Njawara Agricultural Training Centre,

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Njawara Agricultural Training Centre,

Gambia
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Mama Manneh is creating replicable, grassroots-based solutions to the most severe food security problem facing farmers in the Sahel - the "saison de soudure” - the season of hunger, beginning in June and lasting until October, when the last of a farmer's remaining food stocks are exhausted, and before the early Fall planting yields food.

About Project

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

Manneh saw an opportunity in the testing protocols of very promising "early yield" seed varieties (ie, seeds that had been successfully used on other continents). These protocols routinely mandated a testing period on research farms, under ideal conditions, of four years. Leveraging his recognized expertise and reputation as a thoughtful, careful field researcher, Manneh convinced AGRI, the Agricultural Research Institute, to sell him several promising F1 (early yielding) seed varieties of corn, groundnut and millet. What Manneh did next was to organize a "real farming world test" of these seeds - effectively running a parallel real world test, using women farmers. He taught the women to organize themselves into sections, with certain areas set aside for cultivation, and others for harvesting seed. He taught the women how to segregate the planting of the various seeds one from the other, and from local species. Apart from a small control plot that Manneh maintained, the women's groups owned and took all decisions about how the produce and the seed stock were to be managed. This decision to invest the seed fully with the farmers put the farmers in a position to build up their seed stocks when the first harvest was successful, and it also put them in a position to be sellers of the high quality seeds when news of their success attracted the attention of other farmer groups. The key project design elements can be classified into the following categories: obtaining quality millet Germplasm, participatory implementation, boosting sustainable feed production, promoting energy efficiency and sustainable resource management, and promoting income generation. Also, a common theme throughout all these project design areas is the development and implementation of appropriate marketing strategies.