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Fertilizer Microdosing and “Warrantage” or Inventory Credit System to Improve Food Security and Farmers’ Income in West Africa

Abstract

The fertilizer microdosing technology deals with the application of small quantities of fertilizers in the planting hole, thereby increasing fertilizer use efficiency and yields while minimizing input costs. In drought years, microdosing also performs well, because larger root systems are more efficient at finding water, and it hastens crop maturity, avoiding late-season drought. Recent research found that solving the soil fertility problem unleashes the yield potential of improved millet varieties, generating an additional grain yield of nearly the same quantity. Recognizing that liquidity constraints often prevent farmers from intensifying their production system, the warrantage or inventory credit system helps to remove barriers to the adoption of soil fertility restoration. Using a participatory approach through a network of partners from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers and farmer groups and other international agricultural research centres, the microdosing technology and the warrantage system have been demonstrated and promoted in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger during the past few years with encouraging results. Sorghum and millet yields increased by up to 120%, and farmers’ incomes went up by 130% when microdosing was combined with the warrantage system. This chapter highlights the outstanding past results and the ongoing efforts to further scale up the technology using Farmer field schools (FFS) and demonstrations, capacity and institutional strengthening, private sector linkages and crop diversification amongst other approaches.

Keywords

  • Farmer field schools
  • Fertilizer microdosing
  • Millet
  • Participatory approach
  • Sorghum
  • Warrantage or inventory credit system

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Acknowledgements

The authors express their gratitude to USAID and CORAF/AfDB for providing funding to implement the project activities in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. We thank all the farmers, farmers’ organizations and research and development partners and NGOs for their active involvement in the execution of the field activities.

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Correspondence to R. Tabo .

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Tabo, R. et al. (2011). Fertilizer Microdosing and “Warrantage” or Inventory Credit System to Improve Food Security and Farmers’ Income in West Africa. In: Bationo, A., Waswa, B., Okeyo, J., Maina, F., Kihara, J. (eds) Innovations as Key to the Green Revolution in Africa. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2543-2_10

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