Enabling Niger farmers to turn seed producers
An intensive training workshop for aspiring seed producers in Niger equipped them with necessary knowhow and techniques to scientifically produce groundnut, cowpea, pearl millet and sorghum seeds in Zinder region. A formal partnership with a seed company was also inked for multiplication and production of seeds of above crops, which is expected to result in production of over 52 tons of certified seeds by the end of the 2020 cropping season. The seed company will provide foundation seed to selected farmers and also buy the certified seeds from them post production. In return, seed producers will apply good standards of seed production as per the terms of the contract. This is expected to create sustainable farmer-managed seed enterprises, and identify tools and marketing/communication approaches to improve the uptake of new varieties by smallholder farmers.
Owing to the low production rates of certified seeds in the country, the government of Niger, through the 3N initiative (Niger Nourishes Nigeriens), has invested capacity development of the private sector to ensure proper supply of certified seeds based on local communities’ requirements. Contributing to the objectives of this initiative, ICRISAT partnered with the Development of Food Security Assistance project (DFSA/GIRM) of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to familiarize 22 aspiring seed producers selected from 22 villages, to seed production and commercialization at Magaria, Niger. The seed company, Amate Seed Farm, was happy to formalize the partnership.
The training session, which was conducted while following social distancing protocols, covered the following modules :
- Seed production regulation framework
- Seed system – actors and functioning
- How a seed production field should be and how to ensure seeds quality
- Seed certification process
- Seed harvesting, storage and packaging
- Seed selling system.
After the training session, Amate Seed Farm provided 790 kg of foundation seeds to the participants, including 480 kg of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), 200 kg of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), and 100 kg and 70 kg of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) respectively.
By the end of the 2020 cropping season, a total of 52.2 tons of certified seed will be produced – 32 tons of cowpea, 6 tons of groundnut, 8 tons of pearl millet and 6.2 tons of sorghum. Through this system, farmers will get access to certified seeds through local commercial seed stores set up in each of the 11 communes of Zinder region.
Furthermore, ICRISAT and CRS will identify and facilitate the participation of producers in seed fairs, thereby widening the partnership network with other partners. They are also committed to organizing a field day and to evaluate sustainability of the system.
For more on our work in Niger,click here.
Dr Bouba Traore, Scientist, Innovations Systems for the Drylands, ICRISAT-WCA
Dr Issoufou Oumarou Haladou, Agricultural Sector Manager, GIRMA, Catholic Relief Services
Dr Vincent Bado, Principal Scientist – Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification, Innovations Systems for the Drylands, ICRISAT-WCA
Dr Malick Ba, Country Representative – Niger, ICRISAT