The usage rate of agricultural inputs by producers in Burkina Faso remains low (12% for mineral fertilizers and 8% for improved seeds). One of the explanatory factors is the low level of knowledge of inputs and their use.
To improve this knowledge among input dealers, the Support Program for the Modernization of Family Farms – Inputs Component (PAMEFA-Vi), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), organized a training course on the knowledge and the best use of fertilizers for the fertilizer distributor members of the Association of Agricultural Input Wholesalers and Retailers of Burkina Faso (AGRODIA) and the Cooperative of Marketing of Inputs and Materials Agricultural (COCIMA). The initiative trained total of 1,040 distributors and 28 distributor trainers.
Noé Kiéma, President of the Kourittenga chapter of AGRODIA and input distributor to Koupéla recalls the situation before the training: “Before the training, people did not know the difference between various types of fertilizers; people did not know the difference between insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Input dealers did not know how to manage their stores. Worse, they did not know the dangers of [incorrectly] using pesticides.”
Guengané Sandrine, an input distributor in Tenkodogo and a member of AGRODIA adds: “Before, when a producer asked for information, [input dealers] either said “I do not know” or they gave [farmers] false information. This causes a lot of damage in the fields.”
The training organized by the PAMEFA-Vi project has benefited many input distributors. Today, input dealers are more knowledgeable and help producers make better use of agricultural inputs.
Kiéma was quick to recognize the project’s impact on the input distributors: “the training has allowed the distributors to have a better knowledge of the fertilizers and pesticides, allowing them to give advice to buyers to protect them from contamination (inhalation, contact, ingestion) and to protect the environment. This has improved input dealer services and professionalized the input sector.”
Sandrine, for her part, admits that “the training has brought us a lot of knowledge, which we have also passed on to other people to evolve in the field. This training helped guide producers on how to use pesticides, fertilizers, when to use them, etc.” The training also discussed shop management, among other topics.
Now, input dealers are more knowledgeable about fertilizers, seeds and pesticides, and are giving producers better advice on how to use them. They also know how to better manage their shops. The input sector has taken the path towards professionalization, for the best of Burkina Faso’s producers.