The F&SAD project provides support to the West African nations of Mali, Niger and Togo to develop and promote more intensive and sustainable agricultural technologies at the local level, while building agribusiness models at the regional level. The project works directly with thousands of farmers in the participatory development of technology packages chosen through experimentation with multiple variations of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) strategies. F&SAD also enhances the capacities of farmers and local entrepreneurs to anticipate and adapt to structural changes in the agricultural value chain as economies develop in West Africa. In particular, the project supports farmers who are just entering the market while assisting small entrepreneurs to develop agribusiness enterprises that improve linkages between farmers and markets. This ongoing project is funded by the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and is implemented by IFDC.
Utilizing ISFM methodology, the project focuses on the combined use of organic soil amendments and inorganic fertilizers to rebuild the fertility of the region’s severely nutrient-depleted soils. F&SAD has also developed an innovative approach to agricultural development, involving not just farmers, researchers and extension workers, but also bankers and traders, inputs dealers and private enterprises. This holistic approach combines ISFM strategies with institutional changes that facilitate effective linkages between farmers and input/output markets.
The project is inspiring local participants and national stakeholders to demonstrate the benefits of improved transparency, stronger coordination and more professionalism in agribusiness. F&SAD has trained producer organizations, input dealers and their associations in Mali, Niger and Togo in the marketing and efficient use of agro-inputs. After these training sessions, marketing agents from the Association of Professional Producers (AOPP), the Network of Agri-Inputs Operators of Mali (ORIAM) and CropLife Mali organize workshops for their member organizations. Recently, 51 sub-contracts have been signed between producers and agro-input dealers, involving 2,000 tons of NPK fertilizer and 1,000 tons of urea fertilizer.
F&SAD also develops policy recommendations and strategies to ensure adequate agro-input supply and available financing mechanisms. The project assists producer and dealer associations to establish demonstration plots to build greater interest in IFDC’s advanced agricultural technologies. Through ‘open field’ days, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, information dissemination campaigns and study tours, thousands of additional farmers outside of the program’s immediate participants will be reached over the life of the project.