Improving cereal productivity and farmers’ income using a strategic application of fertilizers in West Africa
In the past two years, ICRISAT, in collaboration with other International Agricultural Research Centres, National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems, has been evaluating and promoting point or hill application of fertilizer along with “Warrantage” in three West African countries, namely, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The hill application of fertilizers consists of applying small doses of fertilizer in the planting hills of millet and sorghum. The combination of strategic hill application of fertilizer with complementary institutional and market linkages, through an inventory credit system (known as “Warrantage”) offers a good opportunity to improve crop productivity and farmers’ incomes. Results from the two year on-farm trials showed that, on average, in all the three countries, grain yields of millet and sorghum were greater by 44 to 120% while incomes of farmers increased by 52 to 134% when using hill application of fertilizer than with the earlier recommended fertilizer broadcasting methods and farmers’ practice. Substantial net profits were obtained by farmers using “Warrantage”. Farmers’ access to credit and inputs was improved substantially through the “Warrantage” system. The technology has reached up to 12650 farm households in the three countries and efforts are in progress to further scale-up and out the technology to wider geographical areas.
KeywordsCollaboration millet sorghum poor soil fertility strategic application of fertilizers “Warrantage”/inventory credit system
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