Strategic Alliance for Agricultural Development in Africa
The Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)
SAADA-A: select West Africa countries; SAADA-B: select East and southern Africa countries; SAADA-C: cross-cutting among several IFDC projects in Africa
Agricultural intensification using Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) techniques and other strategies to upscale the Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach, based on agribusiness cluster formation and commodity chain development.
Key Results (July-December 2009):
- The number of clusters reached 216 in seven targeted countries by the end of 2009, representing a 60 percent increase over 2008. This increase and the related interest in clusters demonstrate that the project is addressing ongoing issues facing producer organizations and farmers at a grassroots level.
- The project assisted in the development and strengthening of farmer-led National Steering Committees (NSCs) that are now firmly in place in all supported countries. These NSCs are increasingly involved in cluster activities through planning sessions, field visits and cluster evaluations. In some countries, potential clusters for 2010 have already been selected by NSCs, and advocacy efforts are ongoing.
- Increased training in CASE concepts and agribusiness subject matter has stimulated practitioners to begin sharing information, tools and experiences at the country level and across countries. Training at the country level took place in each of the seven countries and emphasized not only individual skills but also organizational learning. As part of the ICRA collaboration, there were two three-week training sessions in innovation at rural and regional levels. ICRA-trained ‘agribusiness coaches’ assisted with the training conducted by the CASE trainers. Thirty of the 35 CASE trainers (including eight women) trained approximately 633 persons (including 88 women). The more specific CASE trainings, particularly analysis of value chains, targeted 96 men and 11 women. Other trainings (e.g., production and processing techniques, gender analysis and ISFM) involved 1,798 persons (including 566 women).
- The new AISSA network website is now online and can be viewed at www.aissa.org. Using the Esoko platform, the site takes advantage of mobile and web-based content services. Success stories for the website were developed through the organization of local writing workshops. To date, 33 success stories and two videos from seven countries have been collected.
- Considerable progress was made in larger-scale activities such as Urea Deep Placement (UDP), assessment of human waste as a fertilizer resource and input Market Information Systems (MIS). In UDP, participatory demonstrations were conducted in 20 projects located in six West African countries as well as Madagascar. About 1,500 farm families are actively participating in this promotion. Results indicate that, on average, UDP technology has produced 20-30 percent more paddy rice using 30-50 percent less urea than traditional practices. Additional adaptive research was conducted to tailor UDP to prevailing local agricultural factors such as soil types, varieties and farmer practices.
- About 10 tons of prilled urea were converted into briquettes. Eight briquetting machines were purchased from Bangladesh and distributed to participating partners. Altogether, 50 motivational field days were organized which brought together over 15,000 farmers, scientists, policy makers and extension agents. Training-of-trainers sessions were also organized, and various UDP-related technical materials were distributed.
- Advances were made with the assessment of human waste as a fertilizer resource. In August 2009, IFDC organized a meeting of an assessment team at Tampere University of Applied Sciences during the 2009 International Dry Toilet Congress in Tampere, Finland. The team included experts from the Stockholm Environment Institute, Tampere University, National University of Rosario (Argentina) and Le Centre Régional pour l'Eau Potable et l'Assainissement à faible coût (CREPA). Primary themes for the assessment were defined and a project plan was developed, including literature surveys and field visits/networking. A field visit in China was conducted in October, where the organic fertilizer industry is perhaps the most active in the world. Samples of fertilizer products were collected and are being tested.
- MIS efforts continue to be successful. IFDC recently launched AfricaFertilizer.org. To date, the site includes more than 200 publications, agricultural data, news feeds and event information. Additional features will be added, and IFDC is in discussions with data providers to gain access to additional data of interest. The regional Agricultural Input Market Information System (AMITSA) serving East and southern Africa has progressed, with the groundwork for implementation completed. Partnerships with Regional Economic Communities such as the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) were established. National consultative roundtables were held in six countries for stakeholders to assist in finalizing country profiles including lists of markets, common fertilizers, certified seeds and crop protection products. Awareness-raising efforts continue to ensure that the system is promoted to stakeholders. A public launch is planned for early 2010.
- Project support activities centered on ISFM, agro-input dealer development and the manufacture and use of UDP. Trainings and trainings-of-trainers were held in each of the target areas. In addition, IFDC staff supported the CATALIST project in the identification of gender and HIV/AIDS constraints to agricultural intensification then created a strategy to address these constraints. MIS and monitoring and evaluation activities were also conducted. A study on managing risks along the fertilizer value chain in Africa also continued. This study’s publication will be targeted to, and useful for the April 2010 IFDC training “Managing risks along the fertilizer value chain in West Africa.”
- Efforts on cross-cutting activities continued in gender incorporation, methodology development in Natural Resources Management and the Ghana School Feeding Program. IFDC continued efforts towards initiation of activities in Liberia, with a strong focus on rice.