Co-innovations across scales to enhance sustainable intensification, resilience, and food and nutritional security in water-managed agricultural systems in West Africa

Project consortium and funding

Five African Partners

  • UGB (Université Gaston Berger, Senegal; 74,700€): S Seck (sidysecksn@yahoo.fr), I Diatta, SM Fall, L Diop, MD Diallo
  • ISRA (Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Senegal; 75,700€): D Dia (djibydia@gmail.com), CS Fall, AB Bocar, M Cisse.
  • SARI (Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, Ghana; 74,470€): W Dogbe (wilsondogbe@yahoo.com), IY Baba, M Mawunya, R Adombila, E Martey
  • UDS (University for Development Studies, Ghana; 74,500€): G Kranjac-Berisavljevic (novagordanak@gmail.com), BZ Gandaa
  • INERA (Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles, Burkina Faso ; 121,535€): K Ouattara (korodjouma_ouattara@hotmail.com), I Ouedraogo, I Serme, LP Yameogo, E Sauret, AN Bama

Five European Partners

  • IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement, France; 101,696€): JC Poussin (poussin@ird.fr), G Serpantié, A Ogilvie, D Martin.
  • CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, France ; 98,279€): S Marlet (serge.marlet@cirad.fr), B Barbier and JL Fusillier, A Adamczewski.
  • WUR (Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands; 245,000€): E van Slobbe (erik.vanslobbe@wur.nl), I Supit, E Nyadzi
  • CIHEAM-Bari (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari; 90,000€): N Lamaddalena (lamaddalena@iamb.it)
  • IAS-CSICCoordinator (Institute for Sustainable Agriculture / Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain; 150,000€):
    H Gómez-Macpherson (helena.gomez@ias.csic.es), L Mateos, E Fereres, JA Jiménez-Berni

Five Associate Partners

  • CILSS (Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel, Niger): C Ouedraogo
  • TRAGSA (Grupo TRAGSA, Spain): C Ramos (cramos@tragsa.es)
  • HKV (HKV Consultants Group, The Netherlands): M Hartman (Marco.Hartman@HKV.NL)
  • AECID (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, Spain): AR Segura (anaregina.segura@aecid.es)
  • TEPRO (TEPRO Consultores Agrícolas SL): M Leyva (mleyva@tepro.es), C Mira, A Alvear, J Pelluz.

TOTAL BUDGET: 1,105,880€

Thematic and geographic area of the project:    

  • Sustainable water management
  • Sustainable food security

Enhanced food security and wellbeing of smallholder farmers through sustainable intensification of food production, market-oriented diversification of the production, and more efficient use of water, land, inputs, energy and technology, while minimizing water and soil degradation, and building resilience by strengthening governance and the capacity of stakeholders engaged in the process.

Project’s summary/abstract:

The development of irrigated and improved lowland agriculture in Western Africa (WA) has not resulted in a significant increase in food security or in a motor for economic growth, in spite of its large potential and the great benefits observed in other regions of the world. When successful, irrigated agriculture reduces crop failure, increases cropping diversity and land productivity, contributes to balanced nutrition and to develop food markets and agroindustry, and generates employment; conversely, it has environmental implications. WAGRINNOVA aims at deepening on why irrigated agriculture has not resulted in the expected impact in Western Sahel, and at setting the basis for changing this, particularly now that there is a revival of investment in rehabilitating abandoned or degraded irrigated land. We use a multiscale approach and participatory action research for characterising and benchmarking current conditions, and for co-designing innovations and developing environmentally-friendly and economically-viable systems adapted to local conditions in innovation hubs. These activities are accompanied by the required capacity building with special attention to the participation of youth and women in the opportunities brought by crop diversification and ICT tools. The consortium, integrated by five African institutions, five European, and five associate partners, aspires to change the development paradigm for irrigated and other water-managed agricultures in WA and identify environmental-friendly systems in WA and Spain.

Project’s main objective(s):

The research objective is a systemic multidiscipline multiscale evaluation of water-managed systems to identify their constraints, potential and enabling environment that leads to sustainable intensification through appropriate technical and governance solutions, and market-oriented crops.

The innovation objectives are:

  • Simultaneous multiscale interventions based on participatory approaches, to override production, organizational, environmental and socio economic constraints.
  • Strengthening collective capabilities to improve governance and sustainable water use.
  • Empowering women and youth by bringing opportunities derived from new crops and ICT tools.
  • Strengthening West African research and technical potential by boosting researchers and graduate’s capacities and by enriching existing partnerships.
  • Fostering win-win situations between the agricultural sector and irrigation developers.
  • Providing essential information for policy orientation and formulating relevant related recommendations.

Theory of Change and Impact Pathway

Summary ToC with assumptions

Main assumptions are that stakeholders will be fully involved in the project, and that new strategies will result in quantifiable improvements. Scheme leaders and farmers are also expected to understand long-term environmental benefits of planned interventions and will be willing to adopt proposed strategies. We also assume that there are opportunities for market-oriented products.

Expected outcomes and impact

Expected outcomes are:

  • Enabling environment for SI (# policy/decision makers sharing outcome; performance gaps map;  # enterprises for SI);
  • Women and young practitioners leading the SI process (# women and young practitioners involved in the SI process);
  • Adopted on-farm technologies for SI (# new technologies adopted in innovation hubs; multiplier factor);
  • Sustainable use of agricultural water, energy, land and inputs (increment in productivities in hubs; multiplier factor);
  • Increased productivity, diversification, market-oriented ag production (increment of production, products and income in hubs; multiplier factor);
  • Irrigation scheme/lowland valley organizational models in place (adoption of improved organizational models in hubs);
  • Network to support upscaling through an ICT platform (accesses and use from hubs and elsewhere).

Expected impacts include:

a) Improved wellbeing and more resilient small farmer households and communities by identifying the enabling environment, training and adopting technologies leading to SI, and by women and youth profiting from new opportunities offered by SI, including market-oriented crop diversification and use of ICT tools;

b) Improved sustainable use of agricultural water and soil resources, and increased awareness of environmental issues, by improving organizational models in irrigation schemes and lowland production groups, applying tools to improve crop, nitrogen and water management, capacity building and adopting technologies leading to SI;

c) Enhanced capacity for SI by on-site training, short specialized training and postgraduate education, tested guidelines and tools to support SI, network to support upscaling through an ICT platform and knowledge-based policy recommendations.