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A video is worth 1000 words August 9th, 2020 by

A farmer learning video often does have the proverbial thousand words, but can technical information be shared through images alone? A recent study set out to see how much rice farmers in southern Benin would learn from a video if they couldn’t understand the words.

PhD candidate Laur√©ano Bede and colleagues created an experiment using a video about urea fertilizer. Over-use of this nitrogen fertilizer wastes farmers‚Äô money, pollutes waterways, and contributes to greenhouse gases. The video shows how to cut urea use by two-thirds, by making large, ‚Äúsuper-granules‚ÄĚ of fertilizer and pressing them into the wet soil, where the rice plant can absorb it, instead of scattering the urea all over the surface.

In the study, six groups of farmers watched the super-granule video. In three villages, they watched the video in their own language, Adja. One of the villages saw the video once, another watched it twice, and another saw it three times. In comparison, another set of three villages also watched the video once, twice, or three times, but they had the disadvantage of seeing it in a language they didn’t understand: English.

As expected, villagers who only saw the video once learned more if they understood the soundtrack. But the difference narrowed after several screenings. Farmers who saw the video three times, without understanding the words, learned more than farmers who saw a single screening in their native Adja language. The more people watch a video, the more they learn, especially as community members discuss it among themselves, and share their observations, even if the language is foreign.

In this particular case, the super-granule video was expertly filmed to convey information to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer. Sloppy videos may not get their point across as well. A ten-minute video has about a thousand words. If the content and images are well-chosen, the video may be able to carry its messages, even without the words.

Related blogs

Deeper nitrogen, more rice, a cooler planet

Take a stab

Further reading

Lauréano Bede, Florent Okry & Simplice D. Vodouhe 2020 Video mediated rural learning: effects of images and languages on farmers’ learning in Benin Republic. Development in Practice, DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2020.1788508

Watch the video Watch or download Urea deep placement in Adja, English or one of 29 other languages.

Pay and learn July 19th, 2020 by

Vea la versi√≥n en espa√Īol a continuaci√≥n Extensionists often give information away for free, but selling it may get you a more tuned-in audience. This is the conclusion of researcher G√©rard Zoundji and colleagues in a recent paper published in Experimental Agriculture.

Zoundji compared three groups of people in West Africa who had received DVDs with farmer learning videos. One video collection covered topics related to vegetable production and another showed how to manage the parasitic weed striga. The videos could be shown in multiple local languages, or in English or French.

When NGOs in Benin gave the DVDs to organized farmers, they tended to watch the videos, and they experimented with planting styles and other ideas shown in the videos. But some farmers who got DVDs for free did not show the videos to friends and neighbors, complaining that they needed fuel for their generators, or other support.

Audience appreciation improved when DVDs were shared by NGOs that were committed to the topic and the communities. In Mali, organizations that had taught striga management realized the importance of the weed, and arranged screenings of the videos in villages. Professional staff from the NGOs were on hand to answer people’s questions after the show. The NGOs left copies of the DVD with local people who usually self-organized to watch the videos again later, to study the content. Farmers experimented keenly with the ideas they had learned, such as planting legumes between rows of cereal crops, to control striga naturally.

But the big payoff came when farmers bought the DVDs cold, off-the-shelf in shops. Most only paid a dollar or two for the DVDs on vegetable production, but buying the information gave it value. All of these paying customers watched the videos and most of them showed the videos at home to friends and neighbors. They found the agricultural ideas useful; some bought drip irrigation equipment they had seen on screen. Others learned to manage nematodes (microscopic worms) without chemical pesticides.

Farmers who bought the DVDs also experimented with the digital technology used to show the videos. Nearly 15% bought DVD players to watch the videos. Some loaned the DVDs to their children at university, who copied the DVDs from the disk, converted them to a phone-friendly format (3gp) and then loaded the videos onto the mobile devices of friends and colleagues.

Selling information draws a self-selected audience: interested people who will take the content seriously. Expert extensionists who appreciate the videos can also demonstrate their value by organizing video shows that respectfully engage with the communities and their leaders. But when DVDs are simply given away, even though they contain cinematic-quality videos on crucial topics, farmers may watch the videos and value them, or not. People who pay for information see its importance.

Further reading

Zoundji, G√©rard C., Florent Okry, Simplice D. Vodouh√™, Jeffery W. Bentley, and Loes Witteveen 2020 Commercial Channels vs Free Distribution and Screening of Learning Videos: A Case Study from Benin and Mali. Experimental Agriculture. DOI: 10.1017/S0014479720000149.  

Related blog stories

Private screenings

Call anytime

Sorghum and millets on the rise

Watch the videos

The 11 fighting striga videos

And the 9 vegetable videos:

Managing vegetable nematodes

Making a chilli seedbed

Insect nets in seedbeds

Transplanting chillies

Drying and storing chillies

Making chilli powder

Drip irrigation for tomato

Reviving soils with mucuna

Managing soil fertility

PAGAR Y APRENDER

por Jeff Bentley, 19 de julio del 2020

Los extensionistas a menudo dan informaci√≥n gratis, pero se puede conseguir un p√ļblico m√°s atento si cobra. Esta es la conclusi√≥n del investigador G√©rard Zoundji y sus colegas en un reciente art√≠culo publicado en Experimental Agriculture.

Zoundji compar√≥ tres grupos de personas en √Āfrica occidental que hab√≠an recibido un DVD con videos de aprendizaje para agricultores. Hab√≠a una colecci√≥n de videos sobre la producci√≥n de hortalizas y otra del manejo de la estriga, una maleza paras√≠tica. Los videos pod√≠an mostrarse en varios idiomas locales, o en ingl√©s o franc√©s.

Cuando las ONGs de Benín entregaron los DVDs a los agricultores organizados, tendían a ver los videos y experimentar con los estilos de siembra y otras ideas que se apreciaban en los videos. Pero algunos agricultores que recibieron los DVDs gratis no mostraron los videos a amigos y vecinos, quejándose de que necesitaban combustible para sus generadores, u otro tipo de apoyo.

La apreciaci√≥n del p√ļblico mejor√≥ cuando los DVD fueron compartidos por ONGs comprometidas con el tema y las comunidades. En Mal√≠, las organizaciones que hab√≠an ense√Īado el manejo de la estriga se dieron cuenta de la importancia de la maleza y organizaron proyecciones de los videos en las aldeas. El personal profesional de las ONGs estaba disponible para responder a las preguntas de la gente despu√©s de la proyecci√≥n. Las ONGs dejaron copias del DVD con los habitantes locales, que por lo general se organizaron por su cuenta para volver a ver los videos m√°s tarde, para estudiar el contenido. Los agricultores experimentaron intensamente con las ideas que hab√≠an aprendido, como sembrar leguminosas entre los surcos de cereales, para controlar la estriga de forma natural.

Pero la gran recompensa era cuando los agricultores compraron los DVDs por su cuenta, en las tiendas. La mayoría sólo pagó un dólar o dos por los DVDs sobre las hortalizas, pero el comprar la información le dio valor. Todos los clientes que pagaron vieron los videos y la mayoría los mostraron en casa a amigos y vecinos. Les servían las ideas agrícolas; algunos compraron equipos de riego por goteo que habían visto en la pantalla. Otros aprendieron a manejar nematodos (gusanos microscópicos) sin plaguicidas químicos.

Los agricultores que compraron los DVDs también experimentaron con la tecnología digital que se usa para mostrar los videos. Casi el 15% compró lectores de DVD para ver los videos. Algunos prestaron los DVD a sus hijos en la universidad, quienes copiaron los videos del disco, los convirtieron a un formato apto para teléfonos (3gp) y luego cargaron los videos en los dispositivos móviles de amigos y colegas.

La venta de informaci√≥n atrae a un p√ļblico auto seleccionado: personas interesadas que se tomar√°n el contenido en serio. Los extensionistas expertos que aprecian los videos tambi√©n demuestran su valor organizando programas de video de forma respetuosa con las comunidades y sus l√≠deres. Pero cuando los DVDs se regalan as√≠ no m√°s, aunque contengan videos de calidad cinematogr√°fica sobre temas cruciales, los agricultores pueden ver los videos y valorarlos, o no. Las personas que pagan por la informaci√≥n aprecian su importancia.

Lectura adicional

Zoundji, G√©rard C., Florent Okry, Simplice D. Vodouh√™, Jeffery W. Bentley, and Loes Witteveen 2020 Commercial Channels vs Free Distribution and Screening of Learning Videos: A Case Study from Benin and Mali. Experimental Agriculture. DOI: 10.1017/S0014479720000149.  

Historias de blog sobre temas relacionados

Private screenings

Call anytime

Sorghum and millets on the rise

Vea los videos

Los 11 videos: fighting striga

De los cuales algunos est√°n en espa√Īol:

La micro dosis

Revivir el suelo con la mucuna

Animales, √°rboles y cultivos

Y los 9 videos sobre hortalizas:

El manejo de nematodos en hortalizas                

Redes contra insectos en alm√°cigo

Riego por goteo para el tomate

Revivir el suelo con la mucuna

Manejo de la fertilidad del suelo

Making a chilli seedbed

Transplanting chillies

Drying and storing chillies

Trying it yourself May 24th, 2020 by

Helping to write a script for a farmer training video on vermiwash triggered my interest in trying it out myself, as I began to wonder if ideas from tropical India could work in temperate Belgium.

As the video explains, vermiwash is the liquid that is collected after water passes through compost made by earthworms. It is rich in plant growth hormones, micro-nutrients like iron and zinc, and major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Vermiwash increases the number of beneficial micro-organisms in the soil and helps plants to grow healthy.

After showing the problem of declining soil health due to the overuse of agrochemicals, the video quickly moves on to some powerful, motivational interviews by some local farmers in Tamil Nadu, in southern India.

‚ÄúWhen you want to mix vermicompost with the soil, you need large quantities. But vermiwash can be applied directly to plant leaves, so you need less and you can see the effect on plant growth faster. It is also cheaper than compost,‚ÄĚ says farmer Sivamoorthi.

Besides the liquid vermiwash, I had also helped another of our Indian partners, WOTR, develop a video on vermicompost, which is solid, and stronger than normal compost . But, I was more attracted to the idea of making vermiwash, as it requires little space and I could easily use it as a foliar spray on my vegetables, berry shrubs and fruit trees.

At the local hardware store, I bought a barrel with a tap at the bottom. The first drafts of the script mentioned that it is best to fill the bottom of the barrel with small stones, so the tap doesn‚Äôt get blocked. I did exactly that. In the final version of the video, this part was removed. When I asked Shanmuga Priya, who made this video, she said: ‚ÄúAfter I talked to farmers it seems no one is doing this, because after three months they empty the barrel, remove the earthworms and then put the compost on their field. Of course, they don‚Äôt want stones to be mixed with the compost.‚ÄĚ

Indian farmers just use a small piece of mosquito netting or cotton cloth as a filter. Right, that was a good lesson; farmers always find a way to improve any technique they learn from extension staff. I still have the bottom of my barrel filled with pebbles, and so far so good. I will have to make the extra effort of sorting out the stones when setting up a new batch of vermiwash.

The video says to fill the bottom with some 10-15 centimetres of dried leaves, not green ones, which would slow down decomposition. As I had plenty of dried oak leaves, and even though they decompose slowly, I wondered if they would work, but hey, that’s what I have, so that’s what I will try.

Then the video shows how an equal amount of rice straw is added. Instead, I used wheat straw, as I still have plenty of bundles in the attic of our shed.

The next part was also a little tricky. While the video suggested using 5 to 10 kg of decomposed cow dung, I wondered if the dung of my sheep would work just as well. It was a discussion I had had several times with Indian partners, who always say that only cow dung is a useful source of beneficial microorganisms. I asked a friend of mine, who is soil scientist, and still did not get a clear answer to this. Soil scientists are trained more in the physical and chemical properties of soil and are less familiar with its complex biology. But that is food for another blog story.

After adding some water to the barrel, I collected a few handfuls of earthworms from my compost and put them into the barrel. I would soon see if my set up would work or not. While farmers in India can collect vermiwash after just 10 days, I realised that the early days of spring in Belgium are still too cold, so the worms are not that active yet. Six weeks later, though, we happily collected our first litre of brown vermiwash.

After diluting it with ten litres of water, I sprayed the vermiwash on the leaves of my rhubarb as an experiment, before putting it on any other plants. In just a few days the leaves turned a shiny, dark green. The plants looked so healthy, that neighbours even remarked on it and asked what I had given them.

My wife, Marcella, had been rearing vegetable seedlings in a small glass house, and when the time came to transplant them to the garden, she decided to set up a small experiment. One batch of mustard leaf seedlings would be planted straight in the soil, the other batch she would soak the roots of the seedlings for 15 minutes in pure vermiwash. After all, the video shows that this works with rice seedlings, so why not with vegetable seedlings?

And again, the effect was striking: all of the seedlings dipped in the vermiwash took root quickly, while in the other batch only a fraction did.

As Jeff has written in some earlier blogs, the Covid-19 crisis has stopped people from travelling, affecting many farmers (see: Travelling farmers), students (see: A long walk home) and society at large. It has also forced people to creatively use their time. Like many other people, we have been able to spend more time in the garden, and in our case, we were able try out some of the things we learned from farmers in the global South.

As we tried oak leaves, wheat straw and sheep dung instead of the ingredients used by Indian farmers, we found that vermiwash works as well in Flanders as it does in Tamil Nadu. Good training videos inspire people to experiment with new ideas and adapt these to their own conditions. That is the philosophy and approach of Access Agriculture: using video as a global source of inspiration.

Related blogs

Earthworms from India to Bolivia

Encouraging microorganisms that improve the soil

Effective micro-organisms

Friendly germs

Related videos, freely downloadable from www.accessagriculture.org

Vermiwash: an organic tonic for crops

Making a vermicompost bed

Good microbes for plants and soil

Earthworms from India to Bolivia March 29th, 2020 by

Vea la versi√≥n en espa√Īol a continuaci√≥n

A few weeks ago, I met a young Bolivian journalist, Edson Rodríguez, who works on an environmental program at the university (UMSS) television channel in Cochabamba called TVU. He helps to produce a show called Granizo Blanco (white hail), a dramatic name in this part of the Andes, where hail can devastate crops in a moment. The show covers all environmental issues, not just agriculture. For example, the program recently featured mud slides that have destroyed homes, and the impacts of a new metro train system in the valley.

I first met Edson in the field, where he was filming the tree seedling distribution that I wrote about earlier in this blog. Later, I told him about the agroecological videos on Access Agriculture.

Edson wondered if some of the videos on Access Agriculture might be suitable for the TV show. After watching some of the videos, he downloaded one on making compost with earthworms. The video was filmed in India, and it had recently been translated into Spanish, crucial for making videos more widely available. Without a Spanish version it wouldn’t be possible to consider showing a video from Maharashtra in Cochabamba. The two places are physically far apart, but they have much in common, such as a semi-arid climate, and small farms that produce crop residues and other organic waste that can be turned into compost.

Edson asked me to take part in an episode of Granizo Blanco that included a short interview followed by a screening of the compost and earthworm video. He was curious to know why Access Agriculture promotes videos of farmers in one country to show to smallholders elsewhere. I said that the farmers may differ in their skin color, clothing and hair styles, but they are working on similar problems. For example, farmers worldwide are struggling with crops contaminated with aflatoxins, poisons produced by fungi on improperly dried products like peanuts and maize.

I told Edson that farmer learning videos filmed in Bolivia are being used elsewhere. My colleagues and I made a video on managing aflatoxins in groundnuts, originally in Spanish, but since been translated into English, French and various African languages. The same aflatoxin occurs in Bolivia and in Burkina Faso, so African farmers can benefit from experience in South America. In this case the video shows simple ways to reduce aflatoxins in food, using improved drying and storage techniques developed by Bolivian scientists and farmers in Chuquisaca.

‚ÄúWhat other kinds of things can Bolivian farmers learn from their peers in other countries?‚ÄĚ Edson asked me, as he realized that good ideas can flow in both directions. I explained that soil fertility is a problem in parts of Bolivia and elsewhere; Access Agriculture has videos on cover crops, compost, conservation agriculture and may other ways to improve the soil, all freely available for programs such as Granizo Blanco to screen.

Many older people, especially those who work for governments, feel that videos have to be made in each country, and cannot be shared across borders. This closed vision makes little sense. The same civil servants happily organize and attend international conferences on agriculture and many other topics to share their own ideas across borders. If government functionaries can gain insights from foreign peers, farmers should be able to do so as well.

Fortunately, younger people like Edson are able to see the importance of media, such as learning videos that enable farmers to share knowledge and experience cross-culturally. Smallholders can swap ideas and stimulate innovations as long as the sound track is translated into a language they understand. It costs much less to translate a video than to make one.

Related blog

The right way to distribute trees

Translate to innovate

Aflatoxin videos for farmers

Related videos

Making a vemicompost bed (The earthworm video from India)

Managing aflatoxins in groundnuts during drying and storage

See also the links to soil conservation videos at the end of last week’s story: A revolution for our soil

Acknowledgment

The McKnight Foundation has generously funded many video translations, including the earthworm video, besides the filming of the aflatoxin video and its translation into several languages. For many years, SDC has offered crucial support that enabled Access Agriculture to become a global leader in South-South exchange through quality farmer-to-farmer training videos.

LOMBRICES DE TIERRA DE LA INDIA A BOLIVIA

Por Jeff Bentley 29 de marzo del 2020

Hace unas semanas conoc√≠ a un joven periodista boliviano, Edson Rodr√≠guez, que trabaja en un programa de medio ambiente en el canal de televisi√≥n, TVU, de la Universidad (UMSS) en Cochabamba. √Čl ayuda a producir un programa llamado Granizo Blanco, un nombre dram√°tico en esta parte de los Andes, donde el granizo puede arrasar los cultivos en un momento. El programa cubre todos los temas ambientales, no s√≥lo la agricultura. Por ejemplo, el programa recientemente present√≥ los deslizamientos de mazamorra que han destruido varias casas, y los impactos de un nuevo sistema de tren metropolitano en el valle.

Conocí a Edson por primera vez en el campo, donde él estaba filmando la distribución de plantines de árboles, el tema de un blog previo. Más tarde, le hablé de los videos agroecológicos en Access Agriculture.

Edson se preguntaba si algunos de los videos de Access Agriculture podr√≠an servir para el programa de televisi√≥n. Despu√©s de ver algunos de los videos, descarg√≥ uno sobre c√≥mo hacer abono con lombrices de tierra. El v√≠deo se film√≥ en la India y recientemente se hab√≠a traducido al espa√Īol, lo que era imprescindible para hacer los v√≠deos m√°s disponibles. Sin una versi√≥n en espa√Īol ser√≠a imposible mostrar un video de Maharashtra en Cochabamba. Los dos lugares est√°n f√≠sicamente alejados, pero tienen mucho en com√ļn, como un clima semi√°rido y peque√Īas granjas que producen residuos de cultivos y otros desechos org√°nicos que pueden convertirse en abono.

Edson me pidi√≥ que participara en un episodio de Granizo Blanco que inclu√≠a una breve entrevista seguida de una proyecci√≥n del v√≠deo de lombricultura. √Čl quer√≠a saber por qu√© Access Agriculture promueve videos de los agricultores de un pa√≠s para mostrarlos a los campesinos de otros pa√≠ses. Dije que los agricultores pueden diferir en el color de su piel, su ropa y peinado, pero est√°n trabajando en problemas similares. Por ejemplo, hay agricultores de todo el mundo que luchan con la contaminaci√≥n de aflatoxinas, venenos producidos por hongos en productos mal secados como el man√≠ y el ma√≠z.

Expliqu√© que los videos filmados con agricultores en Bolivia se est√°n usando en otros pa√≠ses. Mis colegas y yo hicimos un video sobre el manejo de las aflatoxinas en el man√≠, originalmente en espa√Īol, pero luego se ha traducido al ingl√©s, al franc√©s y a varios idiomas africanos. La misma aflatoxina se produce en Bolivia y en Burkina Faso, por lo que los agricultores africanos pueden beneficiarse de la experiencia en Am√©rica del Sur. En este caso, el v√≠deo muestra formas sencillas de reducir las aflatoxinas en los alimentos secos, desarrolladas por cient√≠ficos y agricultores bolivianos en Chuquisaca.

“¬ŅQu√© otro tipo de cosas pueden aprender los agricultores bolivianos de sus hom√≥logos de otros pa√≠ses?” Edson me pregunt√≥, al darse cuenta de que las buenas ideas pueden fluir en ambas direcciones. Le expliqu√© que la fertilidad del suelo es un problema en algunas partes de Bolivia y que afecta a muchos otros agricultores en otros lugares; Access Agriculture tiene videos sobre cultivos de cobertura, compost, agricultura de conservaci√≥n y muchas otras t√©cnicas para mejorar el suelo, todos disponibles gratuitamente para que programas como Granizo Blanco los proyecten.

Muchas personas mayores, especialmente las que trabajan para los gobiernos, consideran que los videos tienen que hacerse en cada pa√≠s y no pueden compartirse a trav√©s de las fronteras. Esta visi√≥n cerrada tiene poco sentido. Los mismos funcionarios p√ļblicos organizan y asisten con gusto a conferencias internacionales sobre agricultura y diversos temas para compartir sus propias ideas a trav√©s de las fronteras. Si los funcionarios del gobierno pueden obtener ideas de sus colegas extranjeros, los agricultores tambi√©n deber√≠an poder hacerlo.

Afortunadamente, los j√≥venes como Edson ven la importancia de los medios de comunicaci√≥n, como los v√≠deos, que permiten a los agricultores compartir conocimientos y experiencias entre culturas. Los peque√Īos agricultores pueden intercambiar ideas y estimular innovaciones siempre que la banda sonora se traduzca a un idioma que entiendan. Cuesta mucho menos traducir un video que hacer uno.

Historias relacionadas del blog

La manera correcta de distribuir los √°rboles

Translate to innovate

Aflatoxin videos for farmers

Videos relacionados

Hacer una lombricompostera (el video de la lombriz de tierra de la India)

Manejo de aflatoxinas en maní (también disponible en quechua y en aymara)

Vea también los enlaces a los videos de conservación del suelo al final de la historia de la semana pasada: Una revolución para nuestro suelo

Agradecimiento

La Fundaci√≥n McKnight ha financiado generosamente muchas traducciones de video, incluyendo el video de la lombriz, adem√°s de la filmaci√≥n del video de la aflatoxina y su traducci√≥n a varios idiomas. Durante muchos a√Īos, la Cosude ha ofrecido un apoyo crucial que ha permitido a Access Agriculture convertirse en un l√≠der mundial en el intercambio Sur-a-Sur a trav√©s de v√≠deos agricultor a agricultor.

A common ground March 8th, 2020 by

Farmers need new ideas, and researchers need data. When these two professional groups meet in the framework of collaborative or participatory research, it is often not clear who has to evolve in what direction: do farmers need to learn about research protocols, systematically collecting and analysing data, or do researchers need new ideas from farmers to guide their research agenda?

When grantees of the McKnight Foundation from West Africa recently met in Montpellier, France, at a Community of Practice (COP) meeting to share experiences, it was refreshing to see how this network has over time taken ownership of some key values on doing research with farmers on agroecology, as a way to move towards a more just and equitable food system with care for the people and the planet.

Out of the more than 60 people from farmer organisations, NGOs, research institutes and universities from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, I was glad to run into some old friends. Ali Maman Aminou is a farmer and director of the federation of farmer unions in Maradi (FUMA Gaskiya), one of the main farmer organisations in Niger.

In 2011, Aminou was one of the twelve people we trained during a 2-week intensive workshop on making quality farmer-to-farmer training videos. Ever since, Aminou has been using video in his interactions with the growing number of members, now some 18,000. The series of 10 videos on integrated striga and soil fertility management that were developed with ICRISAT and its partners were all translated into Hausa, which made it an ideal tool to trigger lively discussions with farming communities. Striga is a parasitic weed that attaches its roots to the roots of cereal crops, as such depriving the crop from the water and nutrients it needs.

‚ÄúDuring one of the evenings that we showed the videos,‚ÄĚ Aminou says, ‚Äúone of the farmers spoke out and told he liked the videos, but that they had another technology to fight striga that was also efficient.‚ÄĚ Aminou listened intently as the man went on to explain that farmers mix their millet seed with the powdery substance found around the seeds of the n√©r√©, a common tree across West Africa. When farmers sow millet, the n√©r√© powder apparently inhibits the striga seeds in the soil from germinating.

‚ÄúThis is amazing,‚ÄĚ I told Aminou. ‚ÄúIt would be great if you could turn this into a training video.‚ÄĚ At that stage, it became apparent how much farmers and researchers had already begun to interact as equal players. Aminou swiftly turned to Salifou Nouhou Jangorzo, a lecturer from the University of Maradi in Niger, who had joined our discussion and said: ‚ÄúWe need to find out more about this practice. We need all the details of how farmers do this.‚ÄĚ Professor Salifou looked surprised at first; he had never heard of this practice before, but after 5 minutes of discussing with Aminou he was convinced. It turns out that he is planning a survey on a labour-saving weeding technology and so he decided on the spot that he would add some questions about managing striga with n√©r√© to his survey.

Farmer-to-farmer training videos, like the ones in the striga series, trigger farmers to experiment with new ideas. They also give farmers confidence to openly share their real-life experiences, knowledge and practices. Through a functional network these ideas can find their way back to researchers. In a progressive and collaborative research network, communication is not an end-product in itself, as Aminou has shown, but it feeds into a life of learning to make agriculture more resilient, profitable and responsive to farmers’ needs.

Finding a common ground between researchers and farmers does not happen overnight, it needs a concerted and long-term effort.

Note

The scientific name of the néré tree is Parkia biglobosa, also known as the African locust bean.

Acknowledgement

We greatly appreciate the endeavours and commitment of the Collaborative Crop Research Programme (CCRP) supported by the McKnight Foundation.

Farmer training videos

The videos on striga and on more than 200 other topics are freely downloadable from the Access Agriculture video platform www.accessagriculture.org

Related blogs

Social innovations triggered by videos: Evidence from Mali

Fighting striga and improving soil fertility with videos in Mali

Killing the vampire flower

Version française

Un terrain d’entente

Les agriculteurs ont besoin de nouvelles id√©es et les chercheurs ont besoin de donn√©es. Lorsque ces deux groupes professionnels se rencontrent dans le cadre d’une recherche collaborative ou participative, il est souvent difficile de savoir qui doit √©voluer dans quelle direction : les agriculteurs ont-ils besoin de conna√ģtre les protocoles de recherche, de collecter et d’analyser syst√©matiquement les donn√©es, ou les chercheurs ont-ils besoin de nouvelles id√©es de la part des agriculteurs pour orienter leur programme de recherche ?

Lorsque les projets financ√©s par la Fondation McKnight en Afrique de l’Ouest se sont r√©cemment rencontr√©s √† Montpellier, en France, lors de la r√©union de comit√© de pratique (CoP) pour un √©change d’exp√©riences, il √©tait int√©ressant de voir comment ce r√©seau s’est appropri√©, au fil du temps, certaines valeurs cl√©s sur la recherche avec les agriculteurs en mati√®re d’agro√©cologie comme moyen d’√©voluer vers un syst√®me alimentaire plus juste et plus √©quitable, soucieux des populations et de la plan√®te.

Sur plus de 60 personnes issues d’organisations de producteurs, d’ONG, d’instituts de recherche et d’universit√©s du Mali, du Burkina Faso et du Niger, j’ai √©t√© heureux de rencontrer de vieux amis. Ali Maman Aminou est agriculteur et directeur de la f√©d√©ration des unions de producteurs de Maradi (FUMA Gaskiya), l’une des principales organisations paysannes du Niger.

En 2011, Aminou √©tait parmi les douze personnes que nous avons form√©es lors d’un atelier intensif de deux semaines sur la r√©alisation de vid√©os de formation de qualit√© paysan √† paysan. Depuis, Aminou utilise les vid√©os dans ses interactions avec le nombre croissant de membres de l‚Äôorganisation, qui s’√©l√®ve aujourd’hui √† environ 18 000 personnes. La s√©rie de 10 vid√©os sur la gestion int√©gr√©e du striga et de la fertilit√© des sols, d√©velopp√©e avec l’ICRISAT et ses partenaires, a √©t√© traduite en Haoussa, ce qui rend l‚Äôoutil id√©al pour susciter de vives discussions avec les communaut√©s agricoles. Le striga est une mauvaise herbe parasite qui attache ses racines aux racines des cultures c√©r√©ali√®res, privant ainsi la culture de l’eau et des nutriments dont elle a besoin.

“Lors d’une soir√©e o√Ļ nous avons montr√© les vid√©os”, raconte Aminou, “un des agriculteurs a pris la parole et a dit qu’il aimait les vid√©os, mais qu’ils avaient une autre technologie pour lutter contre le striga qui √©tait aussi efficace”. Aminou a √©cout√© attentivement comment les agriculteurs m√©langent leurs graines de millet avec la substance poudreuse qui se trouve autour des graines du n√©r√©, un arbre commun dans toute l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Lorsque les agriculteurs s√®ment du millet, la poudre de n√©r√© emp√™che apparemment la germination des graines de striga dans le sol.

“C’est incroyable”, ai-je dit √† Aminou. “Ce serait g√©nial si vous pouviez en faire une vid√©o de formation.” √Ä ce stade, il est apparu clairement que les agriculteurs et les chercheurs avaient d√©j√† commenc√© √† interagir en tant qu’acteurs √©gaux. Aminou s’√©tait rapidement tourn√© vers Salifou Nouhou Jangorzo, un professeur de l’Universit√© de Maradi au Niger, qui s’√©tait joint √† notre discussion et a d√©clar√© “Nous devons en savoir plus sur cette pratique. Nous avons besoin de tous les d√©tails sur la fa√ßon dont les agriculteurs font cela “. Le professeur Salifou a d’abord eu l’air surpris ; il n’avait jamais entendu parler de cette pratique auparavant, mais apr√®s 5 minutes de discussion avec Aminou, il √©tait convaincu. Il s’av√®re qu’il pr√©voit d’effectuer une enqu√™te sur une technologie de d√©sherbage permettant d’√©conomiser la main-d’Ňďuvre et il a donc d√©cid√© sur-le-champ d’ajouter √† son enqu√™te quelques questions sur la gestion de la striga avec la poudre de n√©r√©.

Les vid√©os de formation paysan √† paysan, comme celles de la s√©rie sur le striga, incitent les agriculteurs √† exp√©rimenter de nouvelles id√©es. Elles donnent √©galement aux agriculteurs la confiance n√©cessaire pour partager ouvertement leurs exp√©riences, leurs connaissances et leurs pratiques r√©elles de la vie. Gr√Ęce √† un r√©seau fonctionnel, ces id√©es peuvent √™tre transmises aux chercheurs. Dans un r√©seau de recherche progressive et collaborative, la communication n’est pas un produit final en soi, comme l’a montr√© Aminou, mais elle alimente une vie d’apprentissage pour rendre l’agriculture plus r√©sistante, plus rentable et plus sensible aux besoins des agriculteurs.

Trouver un terrain d’entente entre chercheurs et agriculteurs ne se fait pas du jour au lendemain, il faut un effort concert√© et √† long terme.

Note :

Le nom scientifique du néré est Parkia biglobosa, également connu sous le nom de caroubier Africain.

Remerciements

Nous appr√©cions grandement les efforts et l’engagement du Programme de recherche collaborative sur les cultures (CCRP) soutenu par la Fondation McKnight.

Vidéos de formation des agriculteurs

Les vidéos sur le striga et sur plus de 200 autres sujets sont téléchargeables gratuitement sur la plateforme vidéo Access Agriculture www.accessagriculture.org/fr

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