Prolinnova in Niger has a different history and takes a different form as compared to Prolinnova platforms in other countries. In the past several years, a number of organisations in Niger have worked together to bring about deep changes in agricultural research, extension and education in the country. In this, they worked according to the same principles that lie at the heart of Prolinnova. IFAD in Rome funded these efforts through a series of projects.
The activities focused on the Aguié Region in the central part of the country. From 2001 onwards, major activities were undertaken by farmers and researchers together to analyse, co-validate and document farmer innovations. Researchers from the University of Niamey were involved for two reasons:
- to help improve farmers’ practices through working on practical theses on local innovation(s); and
- to strengthen teaching approaches within the University based on farmer innovation.
The Niger Government and IFAD then agreed to work together in a new project (PPILDA) to build on the experiences in Aguié. It had four main components :
- Identification and validation of local innovations,
- Support to rural institutions and organisations,
- Support local innovation and initiatives (through a Fund),
- Support and strengthen the supply of local services (through a Fund).
In view of the great similarities in vision and strategies pursued in Niger with those developed within Prolinnova, the Niger partners joined the Prolinnova network in order to share experiences and learn, undertake joint activities such as training of trainers and curriculum change, support each other in policy dialogue and lobbying, and join hands in fundraising.
The Prolinnova–Niger activities were implemented in two areas in Niger: “Pôle Est” (Eastern Hub) in Maradi Region and “Pôle Ouest” (Western Hub) in Gaya Region.
Prolinnova–Niger partners in these activities were: Centre Régional De l’Enseignement Spécialisé en Agriculture (CRESA), Faculty of Agronomy, National Institute for Agriculture Research (INRAN), Ministry of Agricultural Development through PPILDA and the Regional Directions for Agricultural Development, the NGOs Democratie 2000 and Tattali and various community-based organisations.