Establishment of Food Crops in the Sahelian and Sudano-Sahelian region in Mali

Three years of experimental work were conducted from 2006 to 2008 in order to generate technologies to enhance the establisment of food crops in the Sahelian and Sudano-Sahelian region. The main techniques are: 1 – Seed priming of food crops; 2 - Mechanical placement of seed and fertilizer microdose.

DCG Report No. 60 | Adama Coulibaly, Jens. B. Aune and P. Sissoko | October 2010

The overall objective of this research was to contribute to improving the establisment of food crops in the Sahelian and Sudano-Sahelian region. Specifically, this research aims to: i-Test the effect of seed priming and microdoses of fertilizer on yields of millet and sorghum; ii - Reduce additional time spent on planting and fertilizer application; iii-Improve the performance of food crops (50 - 100%) compared with local practice; iv-Improve efficiency of fertilizer use; v-Evaluate the economic performance of technologies tested; vi-Evaluate perceptions and the most significant change among farmers in relation to the technologies tested.

After the analysis of agronomic performance of these technologies, an analysis using the methods of partial budget and marginal rate of return was done to identify the economic benefits. Furthermore, in order to guide research directions, the farmers’perceptions of the technologies tested was evaluated. This was done by using the method Most Significant Change (MSC) which is a method of participatory monitoring and evaluation. This assessment has established, with the support of the farmers, strengths and constraints in raising the achievement of these technologies.

After three years of experimentation, the results of this project include:

1. Improved crop establishment by accelerating the speed of emergence of food crops;

2. Increased yields from 50 to over 100% compared to local practice

3. Reduction in time spent on administering fertilizer microdose from 12 man-days per hectare to 1 man days per hectare.

4. Improving the efficiency of using fertilizer from 20 to more than 100kg of grain per kg fertilizer. Technically, these performances are the product of the synergy effect (or cumulative effect) of the fertilizer and mechanization.

5. In terms of profitability, the analysis showed that every franc invested in these technologies would bring a gain of 20 to 165 CFA francs.

6. Most producers have affirmed the beneficial effects of seed priming and mechanical placement of fertilizer as on phenological aspects as well as on yield components.

7. The introduction of these techniques has allowed producers to change strategy and improve their economic and social development.

A number of potential partners have emerged in the field of transfer of proven technologies. These are the Japanese International Center for Research of Agricultural Science (JIRCAS), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Information Service on African soils (AfSIS). These partners have initiated the further transfer of competencies to producers to improve productivity and production in the Sahelian and Sudano-Sahelian region.

At this stage of learning, we urge all development partners to invest in the transfer of these technologies to users willing and open to innovations. Fact sheets will be produced and training will be given to support this transfer of competance.

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