiences of our FRN NGO project in Kenya suggests that helping large numbers of farmers gain access to more resilient varieties, using an FRN approach, can have a great deal of impact in the short term.

Grant Aims:

GoalContribute to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Eastern Uganda using the farmer research network (FRN) approach. Specific objectives:1.  Build the capacity of partners to engage in collaborative, farmer-driven research and innovation processes using FRN approaches.2.  Assess locally adapted sorghum and millet options among smallholder farmers in Amuria, Palisa and Ngora districts for enhancing farmers’ uptake of options that suit their varied social, economic and ecological contexts and needs.3.  Establish community based sorghum and finger millet seed systems.4.  Enhance knowledge and information generation, documentation, sharing and dissemination using the FRN Model in Amuria, Palisa and Ngora districts of Uganda. Intended Outputs1.  The capacity of FRN partners built on FRN approaches, on-farm experimentation, seed production, data collection and management.2.  Establishment of functional FRNs in Amuria, Palisa and Ngora districts of Uganda.3.  Improved and locally adapted sorghum and finger millet varieties identified and grown by farmers.4.  Establishment of well-developed community seed systems that supply the locally adapted cereal seed.5.  Establishment of knowledge based platforms within the FRNS for learning, sharing and disseminating information. Intended Outcomes1.  A system in which farmers have access to production technologies that are suited to their agricultural systems, leading to system improvement and translating to increased agricultural productivity, access and enhanced food and income security in Eastern Uganda.2.  Farmers who are empowered to set their own research agenda, conduct experiments in their own contexts are innovative and use knowledge gained to make their agriculture more productive.3.  A research system in which there is deep engagement of multiple players, which is well managed and responsive to and adequately addresses the needs of the farmers.

Outputs and Outcomes:

Intended outputs:

  1. Increased capacity of FRN partners built on FRN approaches, on-farm experimentation, seed production, data collection, and management.
  2. Establishment of functional FRNs in Amuria, Palisa and Ngora districts of Uganda.
  3. Improved and locally adapted sorghum and finger millet varieties identified and grown by farmers.
  4. Establishment of well-developed community seed systems that supply the locally adapted cereal seed.
  5. Establishment of knowledge-based platforms within the FRNs for learning, sharing, and disseminating information.

 

Intended outcomes:

  1. A system in which farmers have access to production technologies suited to their agricultural systems, leading to system improvement and translating to increased agricultural productivity, access, and enhanced food and income security in eastern Uganda.
  2. Empowerment of farmers to set their own research agenda, conduct experiments in their own contexts that are innovative, and use knowledge gained to make their agriculture more productive.
  3. A research system in which there is deep engagement of multiple players, which is well managed and responsive to and adequately addresses the needs of the farmers.