Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Senegal
West Africa Seed Alliance
Access to inputs, such as improved seed varieties, fertilizer and crop protection products are imperative to the transformation the agricultural sector. The Seeds Project (2007-2012), 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, $6.1 million project funded by USAID and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), with 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.
Through the Seeds Project, WASA advanced the development and implementation of national seed laws and regulations, created and strengthened private seed enterprises, provided business management and technical trainings, produced a foundation for certified seed available for distribution and conducted seed variety trials for cereals and vegetables through the following approach:
- Provided Business Management and Technical Trainings: The project’s Agrodealer Business Training Program built the business capacity of local seed company managers through training in 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.
- Increased Agricultural Productivity: WASA 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 alliance had a significant impact on production practices throughout WASA countries. Field days were an effective medium in spreading awareness of improved farming methods. With participants spanning from local agrodealers to government officials and major supply companies, the input systems in target countries saw marked improvement.
- Created and Strengthened Private Seed Enterprises: WASA developed viable agricultural inputs systems and supported the overall growth of the West African agricultural sector by creating a sustainable commercial seed industry that provided small-scale farmers with affordable, timely and reliable access to high-input quality seeds and planting materials. In cooperation with input supplies, WASA organized demonstration plots and farmer field days to enhance awareness about new products and technologies.
- Improved Technical Training of Seed Enterprises: CNFA worked through input-supply companies and commercial trainers to build capacity for the safe usage and handling of products. WASA field demonstrations also provided an excellent educational tool to teach both agrodealers and farmers about new varieties and correct herbicide and fertilizer application.
- Improved Seed Output Marketing: WASA linked agrodealers and farmer producer groups to commodity traders and crop processors to create market pull for farmer production. It also assisted seed companies and associations in establishing seed marketing strategies.