TL-III Candidus A Echekwu (center, in white cap) leads project desk officers to a field visit during Seed Council Training on quality seed production. Photo Credit: Lawal Bawal, USAID
31
Dec

Strengthening Synergies between Groundnut Projects in Nigeria

TL-III Candidus A Echekwu (center, in white cap) leads project desk officers to a field visit during Seed Council Training on quality seed production. Photo Credit: Lawal Bawal, USAID

TL-III Candidus A Echekwu (center, in white cap) leads project desk officers to a field visit during Seed Council Training on quality seed production. Photo Credit: Lawal Bawal, USAID

Groundnut is acknowledged to be important to Nigeria’s economy – both commercially and nutritionally. The most commonly grown crop in Nigeria, the legume is an affordable source of protein, edible oil, and micronutrients to millions of small-scale farmers’ and farm families on the African continent. As a result, there are a number of development projects aimed at promoting the legume. In development landscapes, crowded with numerous actors, creating and strengthening synergies is a difficult but core requirement of project implementation. If well-articulated, synergies can result in more efficient and effective program delivery.

While driving to further develop improved groundnut cultivars, researchers involved in the USAID-funded Groundnut Upscaling, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -funded Tropical Legumes – Phase 3 (TL III) projects are building on the momentum created by the Groundnut Value Chain project, in addition to earlier versions of the Tropical Legumes project in Nigeria.

Both projects are promoting the adoption of released groundnut varieties to a wide range of value chain actors, and putting in place sustainable seed systems, while contributing to the development of institutional and human capacities in the national agricultural research systems (NARS) of Nigeria.

While the TL III project is being implemented by plant breeders and cropping systems agronomists, the execution of the USAID Groundnut Upscaling project is led by a socio-economist and technology uptake specialist with skills in gender mainstreaming and project planning. On the ground, both projects benefit from the recurrent services of Focal Persons of the State Agricultural and Rural Development Authorities, who coordinate the efforts of farmer-contact agents in local government bodies of each state.

In this scenario, skills and experiences drive reciprocal dealings between the USAID Groundnut Upscaling and TL III projects. Since the main cropping season of 2016, concerted efforts between both projects are visible through a number of action points, notably:

  • organization of two pre-season planning meetings with partners
  • organization of three training workshops to close skill gaps identified during pre-season trainings
  • establishment of 974 varietal demonstration plots for awareness (emphasis of TL III), and adoption (emphasis of USAID Groundnut Upscaling), including over 20 multi-location trials and nine technology validation trials
  • preparation of a comprehensive variety release technical proposal
  • facilitation of the production of all seed classes leading to 24 tons of breeder seeds, 80 tons of foundation seeds and 1,749 tons of certified seeds
  • several planned and unplanned field visits/monitoring of the evolution of demonstration
  • participation in numerous field days
  • unrestricted exchange of information and discussions on the implications of the interventions of the two projects.

On each of these counts, experts from both projects have brought irreplaceable knowledge and skills on board. Their combined skill set and experiences are enhancing impacts beyond the institutional prescriptions of the two projects. Overall, awareness on all classes of improved groundnut varieties, the extent of their use (adoption), abilities of the actors engaged and sustainability of the seed system have all seen marked improvement. In other words, leveraging the skills, expertise and resources of both projects to work towards common goals is giving rise to enhanced project delivery – helping achieve better outcomes than if each of the projects worked independently.

TL-III Professor Sanusi Gaya (right) and Dr. Michael Vabi, USAID Country Project Manager, visit seed production plots in Kano State. Photo Credit: Lawal Bawal, USAID

TL-III Professor Sanusi Gaya (right) and Dr. Michael Vabi, USAID Country Project Manager, visit seed production plots in Kano State. Photo Credit: Lawal Bawal, USAID

Click here to read about similar work being done in Nigeria by ICRISAT.

Project Title: Increasing Groundnut Productivity of Smallholder farmers in Ghana, Mali and Nigeria (2015-2018); Tropical Legumes (TL III)

Project Partners:

Institute for Agricultural Research/Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (IAR/ABU), Centre for Dryland Agriculture/Bayero University of Kano (CDA/BUK), National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Federal University of Agriculture, Markudi (FUAM), Green Sahel Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative (GSARDI), Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Agricultural Development Authorities/Projects of Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto States.

Project Funding: United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation

CRP: Grain Legumes

This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 7-decent-work 8-industry-innovation 17-partnerships-goals 

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