Project to promote an agricultural revolution in the Sahel
Pre-project planning and follow-up monitoring
- Compile background library on Sahelian agriculture, agricultural change in the Sahel, land reform, appropriate technology for the Sahel, fertility management in the Sahel, etc.
- Perform agrarian diagnostics in 10 pilot villages, analyzing landscape, historical changes, cropping systems, and general farming systems.
- Based on the agrarian diagnostics, we will identify central agrarian problems in each village to guide us in our portfolio of proposed interventions.
- We will hold village-wide meetings to determine what interventions to implement to respond to identified problems.
- Perform baseline evaluation and long-term follow-up measurements of poverty and family income indicators, as well as soil fertility and organic matter.
Soil fertility interventions
- Fencing of unplanted land to exclude cattle (with communal ownership maintained over the resource)
- Fencing of planted fields to enable pasturing of cattle on fields
- Incorporation of fodder and forage crops into crop rotations, including catch crops at the end of the growing season to prevent nitrogen loss from fields
- Promotion of tree planting or natural regeneration, especially of leguminous trees such as Faidherbia alba
- Promotion of underutilized indigenous African crops as a way of diversifying land use (and also diversifying income)
- Competitive grants and contests to fund farmer invention of new technologies
- Collaboration with local engineering schools in which students work with farming communities to design new technologies
- Competitive grants, contests, and subsidies to small- and medium-size manufacturers of new tools and equipment
- Credit for tools, inputs, irrigation, and “hungry season” loans, from government lenders and government-backed private lenders
- Creation of farmer-run buying and marketing cooperatives
- Crop insurance, offered by government agencies and government-backed private insurers
- Promotion of local and national marketing channels
- Promotion of food crops versus export crops
- Promotion of farm-scale well irrigation (preceded by a study of aquifers)
- Agricultural extension to help farmers calculate production costs
- Land redistribution to grant land to landless workers
- Implementation and enforcement of food sales tax to replace government revenue lost by doing away with verticalized export crop systems
- Preferential government purchasing from local farmers