WHERE WE WORK
Start Year: 1996
End Year: 2005
Country Program Director/Coordinator: Dr Marcel Galiba
History and Primary Activities:
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Fisheries visiting a wheat plot
The SG 2000 Burkina Faso Program was launched in partnership with the country’s Ministry of Rural Development. Production Test Plots (PTPs) were the central strategies employed to introduce better varieties and improved cultivation methods. Over its nine-year history, 23,000 PTPs were established with farmers in maize, millet, rice, cowpeas and groundnut. Soil conservation and fertility improvement was also an important program activity. This involved working with communities to construct stone dikes, introduce compost enriched with phosphate rock, and fallow improvement.
The PTP program in 1997 and 1998 revealed several lessons. First, the millet and sorghum PTPs had not proved entirely successful, and the technology packages were revised in collaboration with research and extension advisors. Lower amounts of fertilizers were recommended, and the new package boosted millet and sorghum yields by 30-50%, but entailed much lower levels of risk. The new millet and sorghum PTPs were launched in 1999. Maize and rice had shown that important sources of revenue for farmers, and excellent technologies were available for these crops, and they received a higher priority from 1999 forward. The nutritionally superior QPM variety Obatanpa from Ghana, renamed Masongo (“good mother” in the local language), was introduced into the program and about 1,000 maize PTPs were grown by farmers. The need for an integrated soil fertility management program was also evident, and about 1,000 PTPs were planted in 1999 with various green manure crops, such as Mucuna and Lablab.
Absorbing the lessons of the first five years – After five years in Burkina Faso, one of SG 2000’s priorities was to produce a logical framework to guide future activities. The mission of the SG 2000 Program was clarified and focused on improving the relationships between organizations and individuals involved in the project. An agreement was reached among partners to ease Program management, and to enable a better understanding of the Program and its limitations.
However, low recovery rates on input loans made by SG 2000 (~50%) slowed the spread of Program activities. Beginning in 2000, farmers who wished to participate in PTPs were required to pay cash for needed inputs. Originally, a target of dike construction to protect 400 hectares was set for 1999, with a significant involvement from farmers. However, because most of the costs associated with establishing stone dikes were not recovered, SG 2000’s support was restricted to those villages with high recovery rates from past PTP loans, resulting in only 132 hectares being protected.
In 1999, SG 2000-Burkina Faso began encouraging the formation of village savings and loan associations (called CREPs – Caisse Rurale d’Epargne et de Prêt) to mobilize savings and to provide a locally controlled source of credit. Four CREPs were established, with a total of 332 members; about 15% of the members were women. However, this program failed to grow significantly.
Starting in the 2003 rainy season, a new strategy for SG 2000-Burkina Faso was launched. This involved the further encouragement of farmers to purchase inputs on a cash basis, while strengthening fertilizer dealer networks and the CREP movement. Seed production concentrated on QPM and NERICA (New Rice for Africa).
In 2004, Burkina Faso was the first Francophone country to adopt the SAFE program, at the Université Polytechnique Bobo Dioulasso, to upgrade the skills of mid-career extension staff. This was a hopeful sign that the government understood the need to invest in upgrading the skills of its extension personnel, especially those with considerable field experience. About 60 students enrolled in SAFE courses at the Université Polytechnique Bobo Dioulasso by 2010.
In 2005, at the request of the SAA donor for program consolidation, it was decided to bring the SG 2000-Burkina Faso program to a conclusion.
Farmers in Burkina Faso made great strides in improving food crop production during 1986-2005, especially in maize and sorghum. Cotton production also increased tremendously, growing from 202,000 tons in 1996 to 712,000 tons in 2005. The maize PTP program had considerable impact, since it focused on the cotton zone where rainfall is more plentiful and farmers are accustomed to using fertilizers. National maize production increased from 294,000 to 799,000 tons, a 2.7-fold increase. Farmers had shown their enthusiasm for Masongo and its improved nutritional qualities. The Program also focused on producing and disseminating QPM seed, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and its research institutions. By 2005, 50,000 hectares were being planted to Masongo. The sorghum PTP program, based in the lower rainfall areas, also had significant impact. National production grew from 1 million to 1.5 million tons from 1986 to 2005.
In 2003/04, Burkina Faso achieved a record production of cereals
Burkina Faso has been the most successful Sahelian country in agricultural development of recent decades. Overall, cereals (millet, maize, sorghum, rice and fonio), grew from 2.5 to 3.5 million tons between 1986 and 2005. Burkina became first among the Sahelian countries with a cereal surplus. This required careful management to avoid serious price fluctuations. A program of export promotion to neighboring countries was aggressively pursued.