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Transforming agriculture in Central and West Africa through development research

August 29, 2017
Five women with their harvest

Agricultural productivity in Central and West Africa remains low, but there is strong potential for research to improve food security and nutrition in the region. Developing sustainable agricultural production is key to effective strategies for sustainable and inclusive economic growth to improve livelihoods for women, men, and children.

IDRC develops and tests innovative food security and nutrition solutions by investing in applied research. Together with our partners, we are scaling up products, technologies, methods, and practices aimed at improving sustainable production, income, and nutrition.

IDRC funded research

IDRC is funding research to benefit small-scale farmers, particularly women. Some of IDRC’s recent food security projects in Central and West Africa include:

Fighting lethal yellowing disease for coconut farmers

Coconut crop losses from lethal yellowing disease impact the nutrition and income potential for farming families in Côte d’Ivoire. By engaging farmers, stakeholders, and policymakers in combating lethal yellowing disease, research has improved farmers’ ability to stop the spread of the disease and has increased women’s access to resources, markets, and income.

Scaling up fertilizer micro-dosing and indigenous vegetable production and utilization in West Africa

Fertilizer micro-dosing techniques use small amounts of fertilizer in return for higher yields of indigenous vegetables in Nigeria and Benin. Research has demonstrated increases in farmers’ profits and fertilizer demand in the region, addressing higher fertilizer costs, unstable rainfall patterns, and poor soil quality.

Achieving impact at scale through information and communication technology enabled extension services in Ghana

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as radio broadcasts, smartphone applications, text messages, and video messaging are providing farmers with more agricultural extension information and support than ever before. This project aims to improve the efficiency and economic viability of an ICT-based extension innovation that enhances productivity and increases income for men and women farmers.

Scaling up post-harvest management innovations for grain legumes in Africa

Pilot-tested small-scale mechanization and storage technologies can significantly reduce post-harvest losses in legumes in Burkina Faso and Mozambique. This project is working with agro-dealer networks and farmer cooperatives to deploy these innovative post-harvest technologies and management practices for grain legumes.

Financial services and the deployment of agricultural innovations in the Sahel

Lack of access to financing is an obstacle to farmer adoption of yield-enhancing agricultural technologies developed by West Africa’s agronomic research centres. This project is testing how financial services can support large-scale adoption of technologies that have the potential to increase productivity and improve food security for small-scale farmers.

Developing capacity for agricultural research for development in sub-Saharan Africa

A response to the challenge of developing research capacity in West and Central Africa, this project focuses on improving institutional capacity in targeted countries through support to agricultural science graduate students. The goal is to foster the next generation of young African agricultural science leaders.

Structural transformation of African agriculture and rural spaces

Supporting policy leadership is key to growth and poverty reduction in Africa's agriculture sector. This project promotes rigorous, gender-sensitive, and policy-oriented research on factors for enhancing rural employment. The ultimate goal is to identify labour market, policy, and institutional constraints that undermine job creation and employment in rural areas.