RRP3: Improving markets and facilitating institutional innovations
The goal of the program is to help generate policy options, tools, methods, lessons, and investment strategies. It contributes largely to the other programs, especially when socio-economic studies are needed. It helps scientists to evaluate their research impact in the region and to base their work on solid socio-economic background knowledge. Over the last three years, the research agenda has focused on 6 key areas:
Since 2006, we have undertaken five adoption studies on groundnut and pearl millet varieties in Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, as well as three studies on uptake of soil and land management in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. The prospects of the groundnut in the international, regional and domestic markets, and the structure and performance of groundnut seed market have been thoroughly understood by ICRISAT scientists. The results are manifold and are available in relevant publications.
Under the Tropical Legumes II project, we undertook baseline data collection in Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Overall, 240 households were surveyed in Niger and 280 each in Mali and Nigeria. These datasets form an essential base to better assess the impact of groundnut varieties on the livelihoods of the poor.
The seed market has become an important issue in WCA when talking about agricultural development, and hence research. We conducted pilot testing for small pack seeds in the Dosso region of Niger in 2007/08, which revealed that more than 1500 farmers gained access to new seed varieties through this scheme. Overall, the profitability of such an operation was limited: there were 20% losses relative to the break-even price. The major constraints identified were: poor positioning of input shops and outlets, low skills in small-scale business and marketing, and limited information on the varieties. This operation continued in the 2009 cropping season but with the addition of significant training in business and marketing skills for partners.
An assessment study on farmersí preferences for groundnut plant and seed traits was undertaken in Mali, Niger, and Nigeria during the 2007/08 cropping season. At three stages of plant growth (plant establishment, flowering, and harvest), we selected a range of panelists in each country to provide their perception on plant and seed traits on varieties tested under the mother trials in the Tropical Legumes II project. In each country, these preference surveys were implemented with partners who were trained before. Data for Niger and Nigeria have been entered and explored; data from Mali are forthcoming. Preliminary results were prepared for presentation at the review and planning workshops organized prior to the 2009 rainy season.
Sustainable land management for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Niger
Results from a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in eight villages in the Tahoua region of Niger indicate that farmers are adapting in many ways to changes in climate by using agronomic practices, changing livestock-rearing schemes, and looking for non-farm opportunities such as labor migration.
Farmersí perceptions on the impacts of climate change may not be consistent with scientistsí investigation. Collected rainfall data in the Sahel show that during the last decade the quantity of rainfall has actually increased. But according to farmers the contrary has occurred: they say there is less rain, the growing period is shorter, and rainy season starts later and ends earlier. Other indicators include:
However, in villages where there has been significant investment in soil and land management projects, farmers have centered strategies on vegetable and fish production. Results from the PRA will be confirmed using a structured survey of households in the Tahoua region.
Contact: Jupiter Ndjeunga, Principal Scientist, based in Niamey
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