AVEC-BF provides best options for cowpea farmers in Burkina Faso
A series of farmers’ participatory varietal selection (FPVS) for cowpea in Burkina Faso conducted by the IITA AVEC-BF project, has resulted in the identification of best choice varieties for the country.
The trials, which have been in progress since 2010, have assisted over 3,500 farmers to identify and grow best-fit cowpea options for their specific regions. This has been helping farmers maximize their gains from cultivating cowpea. It has also helped to generate a rich information base on region-specific consumer preferences.
Haruki Ishikawa, IITA AVEC-BF project leader, revealed that the project recently concluded two FPVS activities on 28 September–5 October and 18–24 October, that empowered an additional 750 farmers from 11 villages in the northern and southern regions of the country. Ishikawa also unveiled plans to make the data generated from these efforts available to the government and citizens.
“AVEC-BF has been working with small-scale farmers in Burkina Faso since 2010. This year, the participants of these FPVS activities reached 3,571 farmers from the northern, central, and southern regions, and collected data on a wide range of farmers’ preferences. The project is now summarizing a report detailing the recommended varieties of improved cowpea for the country and submitting it to the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Ministry of Research, Science and Innovation in Burkina Faso. These results can contribute to provide best options for small-scale farmers in each region,” Ishikawa said.
There are already some signs of success. Some of the milestones achieved by the project include:
- The registration of two IITA improved cowpea varieties in Burkina Faso based on farmers’ preferences (IITA Bulletin 2155).
- The multiplication of these varieties by the World Bank sponsored WAAP project (IITA Bulletin 2250).
- Several target villages achieving up to 90% dissemination rate of improved cowpea varieties.
- Several marketers already making contact with project target villages to negotiate business deals with farmers on purchasing their improved cowpea varieties (IITA Bulletin 2329).
AVEC-BF is funded by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and implemented by IITA in collaboration with Burkina Faso’s Institute of the Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA). It aims to develop a large-scale dissemination scheme for suitable improved cowpea varieties, and identify appropriate varieties through FPVS, increase seed production of improved cowpea varieties through training and technical backstopping, and enhance farmers’ knowledge and skills through field schools.