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Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Farmers' perception of the effects of interactive training and on-farm testing of seedball technology for enhancing adoption: Case of Maradi region, Niger

Hycenth Tim Ndah1, Andrea Knierim1, Hannatou Moussa2, Charles Ikenna Nwankwo3, Ludger Herrmann3

1University of Hohenheim, Dept. of Communication and Advisory Services in Rural Areas, Germany
2National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRAN), Niger
3University of Hohenheim, Soil Chemistry and Pedology, Germany


Meeting global food needs in the 21st century, require a doubling of the present world food production by 2050.This challenge is of priority for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where the level of food insecurity grew over the last two decades. Integrating sustainable Intensification (SI) practices into smallholder agriculture, is recognised as a crucial component of any strategy, toward meeting this challenge. One such practice,recently introduced in West African Sahel has been the “seedball” technology. As a technological innovation, it is an affordable “seed-pelleting” technique that combines indigenous local materials (e.g., sand, loam, water, and seeds) in a gravimetric ratio to enhance seedling establishment. Aimed at improving small-scale farmers’ production of millet, a series of consecutive interactive training alongside experimental activities on seedball was conducted within the SMIL project (https://smil.k-state.edu/) in the Maradi (Niger).
As part of this project, this study aimed at evaluating Farmers' perception of the effects of this technology on i) yield returns, ii) labour cost, iii) financial cost, iv) labour burden for men vs women, and v) the number of training received versus expected – as a result of the training. The study made use of a standardised structured questionnaire (as part of a mobile app), to survey 489 farmers across 5 districts in Maradi.
Findings revealed that interactive training created space for general awareness and a broader understanding of the purpose and the functioning of the technology. Especially, a positive perception of the effect of technology by farmers is reflected in the acknowledgment of positive yield returns, reduced labour burden, lower financial cost, and readiness to recommend technology to peers. In addition, most farmers favoured 2-3 training sessions for proper understanding of the technology as opposed to the one-time training received – an expectation that varied across the 05 districts.
We conclude that levels of comprehension of technology applications differ across the different districts in Maradi, hence the need for more targeted training. For further promotion and scaling, farmers suggest the following considerations: producing and selling seedballs at cheaper rates, introducing a seedball production machine, and using available production material that can be easily acquired locally.

Keywords: Adoption, interactive training, Maradi-Niger, perception, seedball, sub-Saharan Africa

Contact Address: Hycenth Tim Ndah, University of Hohenheim, Dept. of Communication and Advisory Services in Rural Areas, Stuttgart , Germany, e-mail: h.ndah@uni-hohenheim.de

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