Was implemented to strengthen livelihood strategies and socio-economic growth among farming communities in Western and Central Africa (WCA) through sustainable application of conservation agriculture
Geographic areas of focus: Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea
The general goal of the project is to reduce rural poverty, improve food security, conserve agricultural land and water resources, and foster economic growth through sustainable improvements in the productivity of agro ecosystems in WCA, through improved access on the part of poor rural communities to technical options inspired by the principles of conservation agriculture. The development objective is to raise the productivity and improve the sustainability of natural resources in WCA, as a way to reduce rural poverty and to improve the rural poor’s access to technology and natural resources including land and water.
The development objective of the project is to be achieved through four general objectives:
1. Strengthen the capacity of poor rural communities to identify, assess and further adapt crop, livestock and resource management practices and cropping systems that are in accordance with the principles of conservation agriculture; that are compatible with local environmental, social and economic conditions; and that build on indigenous knowledge and skills. (Building cropping systems)
2. Foster networking among farmer-innovators as a means of adapting and accelerating the widespread use of suitable new practices. (farmer-innovators)
3. Expand the range of technical options from which communities and farmer innovators can choose, through sharing knowledge on NRM and conservation agriculture practices, including practices used in other communities and even in other regions. (Knowledge sharing and management )
4. Strengthen institutional mechanisms, including the consolidation of ACT, as a means of fostering knowledge-sharing and community-led assessment of conservation agriculture practices in the region. (Capacity building)
The SCAP is a regional multi-stakeholder programme whose key implementation players were ACT, CIRAD, ICRAF and representatives of the four national IFAD-Loan projects. The governance set-up to support and facilitate Project management and implementation involved three main units namely: The African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT) Secretariat; Project Scientific and Technical Advisory Team; and Project Implementation Team - all established and functioning with specific but complementary responsibilities.
Smallholder farmers were the primary target group of the Project, including farmer-innovators in selected communities, and farmers in other communities in the target areas. Special attention was given to vulnerable groups, which could be negatively affected by the adoption of CA practices, e.g. transhumant and sedentary herdsmen, who rely heavily on crop residues for feeding their livestock. Some crucial socio economic consequences of the introduction of CA will thus be evaluated.
Policymakers and other decision makers form a secondary target group. They benefitted from the Project by participating in major Project events such as planning seminars, enabling them to more fully understand the potential of CA and related issues, thereby enabling them to bring CA to those fora where higher level food and environmental issues and policies are discussed and decided.
Cotton producers formed a third target group. Cotton producers were suffering from a substantial reduction in cotton seed prices, something that questions the economic viability of cotton production and the economic development of regions where cotton is a mainstay of farm family livelihoods. The SCAP Project was implemented in cotton-producing regions in Burkina Faso (southern region of PICOFA project, in collaboration with SOCOMA and AFD) and in Eastern Guinea. The Project contributed to improved farm productivity in these regions.