Smallholders' insights fuel Africa farm innovation

An EU-funded project designed and tested new soil and water management innovations to increase food production on African farms hand in hand with local farmers. It shows how involving smallholders in research could increase innovation uptake when there is a proper enabling framework.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 27 May 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodAgriculture
International cooperation
Research policySeventh Framework Programme
Success storiesInternational cooperation
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Ethiopia  |  France  |  Mali  |  Mozambique  |  Netherlands  |  South Africa  |  Spain  |  Sri Lanka  |  Tunisia  |  United Kingdom  |  Zambia
Add to PDF "basket"

Smallholders' insights fuel Africa farm innovation

© Pascal06 - fotolia.com

Upodated on May 27, 2019

In the EAU4FOOD project, African small-scale farmers took the driving seat in the development of low-cost innovations for irrigation, plant management and soil fertility. The project aimed to increase food production and identify barriers that keep farmers from adopting useful new ideas and methods.

Farmers identified needs, such as more efficient use of water or greater access to markets. Then they and higher-level stakeholders, including local authorities, selected priority needs together. Finally, all stakeholders were included in proposing and testing innovations for these and evaluating the results.

‘This inclusive approach had been used in other sustainability research,’ says project coordinator Jochen Froebrich of Stichting Wageningen Research in the Netherlands. “But this was the first time it was applied to smallholder irrigation across different countries in Africa.”

Change through collaboration

Solutions often increased yields dramatically, potentially boosting development and food security. Some have been summarised in a step-by-step farmers’ manual, says Froebrich.

Although widespread uptake of the innovations was not always possible due to factors outside the farmers’ control, the project had lasting results.

One was that Mozambique’s National Irrigation Institute adopted EAU4FOOD’s development approach. In Ethiopia, a local government aims to apply it to other irrigation schemes in the region. And a scheme to improve market access is underway in a cooperative maize milling development in South Africa co-funded by the Dutch government.

‘Changes on the ground are possible when the private sector, donors and research institutes work together over time,’ Froebrich says.

He adds that EAU4FOOD helped to improve researchers’ mind sets for future work. A survey by the Overseas Development Institute, a project partner, showed that all partners found the inclusive approach brought great advantages.

‘Being stakeholder-driven shifted from a “nice to have” to a “must have”. It won’t solve the problem overnight, but it shares ownership of it,’ adds Froebrich. ‘The project marks the need for continuity and a strong enabling framework that allows farmers to put their innovations into practice.’

Project details

  • Project acronym: EAU4Food
  • Participants: the Netherlands (Coordinator), Mali, Zambia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ehiopia, Sri Lanka, France, UK, Spain, Mozambique
  • Project N°: 265471
  • Total costs: € 4 941 145
  • EU contribution: € 3 994 856
  • Duration: July 2011 to June 2015

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details