Impact of Foundations For Agriculture in Kouka
Emile is a small-scale farmer working in Kouka, a town located in the west of the province Banwa in the Black Volta region also known as "the breadbasket of Burkina Faso." Kouka is in the cotton belt of Burkina which is renowned for the extensive use of chemical inputs by producers. This dependence on chemical inputs has increased budgets for farmers and consequentially has begun a spiral of impoverishment in the region despite good crop production. Much of the farmer's income is spent on repaying loans for chemicals and medical care, leaving little room for investment.
After attending the ECHO conference in 2010 Emile decided to apply the method of the FFF or FPA (foundations for agriculture). Other farmers in the region socoffed at him for digging holes and planting according to the methods he had learned. However, the surprise of Emile, and other farmers, was great at the harvest: not only its FPA field produced, but also the crops were higher on these fields than those in which he applied his old practices. The entire Kouka farming community took notice, those who scoffed were now asking him about his method.
Emile was inspired to share his new practices with peer farmers that are organized in a GPC (cotton producers group). He voluntarily trained 15 members of the GPC in Kouka, and six other farms experimented with the FPA method. Emile taught them the FPA applied to maize and they have applied it not only to corn but sorghum, cotton and millet. Tougouma Amadé, a member of the group, applied the FPA method to his cotton field and produced 2.3T/ha in a single season where he had been only producing 700 to 900 kg before. Gansonré Boureima, another member, doubled maize production. And, Boureima Zongo is full of words of praise for Emile and the FPA method that allowed him to also double its cotton production at a cheaper cost.
Testimonials such as those of Gansonré Hamadeh, Zida Aly, and Gansonré Boukaré testify to the benefits of the FPA method and illustrate impact of the ECHO forums in the lives of farmers in Kouka. According to these farmers, with this method, they have managed to reduce the area planted while increasing performance and soil fertility. Every farmer involved saw their crop performance double or triple. Despite some difficulties inherent in introducing any innovation, all of them are calling for new trainings on FPA methods.