On-farm Participatory Evaluation of Technologies for Soil Fertility Management in the Sahel, West Africa

Hide Omae1, *, A. K. Saidou2, I. Germaine2, Satoshi Tobita3
1 Tropical Agriculture Research Front (TARF), Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Ishigaki, Japan
2 National Institute of Agronomic Research of Niger (INRAN), Niamey, Niger
3 Crop, Livestock and Environment Division, JIRCAS, Tsukuba, Japan

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Omae et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Tropical Agriculture Research Front (TARF), Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), 1091-1, Maezato-Kawarabaru, Ishigaki, Okinawa, 907- 0002, Japan; Tel.: +81-980-82-2314; E-mail:


We conducted on-farm participatory experiments over three years at six villages in the Fakara commune of Western Niger to demonstrate, verify, and evaluate the relevance of soil fertility management methods based on millet/ cowpea intercropping. We tested six methods using one of three organic fertilizers (millet husks, manure, or neither) with or without mineral fertilizer and one using millet/hibiscus intercropping with millet husks. We evaluated farmers’ preferences by measuring the self-selected proportions of plots that farmers used for each condition. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of millet/cowpea intercropping; the application of mineral fertilizer, manure, and millet husks; and alternating-year application—all of them are affordable for farmers in the Sahel. Both the demonstration and farmerdirected trials made farmers aware of the effects of these methods. Farmers’ selection of methods depended on availability. The dissemination of agricultural methods mainly depends on the availability of input materials in the absence of other constraints such as money and accessibility.

Keywords: Mother baby trial, Participatory approach, Soil fertility, Ssahel.