Strategies for building resilient farming systems for the semi-arid regions of West and Central Africa
Stakeholders reviewed, consolidated and charted pathways for sustaining the resilience of farming systems in different agro-ecologies of the semi-arid regions of West and Central Africa, at a workshop in Nigeria.
The presentations addressed the functioning and the integration of the drivers of resilience and components of effective technology packaging and delivery with the overall aim of increasing production and productivity of the farming systems.
The discussions provided an avenue for prioritizing research extension, policy and options for funding to attain large-scale impact across the region. From the deliberations the following trends and research gaps were noted:
- Growing demand for crop-livestock products in WCA
- Changes in the structure of the demand for food which are driven by increased per capita income and rapid urbanization resulting in change in diets and preferences
- Price volatility of major agricultural produce and natural resources associated with marketing of agricultural produce
- Challenges of managing pastoralism and dealing with issues of conflicts between pastoralism and farmers
- Climate change is a major issue impacting agricultural production and attainment of food security
- Inadequate synergy between research and policy and low participation of women and youth in agricultural extension, thereby limiting service delivery to women in key value chains.
The workshop recommendations for addressing the above issues included:
- Policy dialogue platforms based on evidence-based research findings
- Increased funding for research and development among all partners
- Higher synergy through multi-disciplinary research for crop-livestock integration, adoption of better management practices including climate-smart farming systems
- Strengthening of feedback mechanisms for monitoring agricultural technology
- Increased investment for sustainable intensification of smallholder mixed-crop-livestock systems through effective land use planning and efficient management of soils, water, pasture, and other essential resources
- Development of market-driven innovation platforms linking all actors along the value chain
- Gender mainstreaming
- Dissemination of improved technologies and use of ICT
- Need for appropriate legislations to provide legal framework for sustainable implementation.
The workshop inaugural was attended by Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Executive Governor of Kano Sate; Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, Deputy Governor of Kano State; Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture, high level officials of Federal and State Governments, members of Federal and State Legislative Assemblies, academia from the CGIAR centers, universities, colleges and polytechnics, civil society organizations, captains of industries, farmers, the media and students from several institutions.
Papers at the sessions covered diverse issues of crop-livestock systems in WCA. Presentations were made by Dr Bukar Tijani, Africa Representative, FAO, Accra, Ghana, Dr Timothy Olalekan Williams, Director Africa, International Water Management Institute, and ICRISAT staff – Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Research Program Director, West and Central Africa and Country Representative Mali, and Dr Anthony Whitbread, Research Program Director, Innovation Systems for the Drylands. Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Country Representative in Nigeria, contributed to the discussions as facilitator and speaker.
Other sessions focused on options for scaling out/up of crop-livestock technologies in WCA and decision support tools for agricultural technology development and delivery.
The workshop titled Future Resilient Farming Systems for Semi-arid Region of West and Central Africa was held at the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University of Kano, Nigeria, from 27-29 September.
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