Agricultural Practices for Sustainable Smallholder Farming (AP2SF)

Agricultural Practices for Sustainable Smallholder Farming (AP2SF)

Parakou, BeninParakou, Benin
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

With success, farmers have developed agricultural practices to meet environmental, economic and social challenges as to sustain their farming systems. Yet, there is no documentation of such simple and affordable solutions that could be used to educate farmers towards sustainable farming systems.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Up to 70% of the population in Benin has the livelihoods strongly linked to agriculture. But, agriculture is faced with challenges such as increasing food demand, soil fertility, scarce resources (e.g. land and water), climate change, etc. Accordingly, helping smallholder farmers to produce more with fewer resources by adopting sustainable practices has become a major concern and a powerful tool to address poverty and food insecurity issues.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To empower and inform smallholder farmers on agricultural practices applicable towards sustainable smallholder farming systems, the project Agricultural Practices for Sustainable Smallholder Farming (AP2SF) aims to facilitate the sharing of knowledge among farmers, and particular from experienced farmers to young farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. Accordingly, AP2SF will be a channel to connect farmers and ensure information (as related to sustainable agricultural practices) flow among them. Beyond connecting and monitoring information flow among farmers, AP2SFS will also produce extension sheets, posters, and audio-visual documentaries in local languages on sustainable agricultural practices; to be disseminated among farmers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

AP2SF is a tool to be shaped with farmers and for farmers. It revolutionizes the way Beninese farmers have been involved in agricultural policies design, implementation, and evaluation. Fundamentally, AP2SF identifies itself as 1) youth concept for sustainability: Our team is young, with all members under 30 years old; 2) smallholder farmers participation as Slogan: Smallholder farmers are key stakeholders of AP2SF; 3) documentation and synthesis of lessons on best agricultural practices to be made available in local languages through various communication tools to a broader audience; 4) collaboration with the national extension system: involving agricultural extension officers in activities, including the diffusion the project products.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Promoting sustainable of smallholder farming systems has been for long a concern for agricultural policy makers. Thus, efforts and money have been invested to get new technologies. However, these technologies are quite expensive for smallholder farmers and the adoption rate is quite disappointing. AP2SF elaborates on this failure to propose from endogenous knowledge simple, applicable, and affordable solutions to sustain the smallholder farming systems. As well, AP2SF will work with agricultural extension officers.
About You
Organization:
BReDA ONG
About You
First Name

Aline

Last Name

Aloukoutou

About Your Project
Organization Name

BReDA ONG

Organization Country

, BO, Parakou

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BO, Parakou

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The sun was shining. It was May 2012. Under a tree nearby the village market place, I was moderating a discussion with farmers on their perception of agricultural policies implemented so far. Farmers viewed the policies as hopeless and helpless towards agricultural sustainability. They argued much money (buying technologies, innovations, etc) are invested towards sophisticate and expensive solutions to promote sustainable farming whereas the production is still decreasing and climate change adding to the challenges to meet. At this point, a question just came to my mind: if farmers fully understood the need of sustainable agriculture, why not to organize them to find out simple, applicable, and affordable sustainable agricultural practices?

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

The project AP2SF will work closely with smallholder farmers, particularly youth farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in northern Benin. As mentioned above, they will be involved in identifying problems related to agricultural sustainability, formulating alternative planning activities, allocating resources, carrying out activities (e.g. trainings, reporting, documentaries), managing and operating programs, evaluating of the activity and its outcomes of AP2SF.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Beyond a tool to build the sustainability of smallholder farming, AP2SF is also a tool for fighting hunger and poverty. AP2SF products will help to improving the extension agenda. In 3 years time, we expect 5 – 30% increase of the adoption rate of the strategies to be identified and promoted. By promoting sustainable agricultural practices, AP2SF will likely help at sustaining the farm productivity and income. We expect that the farm productivity and income of farmers who adopt the promoted practices will be higher than the non-adopters. AP2SF aims at positively impacting on the livelihoods of the population by improving the social landscape (food security, environment protection, savings to afford non-food needs such as health, children education, etc.). As an expectation, farmers adopting the promoted strategies will be socially better off than their counterparts non-adopting.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

AP2SF will be implemented through 6 steps: 1) Identification of AP2SF leaders, 2) Identification of the target groups, 3) Identification and documentation of the best sustainable agricultural practices, 4) Practice and evaluation, 5) Designing AP2SF Products, and 6) Diffusion of the AP2SFS Products. So far, we have contacted institutions, including farmers’ organizations and a media edition group. We have a promising support from agricultural extension system and Faculty of Agronomy (University of Parakou). Their technical assistance will help to assessing the impacts of AP2SF and diffusing the products. These actors on the platform AP2SF will enable to scale our solution and yield products to spread across Benin and beyond its borders.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

AP2SF will be managed by BReDA NGO. At BReDA NGO, we have multiple investors both from the public and private sectors. Usually, we also identify with farmers their need, and later on put them as projects to look for investors. We strongly believe that AP2SF will achieve good and measurable results to interest additional investors before the end of it first round.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

For 2 years, I worked at the socio-econ. division of the National Agricultural Research System of Benin to design, implement and evaluate research/development projects. I held the position Associate Coordinator of Réseau de Développement d'Agriculture Durable, a network of over 50 farmers’ organizations. In addition to my agronomist (economics and sociology) background, I have gained skills through these illustrative experiences to handle AP2SF.

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