Context and perspective:Editedpix 05

Production of indigenous vegetables offers the opportunity to alleviate rural-based poverty in terms of the rapid and consistent financial returns for women farmers, as well as in meeting the nutritional needs of the poor-rural people especially in the supply of vitamins, and micro nutrients. There are several opportunities offered for ancillary businesses in the indigenous vegetables value chain such as marketing, value addition technology and vegetable seed enterprise. The fertilizer micro-dosing technology is known to be beneficial to resource-poor farmers because it brings about increased yield, cost effectiveness and environmental friendliness. Therefore a synergy between indigenous vegetables production and integrated soil nutrient (micro dose)/water management will bring about cost effectiveness, enhanced yields and better quality vegetables.

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a joint programme of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) has provided a research for development grant totaling CAD $4.45 million (NGN900m) to a multi-disciplinary research team being led by scientists from Nigeria (Osun State University, Osogbo and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife), Benin Republic (Université de Parakou) and Canada (University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba), with a NGO partner, The Green Generation Initiative from Nigeria.

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This three year (2015-2018) project will conduct action research on “Synergizing fertilizer micro-dose and indigenous vegetables innovations to enhance food and economic security of farmers in the West African sub-region”. Field research will be implemented in 13 States in Nigeria and Benin Republic. The research team will focus on scaling up advancements in indigenous vegetables production and will increase vegetable yields while also preserving soil and water ecosystems, and conserving fertilizer costs. Special emphasis will be placed on resource-poor women farmers in the development and research project. We will promote policy advocacy to integrate the successful indigenous vegetables production and value addition innovations into local, national and regional food security programmes in West Africa.Editedpix 03

The project will focus on three high premium indigenous vegetables: Fluted pumpkin-Ugu (Telfairia occidentalis f. Hooke), African eggplant-Igbagba (Solanum macrocarpon L.) and Local amaranth-Tete atetedaye (Amaranthus viridis L.) because of their high market value, cross-cultural acceptability and marketability in Nigeria and Benin. The people of Benin Republic share significant eating habits with the people of southwest Nigeria and these indigenous vegetables are being consumed in both countries as well as in many other African countries.


The specific objectives are to:

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  • Develop technology capsule on fertilizer micro-dosing and water management technologies, value addition technology and seed production for indigenous vegetables.
  • Test, demonstrate and deploy two different models (Innovations Platform and Satellite Dissemination Approach) for reaching and benefiting more farmers with sustainable vegetable production and marketing innovations.
  • Scale up the technology capsule to advance indigenous vegetables production, increase yields, preserve soil and water ecosystems and enable fertilizer cost-saving.
  • Promote policy advocacy to integrate the successful scaling up model into local, national and regional food security programmes in the West African sub-region.Editedpix 01

Over a 36-month period, this project will support the generation of knowledge and innovations for large-scale positive economic changes in southwestern Nigeria and Benin.

The project will generate the following outcomes:

  • Large-scale adoption of technologies for optimum combination of fertilizer micro-dose for production of indigenous vegetables, directly reaching over 255,000 male and female vegetable farmers in new locations within Nigeria and Benin.
  • At least 20 private sector partners, farmers cooperatives, women's associations and government agencies involved directly in building rural small and medium businesses of vegetables and inputs.Editedpix 08
  • Doubling of the income of at least one million farmers in West Africa along the indigenous vegetable value chains.
  • Economic empowerment of at least 50 women vegetable cooperative groups and 20 youth seed producer groups to develop profitable vegetable businesses in small and medium towns and large urban centers,
  • Increased utilization and consumption of indigenous vegetables in the diets of poor rural farmers and urban dwellers in West Africa.
  • Training of 20 young vegetable scientist clubs in critical areas of vegetable seed systems and agronomy, value addition, efficient water management, scaling up and agri-business development.
  • Emergence of research leaders and champions supported to inform and shape food and nutrition security debates, programmes and policies in West Africa and beyond.


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