Financial Services and the Deployment of Agricultural Innovations in the Sahel
Over the past 20 years, numerous innovations to improve food crop yields have been developed in agronomic research centres in West Africa by researchers from the international community. If adopted, many of these innovations have the potential to increase crop yields and improve food security for small farmers. But lack of access to financing is one of the main obstacles to the adoption and spread of these innovations in West Africa. As partners of farmers' associations and small agri-businesses, financial cooperatives can play an important role in the adoption of agricultural innovations by providing relevant financial services. This project will test the ability of financial services to support the deployment and large-scale adoption of innovations developed through research in Burkina Faso. Some of these technologies, such as fertilizer micro-dosing combined with improved rainwater collection and management, were developed with support from the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. Others, such as the triple bagging technology that protects harvests from destruction by insects, were developed through local research supported by other funding sources. They will be tested under various agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions, and a deployment model will be proposed. The project will be led by the Développement International Desjardins in partnership with the Réseau de caisses populaires du Burkina Faso, farmers' organizations, and the Institut de l'environnement et de recherches agricoles.