The goal of the From Thousands to Millions (1000s+) project was to increase agricultural productivity and economic growth for one million farming families (involving about 10 million people) in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo. The project was successful in stimulating trade, developing input and output markets and improving soil fertility.
This West African project, the main component of the Strategic Alliance for Agricultural Development in Africa (SAADA) began March 1, 2006, and ran through 2010. 1000s+ was funded by the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Agriterra and IFDC. The project was farmer-led and implemented on a cost-matching basis.
1000s+ linked farmers to markets through expansion of the Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises process, which promotes agribusiness cluster formation, commodity chain development and strengthening of public and private institutions’ abilities to enable trade and agribusiness.
The project reinforced the capacities of 2,000 local enterprises, including farmer cooperatives and business development services. A large-scale training and networking program for input dealers and cooperatives was established in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger. This training program was implemented through the International Center for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA).
1000s+ encouraged financial intermediation to help secure access to credit for farmers and local entrepreneurs. More than 100 local service providers, with more than 270 contracts, worked with 1000s+ in cluster formation and value chain development. These small business owners have received hands-on training to strengthen core competencies.
A key component of 1000s+ was Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), an IFDC approach to improve soil fertility through the combined use of mineral fertilizers and organic fertilizers, such as crop residues, composts and green manures.
The use of improved seeds and fertilizer in areas served by 1000s+ increased by 172 percent, raising food production by more than 350,000 tons of cereal equivalent during 2008-2009. Farmers’ revenue on selected crops rose by 98 percent in 1000s+ areas.
In 2008 more than 250 formal business agreements were signed among the 3,000 producer organizations (including 1,660 women’s groups). More than 700 business agreements were signed among 2,300 producer organizations (including 990 women’s groups) and more than 1,200 local entrepreneurs. Business volumes of those groups increased by more than 100 percent during 2007-2009. Those entrepreneurs increased the number of employees by 94 percent.
IFDC Develops Sustainable Value Chains and Increases Profitable Agriculture in West Africa
The 1000s+ Project Improves Livelihoods of One Million Rural Farm Families in West Africa (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No.3)