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Agricultural intensification in West Africa: insights from Sasakawa Global 2000's experience

Nubukpo K.K., Galiba M.. 1999. In : Workshop on Agricutural Transformation, Nairobi, Kenya, June 27-30, 1999. s.l. : s.n., 26 p.. Workshop on Agricultural Transformation, 1999-06-27/1999-06-30, Nairobi (Kenya).

High population growth rates and increasing urbanization present a challenge to policy makers in West Africa to motivate and assist farmers in using new technologies to improve productivity and increase agricultural production needed to address structural food deficits. This paper discusses efforts by Sasakawa Global 2000 to work with farmers and Ministries of Agriculture to test and promote adoption of appropriate, profitable technologies that increase yields and improve soil fertility. In Ghana and Benin, this approach resulted in a 300% yield improvement in farmers' experimental plots of maize and sorghum, in addition to serving as a successful example to the national extension system and a network of rural savings associations. More recent efforts to introduce new technologies to farmers in semi-arid areas of Burkina Faso and Mali are confronted by a more fragile ecosystem: nutrient poor, badly drained soils; and insufficient and unevenly spaced rainfall. When combined with highly variable producer prices, weak marketing and social infrastructure and less responsive millet varieties, farmers have adopted risk-averse strategies that seek to assure household food security while constraining innovation. In Mali, SG's strategy includes efforts to combat wind and water erosion and use natural phosphates and legumes. While partial budget analyses reveal a high marginal rate of return for Apron treated seed varieties without any complementary inputs (237%), returns on the use of mineral fertilizers have to date proven inconclusive. The varying degree of adoption of these packages by farmers raises the question of whether future efforts must more thoroughly consider the effect of agrosocioeconomic factors that affect farmer motives, particularly the need to minimize yield variability in the more risky environment of the Sahel.

Mots-clés : agriculture intensive; innovation; Économie de production; augmentation de rendement; fertilité du sol; afrique occidentale

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