Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in cooperation with the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute (TSBF), IFDC developed the four-year (2006-2009) CSD-ISFM project designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in West Africa. The program promoted a holistic natural resources management (NRM) approach to agricultural intensification and provided technical backstopping to IFAD projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) was a focal point to improved NRM in the region, and aimed at developing marketable commodities using Competitive and Sustainable Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE). In addition, decision-support tools were used to help analyze and extrapolate options for improved agricultural production and NRM.
In the project’s earlier phase, a series of technical advancements were developed and validated in 16 pilot regions of West Africa. These technical advancements were then implemented extensively during the project’s final phase. The advancements combined soil and water conservation, soil amendments, agroforestry and mineral fertilization to create a variety of highly effective production systems across many different agro-ecological zones.
The CSD-ISFM project was implemented through the Agricultural Intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa (AISSA) network, a partnership of national agricultural and research extension systems, non-governmental organizations, credit sources and farmer organizations seeking agricultural intensification in seven West African countries. Training courses were organized for IFDC’s research and development partners in these countries, with emphasis on ISFM and agricultural intensification. A large number of manuals, technical advisory notes, brochures, posters and scientific articles were published with IFDC’s AISSA partners.
2009 Program Results
- ISFM strategies were developed for rice cropping in Nigeria and maize/beans cropping for the Plateau Region of Togo. Yields on ISFM plots in these areas were shown to be two to three times higher than average yields. Returns to investments exceeded 100 percent, while value well exceeded cost by a factor of two. For participating farmers, returns to family labor were two to six times higher than the averages in these regions.
- Over 30 training programs educated 2,500 participants (farmers, extension agents, technicians and researchers) on subjects including applications of decision support tools for fertilizer recommendations and ISFM-based Participatory Learning and Action Research.
- Baseline data studies were prepared for pilot sites in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Togo.
- ISFM-based strategic research trials were successfully conducted in Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and a portion of Nigeria.