Regional Partner: West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD)

CORAF/WECARD Objective:

Conduct, coordinate and disseminate research on agriculture practices and improved seeds to member states and national research centers.

Support from USAID/West Africa:

2002 to Present

USAID Funding 2009-2014

7,000,000 USD

Linked Programs:

CORAF implements the USAID West African Seed Program.

Geographic Focus:

21 member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Description: 

The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) was created in 1987 to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of small-scale producers and to promote the agribusiness sector.” It has 21 member states in West and Central Africa:  eight in the Sahel, eight in coastal countries and five in Central Africa. It focuses on developing new technologies and innovations to benefit farmers in the region and on collecting and dispensing agricultural data. It also strengthens and coordinates the existing regional agricultural systems, as well as giving policy options to its member states that can encourage agricultural growth. CORAF/WECARD is one of the main implementers of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) goal of 6 percent agricultural growth in its signatory African states [including all states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)] by 2015. CORAF/WECARD works to meet this CAADP goal and strengthen its “Fourth Pillar” of agricultural research through engaging small-scale farmers at the center of their research in West and Central Africa.

USAID Support:

USAID support to CORAF/WECARD has strengthened its capacity to build a solid base of research information in West Africa. CORAF/WECARD’s work increases farmer access to information on food and farming systems, natural resource management, markets and trade, climate change adaption and biotechnology. It also focuses on scaling up agricultural technologies to strengthen the link between research and the farm. The result has been that farmers have received more and better information on best practices in order to improve productivity and increase profit. One example of this is in Benin, where CORAF/WECARD discovered that, if farmers precede rice cultivation with cowpeas, they will get the same yield from the rice with half of the usual amount of mineral fertilizer. CORAF/WECARD disseminates thousands of such best practices that have an enormous impact on the labor to profit ratio of farming in the region. USAID support to CORAF/WECARD is also improving the production and availability of quality-certified seeds for farmers in the region through the West African Seed Program, thus improving farmers’ yield and crop quality.

Activities Supported by USAID/West Africa in 2013:

• Baseline studies on agricultural research and post-harvest research assets for five value chains including maize, rice, millet, sorghum and livestock.
• Trials on high-yielding varieties of rice, maize and sorghum resistant to major biotic and abiotic stresses.
• Tests to improve the market quality of targeted cereal and traditional meat processed products.
• Capacity building for producers and agro-processors.

Key CORAF/WECARD Technologies and How They are Being Scaled Up:

Climate-smart crop varieties: submergence-tolerant rice, drought-tolerant sesame and maize, heat tolerant and high-yielding millet and sorghum, rust-resistant wheat. Scaled up through demonstration plots and engaging all value chain actors, from plant breeders to private sector partners, with an emphasis on commercializing new varieties.

Integrated Soil Fertility Management: crop and site-specific fertilizer recommendations, best practices to rehabilitate degraded land and preserve soil fertility, and urea deep-placement (UDP) of fertilizer to maximize efficiency. Scaled up through extension training, demonstrations of conservative tillage and deep placement of fertilizer.  Also through training agro-dealers so that they can educate their customers on how to most efficiently use fertilizer.

Post-Harvest Quality Management: improved storage containers and post-harvest practices to reduce aflatoxin levels. Scaled up through demonstrating small-scale grain harvest machinery (stripper, thresher, and winnower), which captures 90% of grain, dramatically reducing waste. Also through promoting the use of grain storage containers to prevent mold and aflatoxin.

Last updated: April 04, 2014

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