Marketing Inputs Regionally Plus (MIR Plus)
Project Reporting Period:
The Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)
Fifteen member-nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo
Improving policy and regulatory environments for agro-input production and trade; supporting innovative approaches that increase agro-input use and efficiency; improving the availability of technical and market information to farmers and agro-dealers; using technology to link producers’ organizations with agro-dealers for improved access to market information.
In 2010, the MIR Plus project focus was strengthening capacities of producer organizations to access and use agro-inputs in Ghana and Nigeria, by working on collaboration with the AGRA-funded, IFDC-implemented projects, namely the Ghana Agro-Dealer Development project (GADD) and the Nigeria Agro-Dealer Support project (NADS). This collaboration aims to ensure that as agro-dealer networks are extended and professionalized, farmers are able to take advantage of their services, and are better able to use inputs appropriately and safely.
The project also works together with the DGIS-funded and IFDC-implemented 1000s+ project in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.
- In Burkina Faso, the project developed a joint work plan and initiated activities with FEBAP, the top national farmers’ organization. The project provided financial support and technical backstopping while FEPAB was responsible for the implementation. Activities carried out focused on:
- Establishing demonstration plots to showcase the yield effect of improved seed varieties and crop-specific fertilizer products.
- The training of leaders of producer organizations (POs) in the safe use and handling of pesticides, agro-input demand pooling and procurement, and negotiation strategies.
- In Ghana, 13,848 farmers were directly impacted by the activities of the MIR Plus project with the support of the AGRA-funded GADD project and the DGIS-funded 1000s+ project. This was achieved through:
- The training of 127 PO leaders in the safe use and handling of pesticides and on agro-input demand pooling. Additionally, 102 PO leaders were trained in procurement and negotiation strategies. These leaders were then empowered to further train members of their organizations.
- The establishment of 125 demonstration plots across the country, around which 329 field days were organized – attended by 9,935 farmers (6,073 men and 3,863 women). At these field days, farmers were introduced to various technologies demonstrated on the fields, which ranged from improved seed to crop-specific fertilizers.
- The organization of 23 input fairs, attended by 3,547 farmers (2,301 men and 940 women) in various communities, to give farmers the opportunity to interact directly with input dealers. This enabled farmers to also get inputs at a reduced rate.
In Ghana, it was clear that farmers greatly appreciated activities that were organized for them and are advocating for the MIR Plus project to increase its coverage. In addition, the project also supported the production and printing of 2,000 copies of the Ghana Agro-Dealer Directory for use by farmers and other stakeholders in agriculture.
- In Nigeria, activities focused on:
- The training of 132 PO leaders (105 men and 27 women in seven states) in the safe use of pesticides, and agro-inputs demand pooling and procurement. The trained PO leaders in turn trained about 9,000 farmers (about 7,200 men and 1,800 women). Farmers quickly began to demonstrate caution in the way they handled agro-chemicals, and initiated plans to save money by pooling their demands for inputs for the next farming season as a result of the trainings they received.
- The establishment of 32 demonstration plots to show the efficacy of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) and the use of herbicides in Jigawa and Gombe States. About 1,150 farmers attended the four field days organized to showcase the technologies in the demonstrations. Farmers were particularly impressed with ISFM, which has proved capable of restoring the productivity of lands that were hitherto considered to be unproductive.