ISFM practices in use on a maize field.
Promoting Innovative Agricultural Technologies in West Africa
IFDC introduced FDP, a technology that has great potential for boosting rice production. When farmers use FDP, they place supergranules of fertilizer (either urea or a combination of fertilizers) several centimeters deep in the soil to improve nitrogen use efficiency, which results in much greater yields while using less fertilizer and reducing environmental damage. ECOWAS and UEMOA are strongly committed to supporting a regional effort to promote FDP technology across West Africa. IFDC promotes ISFM for the sustainable intensification of West African agriculture. ISFM combines the use of mineral fertilizers with organic soil amendments (crop residues, compost and green manure) and other improved crop, soil and water
management practices to increase agricultural productivity while protecting the environment and maintaining or enhancing the soil resource base. Master trainers from 13 West African countries are disseminating theoretical and practical knowledge about ISFM within the region. IFDC’s collaborative work with UEMOA and ECOWAS has helped change policies and activities to advance regional integration in West Africa. Successes in West Africa over the past 20 years prompted IFDC and its partners to disseminate ISFM and CASE approaches in East and Southern Africa within the framework of a continentwide initiative to improve food security and rural livelihoods.
Policy Proposal in Nigeria Will Increase Use of Cassava To use cassava more effectively and eliminate excess cassava in the market, the Federal Government of Nigeria has proposed reviving a policy and enacting legislation that bakeries use 10 percent cassava flour in their products. While Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer, the use of cassava in food, beverage and commercial products has not been maximized and its farmers remain among Africa’s poorest. Scott Wallace, IFDC country representative in Nigeria, believes that the proposed policy will boost both cassava production and utilization. IFDC’s Cassava Plus project is teaching projectaffiliated farmers new production techniques that improve cassava yields. “We are helping these farmers move from
subsistence production to smallholder commercial production,” Wallace said. “They are learning how to maximize yields while lowering costs.” IFDC’s partner, the Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company (DADTCO), is providing project farmers a guaranteed market for their produce. Cassava spoils rapidly after harvest. To reduce the time and cost of transporting cassava to the processing factory, DADTCO is sending autonomous mobile processing units (AMPUs) to three locations near participating farmers’ fields in Taraba State. The AMPUs perform the first stage of processing; the resulting cassava ‘cake’ is taken to DADTCO’s factory in Jalingo for further processing. 11