Early-maturing pearl millet, groundnut and cowpea varieties that are high-yielding and pest resistant with high biomass yield were showcased on a large scale along with demonstrations of innovative climate-smart agriculture technologies in three regions of Senegal.
The field days were held as part of the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) program in Senegal. About 350 participants (125 women and 225 men) attended and including farmers, farmers associations, extension agents, community leaders, representatives of the government, and project implementation partners from three clusters – Méouane, Daga Birame and Thiel.
“The project is developing agricultural innovations and agronomic practices and most importantly contributing to farmers’ resilience by providing access to dual-purpose varieties with high biomass yield for livestock,” said Dr Aliou Faye, coordinator of the AICCRA project at the Institut Sénégalais de Recherche Agricole (ISRA), Senegal.
The demonstrations in the technology parks in Senegal contributed to an objective led by CERAAS and co-implemented by ICRISAT and ANCAR (Agence Nationale de Conseil Agricole et Rural) towards improving system resilience. For millet and groundnut, 108 technology demonstration parks were hosted by beneficiary farmers across the clusters.
"The improved varieties are adapted to climatic geographies with significant rainfall variations. The varieties are short-cycle, with high yields of seeds and stalks, and are tolerant to certain diseases and pest attacks,” said ICRISAT scientist Dr Akinseye Folorunso.
The key achievements of the technology parks are that farmers and members of participating communities were introduced to climate-smart technologies, including seeds of improved crop varieties that are adapted to their ecosystems.
Participating farmers learned from their successes how to disseminate best practices to fellow farmers. In addition, they shared solutions and new ideas on production and marketing along the value chain and consumption of the target crops.
“Discussing ideas with fellow farmers and other stakeholders contributed to enhancing each participant’s knowledge on improved seeds for increasing productivity," said Dr Akinseye Folorunso.
The AICCRA project is financed by the World Bank for a period of three years (2021 - 2023). The Senegal cluster, which is led by ILRI in collaboration with ICRISAT and CIAT has articulated around three components – the development of an agricultural database and a decision support tool; the reinforcement of the capacity of the actors for sustainable production of climate information services; and the promotion, validation, and adoption of CSA techniques with National partners (ISRA, Agence nationale de l’aviation civile et de la météorologie (ANACIM), and ANCAR).
The field days held from 17-21 October 2022, provided an opportunity for all partners to evaluate the performance of the agricultural technological innovations set up in the demonstration parks.