This evalaution refers to the impact of the following Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) initiatives: i)Conservation, Evaluation and Dissemination of Groundnut Germplasm; and ii) Development of Sustainable Groundnut Seed Systems in West Africa. The objective of this evaluation is to assess the development impact of the two projects and the extent to which both projects’ objectives and targets have been achieved.
ICRISAT was the Project Executing Agency (PEA) and therefore responsible for the overall implementation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was the supervisory body, the CFC the development partner. ICRISAT managed the project in connection with National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIS). Both NARIS and ICRISAT scientists worked closely with farmers to identify the major constraints to groundnut variety adoption and dissemination in a participatory mode. Farmers became therefore active partners and were encouraged to fully participate in the evaluation of the proposed innovations by managing on-farm trials themselves; farmers were also involved in participatory varietal selection, community-based seed systems, etc.
These major documented achievements include:
• Introduction and selection of high yielding varieties that improve both groundnut productivity and value. The varieties were developed taking into account major biotic and abiotic constraints (foliar diseases, groundnut rosette virus, peanut clump virus, and drought) and market requirements (aflatoxin issues, grain standards).
• Facilitation of supportive institutional framework. The reinforcement of linkages between research, extension and farmers has helped to identify appropriate technologies. Participatory varietal selection and farmer-managed trials have offered effective approaches to accelerate on-farm experimentation and uptake process. Strong linkages were established by ICRISAT with FAO and African Groundnut Council and with breeder and foundation seed producers. This promoted ownership, fostered and encouraged the creation and the functioning of grassroots’ associations.
• Establishment of a large scale development approach based on farmers’ interests and capacities and on market requirements. Farmers were able to select varieties that are suited to their local conditions and to multiply seeds. The seed dissemination process was facilitated through farmer-to-farmer seed exchange mechanisms.
• Most of the innovations/technologies introduced were appropriate for adoption by small-farmers and are in the process of being adopted.