African Plant Nutrition Outreach Fellowship

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African Plant Nutrition Outreach Fellowship

APNI R&D Themes:

Soil Health for Livelihoods

Start date: June 2020

End date:

Project Lead

African Plant Nutrition Institute

Implementing Partners

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P)

OCP Group

Target Countries

African Continent

Other Targets

Support education, training, and communication programs relevant to improving the use and efficiency of plant nutrients in African agro-ecosystems. 

Short Description

The African Plant Nutrition Outreach Fellowship program was implemented in 2020 to support education, training, and communication programs relevant to improving the use and efficiency of plant nutrients in African agro-ecosystems.

Scientists, extension specialists or educators working at an African NARES institution (National Agricultural Research and Extension System), African university, non-profit organization, or in the private sector are eligible to apply.

The application is only available on-line at www.apni.net/outreach-fellowship-apply.

Supported Projects (2021 - 2022)

Mr. Mustapha EL JANATI — Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) / Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire HASSAN II, Rabat, Morocco

Mr. El Janati’s project is focused on the promotion and extension of best management practices for composting date palm residue within the unique desert oasis agroecosystems that are cultivated intensively in Morocco.

“The sustainable management of agricultural soils must adapt to changing types of agricultural production and societal expectations. In order to improve the efficiency of the fertilizers supplied, particular attention must be paid to the recycling of crop residues,” explains Mr. El Janati.

The date palm is the environmental, economic and social pillar of the oasis ecosystem in the Saharan and Pre-Saharan regions. It creates the “oasis effect” in the form of a favorable microclimate for the organization and development of other associated annual, multi-annual and arboreal crops.

The evolution of oasis production systems in recent decades has led to questions about the best management methods for date palm residues. Un-recycled dry palms constitute a burden on the oasis and promote the development of diseases and pests harmful to the date palm and other associated crops. Dry palm incineration contributes to air pollution and the spread of fires.

“The project’s purpose is to accelerate dissemination of composting best practice to farmers with a goal of better management of dry palms and sustainable development of oases,” continued El Janati.

To this end, Mr. El Janati proposes to supplement the current knowledge base and increase the interest of advisers and extension workers on the production and use of dry palm composts in oasis production systems.

Dr. Mutiu Abolanle BUSARI — Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Dr. Busari’s project centers around expanded dissemination of AKILIMO (a Swahili word meaning Intelligent Agriculture or Smart farming) technology to farmers located in the many of the cassava-producing states of Nigeria that have been yet to be touched and are unaware of this advanced fertilizer recommendation decision support tool.

“Agricultural extension agents in these states need to be trained so as to equip them with the working principles of the AKILIMO tool,” explains Dr. Busari. “The impact of COVID-19 is making this extension effort difficult and the pandemic has caused a serious food crisis in Nigeria such that the deployment of agronomic advisory tools like AKILIMO is urgently needed.”

So far, farmers in major cassava-growing states of Ogun, Oyo and Osun States in southwest Nigeria have benefited significantly in terms of yield and profit from the use of the tool. Through an extension of training-of-trainer events and on-farm data collection, the project hopes to bridge the common knowledge gaps in the states of Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos.

“By facilitating greater use of the AKILIMO tool within the decision-making process on fertilizer use, we can begin to raise cassava yields across a larger area and address the critical issues of food security in Nigeria,” added Busari.

 

Supported Projects (2020 - 2021)

Prof. Kwame Agyei Frimpong — University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Prof. Frimpong’s project proposal centers around the promotion of effective soil fertility management in smallholder farming communities in Ghana.

“This outreach is intended to contribute to improvement in the livelihoods of the beneficiary farmers through increased crop yields and farmer incomes”, explained Frimpong. “By influencing farmer perceptions and addressing their socio-economic orientations through enhanced access to needed information, it is expected that the outreach will lead to the design and future implementation of better-informed soil fertility and plant nutrition policies among the beneficiary farmers.”

The outreach program will use modern, effective and socially acceptable communication tools to generate evidence-based data and information on indigenous soil management practices, and incentives for effective use of fertilizer in two communities in Ghana. Findings and recommendations of the study will be used to design a fit-for-purpose advocacy and capacity building program for smallholder as well as serve as the basis for a more comprehensive study across the country. Ultimately, this will enhance the adoption and integration of more effective soil fertility management practices into the Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy (PF&J) towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of no poverty (SDG 1) and no hunger (SDG 2) through improved agricultural productivity and food security and job creation across the country.

Prof. Bosede Olukemi Lawal — Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Nigeria

Prof. Lawal’s project proposal is designed to promote integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) technology for sustainable maize production among smallholder farmers in southwest Nigeria.

The project involves to use of a Farmers Field Schools (FFS) approach of extension and use of text messages, voice calls, radio jingles, training sessions and production of knowledge products for mass dissemination of information on the ISFM technology to farmers. Farmers groups are also linked with input dealers, financial institutions and the market for sustainability of the ISFM technology. Moreover, android-based information sharing will be developed for mass dissemination of the technology.

The main beneficiaries of the project are maize farmers and their households. As a result of the training activities, communication approach and tools, beneficiaries’ capacities to tackle soil fertility problems will be greatly increased. This will eventually contribute to increasing maize yields, and therefore food security and nutrition; protecting livelihoods; and generating higher income. Improved livelihoods will ensure better access to health facilities, balanced diet and quality education to their children. However, the project will also benefit other stakeholders who will benefit from improved income. It will ultimately translate to food security, good health and reduced poverty.

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