Although there is immense human and economic potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people living in poverty has doubled to 314 million over the past two decades. Presently, Burkina Faso ranks among the 20 poorest countries in the world, with nearly half of its population living in poverty.
As in other African nations, because agriculture is the primary livelihood for most Burkinabè, improving the agriculture sector will have a broad and positive impact. An effective agro-input market (improved seeds, mineral fertilizers and crop protection products, or CPPs) will help improve the country’s agriculture sector. Major constraints that affect the development of the Burkinabè agro-input market include non-supportive policy environments, inadequate human capital, limited access to finance and market information, poor enforcement of regulatory systems and inadequate support for technology transfer efforts. Burkina Faso faces additional challenges because the country is landlocked. This causes higher transportation costs to import agro-inputs and to export surplus crop outputs. In addition, farmers must contend with low rainfall and poor soils in the majority of the country.
In May 2011, IFDC launched the Professionalization of Agro-Input Dealers in Burkina Faso (PRODIB) project with the goal of assisting farmers in the country to gain better access to high-quality agro-inputs.The primary goal of the PRODIB project is to increase agricultural productivity and to boost the incomes of approximately 375,000 smallholder farmers in the country by increasing the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality agro-inputs in rural areas. This three-year initiative (2011-2014) is funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and implemented by IFDC in close collaboration with the Association of Agro-Input Wholesalers and Retailers of Burkina Faso (AGRODIA).
Primary activities include building agro-dealer capacity, strengthening institutional bodies, providing financial support, increasing technology transfer through training programs, facilitating favorable input policies and regulations and monitoring and evaluating project progress.
Agro-dealers are critically important in making agro-inputs available to farmers. PRODIB is strengthening the ability of 800 agro-dealers to create business linkages with input suppliers and to extend their retail networks to reach more farmers. The agro-dealers are being trained in product knowledge, safety and handling, sales and marketing, business skills and financial management, logistics planning and delivery and information and technology transfer to farmers.
The project is also providing assistance to these agro-dealers by facilitating access to financing for business development through risk-sharing arrangements. Better financed, trained and certified agro-dealers are able to provide their farmer-customers with more information and training, as well as better service. This includes a wider range of products, technical advice on agro-input use and the promotion of sound agricultural practices through field demonstrations.
Agro-dealers are encouraged to join AGRODIA, the country’s primary agro-dealer association. PRODIB is also providing resources to AGRODIA employees in association management so they are better able to serve members and customers. The project is supporting agro-dealers’ and farmers’ efforts to lobby for policy reform and generate revenue for financial self-sufficiency.
Results expected to emerge from the PRODIB project include increased agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers, better trained and more capable agro-dealers who are able to obtain credit, a sustainable AGRODIA trade association, an effective monitoring and evaluation system and, ultimately, a significant increase in the amount of seed, fertilizer and CPPs sold by the targeted agro-dealers.
These results are projected to revolutionize Burkina Faso’s agricultural system and benefit the nation’s economy as a whole, a critical step toward food security in the country and the region.
PRODIB Progress (May-August 2011)
- Following a project launching ceremony in May 2011, a technical workshop was held with 120 participants to exchange ideas on project implementation and access to agro-inputs.Forty-eight agro-dealers, extension agents and field technicians of farmer-based organizations were trained in production techniques using improved seeds, fertilizers and CPPs.
- A workshop was held with 33 agro-input dealers to identify training needs.
- Two studies were launched: A baseline study on the reference status of agro-dealers and a study on their geographical location in the country.
- As a result of PRODIB’s assistance, AGRODIA was able to hold its first board meeting in more than two years.
- A meeting was held with CIPAM, a fertilizer blending plant, to discuss business opportunities with AGRODIA members.
- A workshop was held to discuss facilitating agro-dealers’ access to finance.
- The project established 33 demonstration fields in 16 provinces to showcase the proper uses of CPPs, improved and hybrid seeds and improved practices in mineral fertilization.
- A monitoring and evaluation system was developed to measure project performance.
Professionalization of Agro-Input Dealers in Burkina Faso (PRODIB)
Des Guerriers Pour La Revolution Verte Au Faso (Published in L'Observateur)
Launch of the PRODIB Project in Burkina Faso (French)