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Senegalese Farmers Embrace Climate-Smart Agricultural Innovations in AICCRA Project

Senegalese Farmers Embrace Climate-Smart Agricultural Innovations in AICCRA Project

Press Release

As part of collaborative efforts to revolutionize agriculture in Africa, ICRISAT joined partners from ISRA/CERAAS (Centre d'Etude Régional pour l'Amélioration de l'Adaptation à la Sécheresse) to sensitize Senegalese farmers on innovative climate-smart agricultural practices under the AICCRA project.

Stakeholders were taken on a journey from Méouane to Daga Birame, and across to Koumpentoum, in an ambitious open field event, held from 29 September to 2 October 2023, that sought to showcase state-of-the-art agricultural technologies in Senegal’s intervention regions.

Amidst the rolling fields of Senegal, the AICCRA project has established a network of technology parks where various agricultural innovations were rigorously tested during the rainy season.

New crop varieties were compared against traditional options to test their resilience to the challenges of climate change.

"At each technology park, three improved varieties of the target crops (pearl millet, cowpea, groundnut) were combined with a local variety for comparisons in terms of varietal earliness to maturity, potential grain yield, and biomass yield at the farm level, under current climatic conditions," said Dr. Folorunso M. Akinseye, Agronomy and Agroclimatology Scientist at ICRISAT.

The project received critical support from the "Jokalante" platform, which offers weekly weather-based agro advisory services through SMS alerts and voice messages; and the ANCAR (Agence Nationale de Conseil Agricole et Rural), which contributed to the establishment of parks and farmers' plots, as well as the selection of beneficiaries in clusters.

To date, the initiative continues to receive rave reviews from farmers across three clusters, who express gratitude for the innovative technologies developed by ISRA/CERAAS and AICCRA.

"We thought we had the best knowledge in agriculture, but what we have seen over the past 2 years with the AICCRA project has shown us that we still have a long way to go. It is possible to achieve much higher yields than our current productivity, especially for millet, cowpeas, and groundnuts," shared Mr. El Hadj Diop, a farmer from Méouane.
Commenting on the new varities, he added, "We like all the varieties proposed by ISRA/CERAAS, but TAARU is our favorite, given its very short cycle and its potential for both grain seed and haulm. As for millet, 'SL423' took the lead, and we are expecting a yield of at least 2.5 tons per hectare."

Similar optimism was observed during field days in Daga Birame and Koumpentoum. However, farmers raised concerns about the availability of seeds in sufficient quantities and requested support in terms of agricultural machinery to reduce labor and post-harvest losses. 

Anthony Whitbread, Director of the Sustainable Livestock Systems Program at ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), assured producers that their concerns would be communicated to the relevant authorities and hinted at the possibility of a three-year extension of the program.  

"This phase would aim to consolidate achievements, expand activities, assess the project's impact, and address investment and financing matters," Dr Whitbread said.

On behalf of ICRISAT, Dr Akinseye praised the work carried out by ISRA/CERAAS at the technology parks and expressed hope that the recommendations from the field days would facilitate the scaling-up of Climate-Smart Agriculture in the additional phase.  

Dr. Ami Bodian, representing the Director of CERAAS, underscored the importance of the ISRA/CERAAS partnership with ICRISAT and ANCAR in making these technologies accessible and facilitating their adoption.  

"Empowering smallholder farmers helps reduce poverty, especially with the commencement of seed multiplication involving village organizations in collaboration with ISRA's Cereal and Pulses Seed Production Unit," Dr. Bodian said.
"The project focused on crops that are significant in the country’s agriculture, such as pearl millet, cowpea, groundnut, and sorghum. These crops are highly resilient to improve food and nutrition security in the region. With its longtime experience in the drylands, ICRISAT is committed to continuing its support to the farmers and women farmers not only with varieties but also the cropping systems," says Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT.

About the AICCRA Project:

The Accelerating the Impact of the CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project enhances access to climate information services and validated climate-smart agriculture technologies in Africa.

Through the support of AICCRA, farmers will get better access to climate advisory services that are linked to information about effective response measures. These services help them and their communities better safeguard livelihoods and the environment.

AICCRA is supported by a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, with the aim of enhancing research and capacity-building activities by CGIAR and its partners.

Agathe Diama
Agathe Diama Senior Communications Specialist for West and Central Africa

 

Crop Improvement Skills Transfer Food and Nutrition Security West & Central Africa Partnerships Technology adoption and impact analysis Resilient Farm and Food Systems Digital Agriculture
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

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The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
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