Access to inputs such as improved seed varieties, fertilizer, and crop protection products are imperative to the transformation of the agricultural sector. The Seeds Project, part of the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA), was created to transform West African agriculture from subsistence farming to profitable, self-sustaining, and competitive commercial agriculture. CNFA implemented the five-year project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), with partners The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and Iowa State University. The project sought to modernize seed distribution systems, facilitate smallholder farmer access to improved seed varieties, improve seed production technologies, and strengthen links to credit and markets. The Seeds Project strengthened West Africa’s seed system across Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.
- Advanced the development and implementation of national seed laws and regulations;
- Created and strengthened private seed enterprises;
- Provided business management and technical trainings;
- Produced foundation for certified seed and make available for distribution;
- Conducted seed variety trials for cereals and vegetables.
Business Management Training: The Agro-dealer Business Training Program built the business capacity of local seed company managers through training on business planning, supply chain management, and marketing. The six-module training model included: managing working capital, managing stocks, costing and pricing, selling and marketing, record keeping, and managing business relationships.
Agricultural Productivity: The WASA program worked with local institutions to build agricultural potential in specific focus areas. Bringing improved access to input supplies, availability of technology and technology transfer to farmers, and increased access to credit for rural smallholders, the program made significant impacts on production practices throughout WASA countries. Field days were an effective medium in spreading awareness of improved farming methods. With participants spanning from local farmers and agro-dealers to government officials and major supply companies, the input systems in target countries saw marked improvement.
Seed and Input Supply systems: WASA aimed to develop viable agricultural inputs systems and support the overall growth of the West Africa agricultural sector by creating a sustainable commercial seed industry that provides small-scale farmers with affordable, timely, and reliable access to high quality seeds and planting materials. In cooperation with input supply companies, WASA organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies.
Technical Training: CNFA worked through input-supply companies and commercial trainers to build capacity on safe usage and handling of products. To complement these trainings, WASA also organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies. Field demos provided an excellent educational tool to teach both agro-dealers and farmers about new varieties and correct herbicide and fertilizer application.
Output Marketing: WASA linked agro-dealers and farmer producer groups to commodity traders and crop processors to create market pull for farmer production, and assisted seed companies and associations in establishing seed marketing strategies.