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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Institutionalizing the quality of commercial products

The soil in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is hampering the production of good quality and plentiful crops. Many new bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and other agro-inputs have been developed and commercialized but often haven’t been properly assessed. CABI, working with partners, is supporting increased knowledge and information available to smallholder farmers and decision makers on commercial bio fertilizers and bio pesticides in order to support uptake and use and support regulatory mechanisms.

Project Overview

So, what's the problem

Soil fertility in sub-Saharan Africa remains an important constraint to farmer’s ability to achieve optimum returns on their farms. Investments in this area are indispensable and will increase agricultural productivity here. One such area of investment is the introduction and promotion of other soil fertility management technologies including bio-fertilisers. This immediately focuses attention on the aspect of quality monitoring to ensure that farmers are exposed to products that actually work, and are environmentally safe.  

The quality of agricultural inputs is of utmost importance to protect farmers, retailers, wholesalers and importers, and to minimize health and environmental hazards. The emergence of several new bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and chemical agro-inputs in countries, whether registered or not, focuses attention on the need to strengthen the often weak national and regional regulatory systems, to allow for more stringent assessment of both efficacy and safety of such products. 

What is this project doing?

This project aims to regulate commercial agricultural products and guarantee their effectiveness in order to improve the crop yields of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The team will build or strengthen the capacity of project countries so they can monitor the quality of these products before they are procured and distributed. This way, farmers only use products that are effective and can result in profitable yield increases.

The team want to understand the performance of these products within diverse smallholder farmer environments and ensure that these products deliver impact both on a small and large scale. Although we will initially institutionalize this, the private sector will gradually take over their delivery.

The team will therefore:

  • disseminate at least three effective products to smallholder farmer households
  • continually screen and evaluate new products in the core countries
  • establish and institutionalize quality control and regulatory mechanisms
  • communicate information on commercial products

In addition to managing this project, we will also monitor and evaluate it and build institutional capacity.

In particular, CABI is responsible for the communications strategy and its elements, and ensuring the information on commercial products is made available to smallholder farmers and policy makers.

We will:

  • develop a strategy that encompasses internal and external communication for smallholder farmers, and policy makers 
  • develop manuals on the use and screening of commercial products
  • sensitize and communicate information to smallholder farmers through farmer field days, mobile cinema screenings, radio programmes, mobile phone messaging,  mass media events, discussions with community extension groups, policy dialogue and more
  • conduct private sector-led promotion campaigns and agro-business shows or fairs to promote selected effective products being disseminated in target areas
  • link with and use other communication initiatives that CABI are doing to drive wide distribution of information

Results

So far, we have developed policy briefs for two countries

We have produced 10 issues of ‘Quality and yield’ newsletters and had two media features published on commercial products in Kenya. The briefs are disseminated to stakeholders through AATF and IITA contact lists.

We have also completed three extension manuals.

The team

Project Manager

Staff image of James Watiti

James Watiti  Coordinator - Development, Communication and Extension

CABI
Canary Bird
673 Limuru Road
Muthaiga
PO Box 633-00621
Nairobi
Kenya
T +254 (020) 7224450/62
E j.watiti@cabi.org

Project team

Staff image of Abigael Mchana

Abigael Mchana

Communication Officer

Country

  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • Ethiopia

Duration

  • Start: 17/07/2012
  • End: 31/12/2016

Donors

  • Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (through International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA))