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PROJECTS

Setting up a system of evaluation of the land use dynamics and follow up indicators of the transboundry biosphere reserve of the Mono (SESI_RBTM)

Implementation of the research activities will help to (i) get the reference situation of the land use management within and towards the transboundry biosphere reserve of the Mono; (ii) have a better knowledge as regards the dynamics of the land cover and (iii) set a protocol for data collection and management relating to the reserve.

Country: Benin – Togo-Cote d’ivoire
Funding:Observation spatiale des forêts d’Afrique Centrale et de l’Ouest/IRD
Period: 2017-2019
Status: Ongoing


Enhancing nutritious food availability through promotion of native edible tree/shrub species in Sub-Saharan Africa

The project aims at supporting so-called farmer-led innovation platforms in improving collection, production, processing and marketing of products from edible tree/shrub species, whereas field schools will be established to disseminate technologies. This holistic approach will allow the sustainable development, use and conservation of a number of local tree species occurring in the different agro-ecological zones. Additionally, preservation and improvement of the ecosystem services they provide will ensure/improve the livelihoods of rural communities.

Country: Benin – Mali – Burkina Faso – Niger – Denmark – Belgium
Funding: Agropolis Fondation – Fondazione Cariplo and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso
Period: 2015-2017
Status: Ongoing

 


Promoting environmentally friendly practices for sustainable baobab leaves production for food and nutritional security in smallholders farming systems in Benin

Baobab is a highly valued Non-Timber Forest Products-provider tree species in Africa. Among these products, baobab leaves are widely consumed as legume in rural households and stand as a key source of both micronutrients and macronutrients. However, the leaves are often totally harvested from trees in wild and trend shows that wild populations will hardly satisfy the increasing demand. There is therefore a need to integrate baobab leaves production into farming systems. Our project seeks to develop cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods of baobab leaf production for food and nutritional security in smallholders farming systems in three contrasting climatic zones in the Benin republic. Our methodology is three-folds: on-station, on-field researcher managed and on-field farmer managed research experiments. Different doses of two organic manures (compost versus animal-organic manure) will be used under different frequencies of total baobab leaves harvest in an on-station experiment to record baobab seedling leaves biomass and growth parameters. Promising options will then be tested in on-farm experiments. Partners include NGOs, local communities, farmers and the University of Abomey-Calavi.

Country: Benin
Funding: RUFORUM
Period: 2015-2017
Status: Ongoing


 

Sustainability of cotton production in Africa

This project aims to assess the potential of organic cotton production to improve the livelihoods of millions of poor households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Indeed, households in this region depend on production, trading, or processing of cotton but are at risk of losing their main source of livelihood, since most current cotton production systems are in many respects not sustainable. Particularly in East Africa, cotton value chains experience low and even declining international competitiveness due to low margins and farmers’ limited access to credit and yield-increasing agrochemicals, while in West Africa the massive use of pesticides and agrochemicals results in severe environmental and health problems. Organic cotton production can solve both problems, as it strictly limits the use of agrochemicals and could increase incomes through access to premium prices. However, no in-depth and comparative evaluation of organic and conventional cotton farming has been conducted in SSA. We will develop and apply an interdisciplinary framework for assessing the various aspects of sustainability of different existing and innovative ways of cotton production in SSA, e.g. pesticide residues, soil fertility, greenhouse gas emissions, and economic and social conditions along the value chains. This research will generate new knowledge that will foster green growth, poverty reduction, and job creation by increasing the sustainability of the livelihood of millions of poor households in SSA.

Country: Benin, Tanzania, Denmark
Funding: DANIDA
Period: 2015-2018
Status: Ongoing


Improving the resilience of agro-ecosystems to climate change along watersheds by co-developing anti-erosion and fertilizing agroforestry systems in six West African countries

This project aims to (i) assess the potential of agroforestry in sustainable land use and land management and (ii) prospect options for intensive but environmental friendly agriculture on watersheds. Within this project, we are using a research-development approach to measure the effect of different tree species in the conservation of water and soil, to identify most efficient systems and agroforestry practices in terms of nutrient recycling as well as conservation of water and soil humidity. The project also develops effective strategies to manage and share the knowledge generated in order to make them accessible to stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Country: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali
Funding: WECARD
Period: 2014-2016
Status: Completed


 

Wild palms in Benin: biodiversity, uses, ecology, economic importance, and conservation

Wild palms are multi-purpose species mainly used for food, medicinal, economic, and cultural purposes in Africa. This project will be implemented in Benin (6° and 12°50′ N and 1° and 3°40 E) and will cover the three biogeographical zones of the country: the Sudanian zone (9°45′ -12°25 N), the zone Sudano-guinean zone (7°30′ -9°45′ N) and the Guineo-congolean zone (6°25′ -7°30 ‘ N). It aims to: (i) assess local knowledge of the rural communities through the analysis of social perceptions and the quantification of their ethnobotanical use value; (ii) evaluate the biodiversity (specific richness and genetic diversity) and the distribution of the wild palm species in Benin; (iii) assess the structure and the dynamics of the wild palm species populations in Benin; (iv) evaluate the economic importance of the wild palm species through the study of the flow markets and the income generated to actors of the market chain; and (v) assess the conservation gap of the species. Outcomes of the project are: (i) an improved knowledge of the status of the wild palm species in Benin; (ii) development of income generating activities; (iii) improvement of the welfare in rural areas; and (iv) reduction of the rural exodus.

Country: Benin
Funding: University of Abomey-Calavi
Period: 2012-2015
Status: Completed


 

Developing techniques for sustainable production and use of Jatropha curcas as biofuel to alleviate poverty in rural areas in West-Africa

In a context of a high spatial and temporal variability of rainfall, crop diversification for prospective promotion of new agricultural industries to increase farmers’ income and stimulate rural economy, is increasingly advocated. In Africa, some countries have decided on the production of biofuel crops in cropping systems. A priority was given to Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae), a drought resistant shrub that requires less input in fertilizers, pesticides and production techniques, while producing from the first or second year after planting. Plantations of J. curcas have been conducted in different projects and programmes such as (Jatropha Project in Mali, Project of EnterpriseWorks NGO, and the National programme for Jatropha in Senegal, llaria and belwet Project in Burkina Faso, GERES Project in Benin). There is still a great interest in biofuel production. However, the durability of J. curcas cropping programmes initiated in these countries requires a sufficient scientific knowledge on the species. The lack of equipment and technology for oil processing and biofuel use is also a major bottleneck. The present project aims to address these research problems. It forms part of programmes that work towards improving the productivity of J. curcas plantations and controlling its environmental and economic impacts in West-Africa. This proposal aims to solve these problems through a holistic approach that (1) optimizes the management of J. curcas cropping systems, (2) increases the services provided by these systems (soil fertility, oil production, income generation, soil conservation) and (3) control its impacts on environment and rural communities. The ultimate goal is to develop the technology for a production and a sustainable use of J. curcas as biofuel.

Country: Senegal, Benin, Burkina-Faso
Funding: African Union
Period: 2012-2015
Status: Completed


 

Harmonisation of methods of vegetation study in West-Africa

In forest ecology and management, estimation efficiency remains a recurring issue. Literature review for West Africa evidenced a high diversity of plot shape and size for vegetation analysis. This has arisen the need of harmonization of plots shape and size to allow efficient forests monitoring both at national and regional levels. This research project focuses on assessing the efficiency of the shape and size of inventory plot (relevés) in the floristic analysis and estimation of dendrometric parameters in West-African vegetation. To this end, representative vegetation from Guinean, Sudanian and Sahelian biogeographical zones of Benin, Burkina-Faso and Niger will be selected. The experimental design will consist of 15 plots of 100 m × 100 m (1 ha). Each 1-ha plot will be divided into 100 quadrats of 10 m × 10 m. In each quadrat, diameter and species of all trees will be collected. The time required for a team of three senior workers to collect the above data will also be recorded for each 1ha plot. From the 100 quadrats of each 1-ha plot, adjacent quadrats will be grouped to generate various types of sub-plot with different size and shape. Coefficient of abundance of species and stand basal area will be used as parameters of floristic composition and dendrometric analysis of vegetation, respectively. Variance of eigenvalues of the matrix of abundance coefficients will be used as efficiency criterion of plot shapes and sizes in floristic analysis of the vegetation. For the dendrometric analysis, the relationships between estimation biases of basal area and sub-plots size will be modelled for each plot shape by applying Smith law to intra-sub plots variances. Additionally, efficiency of sub-plot shape and size will be evaluated by combining statistical efficiency and inventory times using formula Kohl (2006).

Country: Benin, Burkina, Niger
Funding: PAES/ECOWAS
Period: 2012-2014
Status: Completed