West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) – Technology Dissemination by Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES)

INTRODUCTION

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) is a two-phase, 10-year Adaptable Programme Lending (APL) of five years duration each. The first phase involved three countries (Ghana, Mali and Senegal) and aimed at generating and disseminating improved technologies in the countries’ priority areas that are aligned with the region’s top priorities.

The priority areas pertain to commodities which were derived from a study carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD/CORAF) in 2006. The study identified roots and tubers, livestock, rice, cereals among others as the commodities that make the greatest contribution to the region’s agricultural growth and inure to producers’ benefit. For the first phase of the WAAPP, the specific country commodities roots and tubers for Ghana, rice for Mali and drought-tolerant cereals for Senegal.

To facilitate implementation of common agricultural policies in the sub-region, ECOWAS supports a regional research/development that is coordinated by West Africa and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD/CORAF).

COMPONENTS OF WAAPP

The Programme has four components each with a set objective aimed at achieving specific goals. They include:

  • Enabling conditions for regional cooperation in technology generation and dissemination.
  • National Centre of Specialisation (NCOS).
  • Funding of demand-driven technology generation and adoption.
  • Project coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation.

SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS

In order to achieve the objective of the WAAPP and thus, contribute to increasing agricultural production and productivity, it is imperative to undertake activities that will directly contribute to farming and farm families direct access to production and technologically proven technologies and inputs, which will directly increase farmers production base and increase their market access and boost their income levels.

The first phase of the WAAPP PAD did not integrate technology dissemination and adoption in the activities to be funded with the programme resource. This greatly affected the project implementation and thus compromised key results of the project; that is increasing production and productivity of farmers and other stakeholders in the country.

The mid-term review of WAAPP identified the inadequacy of resource allocation for technology dissemination and adoption activities. Hence, technology dissemination by the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) started in September 2010 in promoting on-the-shelf technologies from other agricultural projects.

The Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) in its quest to enhance agricultural productivity under WAAPP component 1 came up with these objectives.

These are:

  • To promote e-Extension as an alternative extension delivery methodology by using the mobile phone and internet facility to disseminate information on proven technologies and  also improve agricultural information outreach to very remote farmers.
  • To encourage the adoption of improved technologies under root and tuber crops

DAES is currently working in 32 districts in disseminating technologies on cassava, sweetpotato and yam to farmers. This involves the production and distribution of planting material achieved through community based methods, where the planting materials are produced on one (1) or more demonstration plots and then distributed to farmer groups and individual farmers within the catchment areas where the sites are located. The following activities are on-going. This includes:

  • Over 34 acres of community demonstration / multiplication sites on various improved cassava varieties have been established in 23 districts.
  • 7 acres of community demonstration/multiplication sites on improved sweetpotato have been established in 7 districts.
  • 2 acres of community demonstration yam cultivation using ridges.
  • Collaborating with PPRSD in screening planting materials to be distributed to beneficiary farmers.

MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 34 community demonstration / multiplication sites established in 23 districts would be used to supply planting materials to 2,720 farmers for production in their catchment areas.
  • 150 individuals and schools with interest in the improved cassava planting materials have already established some of these materials on their farms.
  • 105 farmers to benefit from the 7 acres of sweetpotato community demonstration/multiplication sites in 7 districts. 105 acres of sweetpotato will be cultivated by these farmers in the following year.
  • 80 District officers from 30 districts have been trained on guidelines for the establishment of field demonstrations on improved cassava and sweet potato varieties in collaboration with the Directorate Crop Services (DCS).
  • The Directorate (DAES) maintained a 6 acre plot of land through collaboration with CSIR-CRI with newly released cassava varieties (Bronibankye, Otuhia, Ampong, Sikabankye, etc.) in Atwima Kwanwoma district. This will be a source of planting materials to implementing districts.
  • Established 2 acres community demonstration sites in Techiman Municipality and Krachi East district on yam cultivation using ridges. 8,000 yam setts have been planted using ridges as against 5,400-5,600 that were planted on mounds (farmers’ practice)
  • DAES is establishing e-extension within MoFA to enhance qualitative extension service delivery to farmers and other stakeholders.