The smart composting unit in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT
10
Dec

Revisiting Sawaya – the climate-smart village in Niger

The smart composting unit in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

The smart composting unit in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

It all started in June 2020, when the foundation of a climate-smart village was laid at Sawaya in Niger. Initially it just comprised of a community making a diagnosis to characterize the changes in the past, observe the present situation, and identify opportunities for the short-term and long-term futures. In line with the community’s shared vision of the future, we at ICRISAT, along with the community members, carried out a series of activities to strengthen their resilience to climate change for both the short and long terms.

Recently a field day was organized at Sawaya to help scale up the climate-smart technologies. People from 12 remote villages converged at the venue to discover and learn to use new technologies that could help them earn profits, improve their nutrition and health, and enhance the soil fertility of their fields. It involved visiting smart composting systems, a tree nursery, small-scale hybrid tree planting as well improved breed poultry farms in households.

The high-yielding F1 hybrid papaya plants. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

The high-yielding F1 hybrid papaya plants. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

They first visited the smart composting production system managed by Mr Djamilou Sani who was trained and equipped by ICRISAT. The system uses aerobic water vapor mechanism resulting in saving up to 90% water and less labor compared to traditional compositing. It enables compost generation in just 45 days as compared to 90 days the traditional approach takes. With this system, in a year (2021), Mr Djamilou produced 20 tons of smart composting some of which was sold to buy seeds and mineral fertilizer and other part used in his own field. With this activity he has managed to double his millet production compared to previous year.

Participants to the field day also visited a fruit tree nursery system managed by Mr Massaoudou Maman Saminou. Since his training few months ago, this pilot farmer has already sold 30% of the plants produced. “The production of different species in this nursery is planned according to market requirement,” said Mr Saminou. With the revenue from his new activity, Saminou says he was able to better provide for family to purchase food and medicine.

“I am happily surprised to see how local species, which have since long disappeared from our cropping systems, are given a new development at this nursery,” said Mr Ado Abdou, Chief, village of Tanti.

The participants also viewed some early-maturing and high-yielding F1 hybrid papaya plants planted in 79 households and under the charge of women. According to Mrs Laoure Mato, group leader of the women from Sawaya village, all the papaya plants were at the fruiting stage after only 4 months of planting. “This shows the integration between agriculture and nutrition/health corresponding to one of the main objectives this project,” said Dr Bouba Traore, Global Research Program on Resilient Farm and Food System, ICRISAT-WCA.

Beneficiaries of improved breed poultry in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

Beneficiaries of improved breed poultry in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

Afterward, the group visited households that have benefited from improved breed poultry resistant to diseases and with rapid growth. After only 5 months of introduction, the number of generations varied from 1 to 2 per hen with 7 to 12 chicks per generation.

To assist farmers in making decisions based on rainfall, ICRISAT also provided the community a rain gauge and display board which was installed in a public place. This helped the farmers because with the rain gauge they know how much rain has fallen and what decision to take for farming practices.

The fruit trees nursery system in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

The fruit trees nursery system in the village of Sawaya. Photo: M Koudoussou, ICRISAT

The visit concluded with a trip to a field demonstration of improved pearl millet and groundnut varieties and to Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration fields on 73 ha all around the village. According to Mr M Salissou Natche, Director of Agriculture, Department of Magaria, backstopping with equipment and community knowledge strengthening provided by ICRISAT and CRS have contributed towards making the village more resilient and that it all needs to be consolidated. “The department will do the needful to encourage farmers in this perspective,” he concluded.

The field day was organized in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and with the support of the USAID-funded project, Development Food Security Assistance program (DFSA/GIRMA) to witness the progress and to share knowledge around the ongoing experience.

Authors:

Mana Koudoussou, Scientific Officer, ICRISAT-WCA
Hachimou Zabeirou, Agriculture lead, CRS-GIRMA
Bassirou Gaoh, Scientific Officer, ICRISAT-WCA
Bouba Traore, Global Research Program on Resilient Farm and Food System ICRISAT-WCA

Project: Development of Food Security Assistance (DFSA/GIRMA)
Funder: USAID, CRS/ICRISAT Agreement
Partners: Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals

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