FoodAfrica programme trains 20,000 farmers in sustainable farming

FoodAfrica programme trains 20,000 farmers in sustainable farming
The FoodAfrica Programme works from solid research to effective action; it has enhanced sustainable food production, food safety and nutrition, and market access and agricultural extension.

20,000 farmers have improved the security and quality of their food supply thanks to the FoodAfrica Programme, which has been funded by Finland. It is also estimated that the programme has impacted the daily lives of over 200,000 people.

Mila Sell, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland, said: “FoodAfrica has been an extremely interesting and rewarding programme to be involved in.

“We have worked directly with people at different levels, from academics through farmers to policy makers and they’ve given us immediate feedback. Through collaboration with these excellent partners, we have been able to see encouraging results and increase knowledge and abilities about the sustainable production of healthy and safe food. But there is still a lot to be done to reach the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal in Africa. The work must continue.”

How does the FoodAfrica Programme work?

The FoodAfrica Programme works from solid research to effective action; it has enhanced sustainable food production, food safety and nutrition, and market access and agricultural extension. The research component of the programme has seen the production of 300 publications and training material targeting:

  • Farmers;
  • Agricultural extension workers;
  • Academia; and
  • Policy Makers.

The programme has also enabled 31 people from the six countries to obtain Master and PhD degrees, highlighting the importance of building national capacity to ensure sustainability of food security.

Along with many other things, the research included learning how to reduce the risk of aflatoxins in crops and milk, increase the profitability of dairy production through improved management, and create new methods to improve soil properties.

Farmers reduced aflatoxins by 80% through improved post-harvest methods and by using traditional fermenting methods. Researchers mapped micronutrients in soils, providing information to policy makers and recommendations for farmers on how to improve the quality of their soils.

Dr Steven Franzel, an agricultural economist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), said: “An important achievement of the programme’s work on innovation extension approaches was engaging volunteer farmer trainers to help increase the reach and sustainability of agricultural extension services.”

Franzel added: “As a result, 85 organisations across four countries adopted the volunteer farmer trainer approach, or modified the approach they were using, in part because of being exposed to our research. These organisations’ volunteer farmer trainers work with several hundred thousand farmers.”

What countries are involved?

20,000 farmers have improved food security and quality from:

  • Benin;
  • Cameroon;
  • Ghana;
  • Kenya;
  • Senegal; and
  • Uganda.

FoodAfrica is implemented by the University of Helsinki, Häme University of Applied Science, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and four CGIAR centres: Bioversity International, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Livestock Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). The CGIAR is a global partnership for a food-secure future.

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